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Usher said it was 'crazy' and 'wild' living with Sean 'Diddy' Combs' as a teen. Here's how it transformed his career.

Usher Raymond and Sean "Diddy" Combs in 1994.
Usher Raymond and Sean "Diddy" Combs in 1994. Raymond was 16, while Combs was 25.Raymond Boyd / Getty Images / Nitro / Getty Images
  • Usher's comments on living with Sean "Diddy" Combs resurfaced after the Combs home was raided.

  • In 2016, Usher told Howard Stern that he lived with Combs in the 90s to learn about the industry.

  • Usher, who was 14 or 15 then, said he saw "wild" and "very curious" things.

Usher's comments on attending Sean "Diddy" Combs' "Puffy Flavor Camp" as a teen resurfaced after the federal agents raided Combs' homes this week.

The Department of Homeland Security searched Combs' Los Angeles and Miami properties on Monday. Several outlets, citing unnamed law-enforcement sources, said it was part of a sex-trafficking investigation.

Combs has not been charged, has denied any wrongdoing, and said the raid was excessive.

Combs is separately facing four civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse or sex trafficking, claims he has also strongly denied.

Usher's 2016 interview on "The Howard Stern Show" saw him speak about living with Combs for a year in the '90s. It was widely reshared on social media this week in light of the raid.

Usher, who said he was "about 14 or 15" when he lived with Combs, shut down Stern's claim that Combs' house was filled with orgies.

He didn't give much detail of what he did see, though he did say it was "pretty wild."

"I got a chance to see some things. I went there to see the lifestyle, and I saw it. I don't know if I could indulge and understand what I was even looking at," Usher said. "I had curiosity of my own. I just didn't understand it. It was pretty wild. It was crazy."

Stern's co-host, Robin Quivers, then asked if any women around Combs tried to approach him.

"I didn't say that. What I did say is there were very curious things taking place, and I didn't necessarily understand it," Usher said, adding that he was more focused on making music.

Combs worked with many rising musicians at the time, but Usher was the only child there.

A Rolling Stone report from 2004 said Usher moved to New York in 1994, which would make the singer 15 at the time. Combs turned 25 that year.

Here's how Usher met Combs and how the music mogul helped his career.

Why was Usher sent to live with Combs?

Usher and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs in 2002.
Usher and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs in 2002.KMazur / WireImage

At age 13, Usher was signed by LaFace Records after auditioning for the cofounder Antonio "L.A." Reid.

According to Rolling Stone, Reid wrote in his memoir "Sing to Me" that he struggled to market the young Usher, so Reid sent him to Combs to give the singer an edge.

"'Will you take this kid and teach him your swagger?' I said. 'Can you just give him some of your flavor?' I wanted Usher to be edgier than LaFace was," Reid wrote. "Our music could be soft and pretty. I didn't want Usher to be pretty."

Reid continued: "Usher was 15 years old, but nothing about him ever seemed juvenile. I was turning him over to the wildest party guy in the country at an age when I still needed to get his mother's permission, but he went to New York for almost a year. I didn't know whether I was being irresponsible or having an epiphany."

In 2016, Usher defended the decision to be sent to Combs while speaking to Stern. He said Combs introduced him to some of the biggest names in hip-hop, like Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim, and Mary J. Blige. Usher added that Combs showed him what it could be like to be a star.

"I never quite experienced anything like that," Usher said, adding that Combs flew him to Los Angeles and Miami too.

Usher said he did go to a lot of parties, but that Combs also paid for a tutor so that Usher could continue his education. Usher said he was paid an allowance to stop him getting into trouble.

Combs helped launch Usher's career

Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Usher in 2020.
Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Usher in 2020.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Combs' impact on Usher's career didn't end there.

Reid told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011 that he nearly dropped Usher from LaFace Records in 1994, until Combs intervened. Reid said he "lost it" when Usher's voice changed due to puberty.

"I wanted to be out of business with him. I broke his heart. I broke his mother's heart. It was a very tough period in both our lives," Reid said.

"Then someone said to me: 'Don't be a fool. Don't sell your stock in Usher. He's still going to be a star. He's everything you thought he was the day you signed him.' And that person was Puffy," Reid said, using one of Combs' nicknames.

Combs produced Usher's debut self-titled album, released in August 1994. "Usher" was not a commercial hit but helped launch Usher's career.

Combs passed on producing Usher's second album, "My Way," but it became the singer's breakthrough moment. "My Way" had sold over 7 million copies as of February 2024.

Usher told Stern he wasn't upset when Combs didn't want to produce his second album and understood it was a business decision.

"He was already a family member from afar. I never felt a disconnection. He's still a big brother," Usher said.

However, when Stern asked if Usher would let his kids stay at "Puffy Camp," the singer immediately said: "Hell no."

Read the original article on Business Insider