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Usher Says Living with Puff Daddy Inspired His Success [Audio/Video]

Usher performs last month at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Usher Raymond IV, who goes by Usher is celebrating his 20th anniversary as a recording artist.

As he reflects on his career, the 36-year-old Dallas native says recording his first album at the age of 16 years old with Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and living with him was one of the keys to his success.

“My time with Puff, it gave me chutzpah,” Usher told Billboard Magazine. “I got to perform onstage with The Notorious B.I.G., be in sessions with him and Craig Mack.

“I got to be part of the driving force that was Bad Boy, that was Puff.”

Usher will kick off his UR Experience tour Saturday in Montreal. The tour’s North American leg runs for 27 dates through Dec. 14 in Tampa, with a Nov. 4 concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills outside Detroit and a Nov. 17 date at United Center in Chicago.

“This will be one of my free-est tours,” he said.

“I’m singing love songs that went on to be baby-makers — and now the babies are in the audience. Talk about a family reunion.”

The eight-time Grammy Award winner also opens up about his relationship with his girlfriend, Grace Miguel, a Geffen Records executive who’s also his manager.

“One thing that has come from having a great partner like Grace is being able to cherish the places that I’ve gone,” he said. “We see the monumental sites, go to the museums, eat in the best restaurants. I’m that guy now.

“In the past, I’d do what I have to do and get on the bus to the next city. Life has become a vacation.”

Next: Usher Says New 'Album Isn't Schedule Anymore

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