rules to live by

Usher’s No. 1 Dinner-Party Rule: No Potato Salad

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Rémy Martin

Usher Raymond was the childhood crush of millennial women for decades. (It’s me, I’m the millennial woman.) And, as a fan for decades, I got to experience his Las Vegas residency show at MGM’s Dolby Live theater. His show covered all the hits: from the Confessions era to “Love in This Club.” And if there is one thing about Usher, he’s consistent. So let’s just say it’s worth it. (Makes sense why a plethora of celebrities have flocked to his show and had moments with him from Keke Palmer to Taraji P. Henson to Saweetie.)

Another thing about Usher is that he likes to drink. His preference? Any dark liquor, and especially Rémy Martin, which he has a “Life is a Melody,” partnership with. He suggests taking a sip that scares you. In my case, that’s skating. If you didn’t know, Usher is an avid skater. But if you are like me and can only hold on to the hand rails, he’d like you to respectfully step to the side.

Right now, Usher is taking a little Vegas break before heading to Paris for a handful of shows next month and closing out his Vegas residency in October (if you don’t have tickets, I highly recommend you get some). Fresh off of vacation, he tells the Cut his rules to live by.

What are your dinner-party rules?

Don’t come empty handed. If you come to a dinner party, I think it’s appropriate to bring something. Napkins, a bottle of Rémy. Not everybody likes your potato salad, so don’t bring that. But bring something. I think that’s just a natural thing of etiquette, something to just say, “Hey, let’s celebrate together, and I brought this in honor for this moment that we have together.”

What is your No. 1 Vegas rule?

The show must go on.

What are your pre-show rituals?

I warm up, I work out, try to eat light, and we say a prayer and go. When I say we, I mean my entire cast, not just core dancers, but the entire staff. We meet backstage right before we go onstage and say a prayer, making sure everybody’s safe while we are here to put good energy in the room. It’s helpful, I’ve been doing it for years; it gives people that feeling that it’s like family.

I notice you have a drink before you go onstage, too. What’s your No. 1 rule for a night out drinking?

Before, it’s a sip. Afterward, it’s a gulp.

How about your party rules? 

Don’t let friends drink alone. That one gets you in trouble every time, but we drink together and in that moment we just have a little fun.

I know you love to skate; at your “4 on the Floor” skating event, you were smooth. What are some of your skating-rink rules?

It ain’t about how many times you fall, it’s about how quick you get back up. And also what you learned from the fall. Skating is like a metaphor for life. Skating helps you stay young; it takes you back to your childhood, when you had less cares in the world. I think we spend so much time on our phones, it’s a bit hard to just release, relax, and let go of that device. You’re kind of forced to disconnect from that and just reconnect with yourself.

I’m glad you brought that up. We do always have our phones in our hands. You and your show especially keep social media entertained — do you always see the memes people post of you or do you have strict social-media boundaries? 

Everybody’s got something to say and everybody’s got an opinion. In all of that you got to kind of take it all with a grain of salt. Don’t believe everything you hear, and keep it moving on to the next one. It’s my purpose and point to find things that give people a reason to disconnect. I think it’s okay for people to have their phones in Las Vegas, but at one point it was kind of a standard for people to not have their phone at shows out of respect for the performers. But for me, I was like, “Nah, it’s all right. Bring your phone.” I don’t mind people looking at it, but for the most part, I really want people to put that phone down and enjoy themselves. That’s why I give that kind of energy and I try to captivate them to the point where it’s like, “Well, shit, I don’t even want to look through this phone.”

You just came back from vacation. Tell me your vacation rules.

Play hard, work hard. Just as much time as I put in to relax, I put into taking care of myself. I might have a good time and do all of the fun things, but I gotta get up the next day. I work out first thing in the morning, sometimes as early as seven or eight o’clock. I try to get two a day in, eat some incredible food, and have some drinks. I try not to do too much.

You wear a lot of sharp suits. What’s your No. 1 rule for tailoring suits?

I got to have a gusset in the pants because I need to move. I build out every suit to accommodate my dancing, not just the look of it. I want you to feel me, but I ain’t really trying to have you feel me, feel me. That’s one golden rule.

Usher’s No. 1 Dinner-Party Rule: No Potato Salad