“I felt like a failure. Hopeless. Paralyzed.” These are the haunting words that open Usher‘s latest video “Numb” from his “Lookin’ 4 Myself” album. If art imitates life, then the entertainer’s latest video indicates he’s been going through it.
The words follow a clip from Usher’s 2011 show in Berlin that he had to cut short due to illness. The shot of an obviously weakend Usher gives way to a scene of him before a microphone under a stormy sky, then jump cuts to shot of him in a hospital room standing beside a hospital bed whose female occupant is unknown.
Whether these shots are alluding to the tumultuous year the singer has had is unknown, but it’s hard not to speculate. Usher lost his 11 year-old stepson in a boating accident on Lake Lanier, which is outside of Atlanta, earlier this year. Usher and his ex-wife, Tameka Foster, made headlines this year amid a bitter custody dispute over their two children; and more recently the two made headlines again when Usher had his ex evicted from his Atlanta home.
Usher who will turn 34 on Sunday, performs some of the moves that made him famous and had him compared to the late pop star Michael Jackson in the video. Dressed in black, he dances within a glass box that he eventually breaks out of, perhaps symbolizing that he’s moved through the darkness and back into the light.
Usher will return to the stage next year. He announced last month that his 2013 European dates would be pushed back so he could spend time with his children, Usher Raymond V and Naviyd Ely Raymond. Usher will also appear as a coach on “The Voice” next year. He will join the show with Shakira as Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green take time away from the reality competition.
Sings Usher in “Nude”: “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” The singer seems to live by his own lyrics.