Usher Raymond IV has the voice and what he calls "the swagger" -- a style so distinctive he only needs one name to get the party started.
But the last year hasn't been a party for the R&B superstar, and after enduring a number of struggles in his personal life, he's back with an introspective new album called "Raymond v. Raymond."
His favorite cut, he said, is "the whole thing."
"They're all my babies," he told "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts. "I don't have a favorite cut. I wish I did. You know, the entire album is a package."
The Grammy winner views each project as "a new chapter" and an opportunity to grow and to tell a story. In "Raymond v. Raymond," he said, the story is the difference between the real Raymond and his public perception.
"My fans will be able to understand, 'Wow, there was a story here,'" he said. "There was an evolution of the person.'"
Fans have watched Usher's professional evolution from a 13-year-old "Star Search" contestant to a multi-platinum, multi-faceted superstar. But with the success has come pain, including a very public divorce from Tameka Foster, the mother of his two sons.
"I didn't become an artist to hide out," he said. "You know, anonymity is something that goes out the window when you decide that you want to be an entertainer."
When asked if the lack of anonymity took a toll on his marriage, he said, "I'm pretty sure it did."
"To have my life as heavily scrutinized as it is, and people to have their opinions, you know, everybody's going to have one," he said. "And unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it."
The most difficult part of the divorce was letting go of something that was "one of the most sincere occurrences in my life."
"Unfortunately, it just did not work out," he said. "And we've moved on to be very happy."
He said he and his ex-wife are fully committed to co-parenting their sons and focusing on their growth and development.
"I just hope that my kids will be passionate young men," he said, "that they will believe in something and stick to it until it is finished."
Usher doesn't rule out getting married again, but he said it won't be any time soon.
"I want to hold my horses," he said. "I'm 31. Let me just take my time. I have two beautiful children. And managing the process of it, I want to be comfortable. You know, I'm not rushing, you know, to get old. I'm young."
Usher's other painful breakup was with his mother, Jonnetta, who had been his manager for most of his career. He said that he didn't fire her, but that it was time for him to move in a new direction.
"There was a difference in opinion," he said. "And in any business relationship there will be. But that was an obvious indication that we'd begun to kind of grow apart in our theory. And, you know, for the most part I felt like this would be great for us."
As a father, he said, "I now am in a different space," and he wanted a different kind of relationship with his mother.
"I really want [my mother] to be supportive of the man Usher," he said. "Not just the artist. You know, I could have many managers. But I can only have one mother."
Today, he said, things are "great" between them and she's enjoying spending time with her grandchildren.