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Arts & Entertainment

Applying Inspiration


Lesson time 9:13 min

What's the difference between imitation and inspiration? Watch as Usher shows you how to take favorite elements from gathered inspiration, and apply it to your future performances.

Teaches The Art of Performance
In his first ever online class, Usher teaches you his personal techniques to captivate audiences across 16 video lessons.


A thief steals, but a genius borrows. Ben Vereen gave me that. And what he meant by it is, take the inspiration from greatness and do something that gives you an identity, meaning you were inspired by what you saw. You didn't just imitate. There's plenty of those in Las Vegas. You don't want to be a cheap imitation, especially. But it is an opportunity for you to then create something of substance from substance. For instance, you will be inspired by how martial artists fight. There's something in their practice and in the chi and how it flows when they're doing what they do. How animals move, for instance. That could become a part of the inspiration. Now, once you studied what it is and how they move in a certain way, then you reinterpret it in your own-- your own way. Some may assume that Michael Jackson was the first person to create the Moonwalk. He wasn't. A lot of his ideas were a product of being exposed to Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, Junior. No matter how genius you may feel your idea is, somewhere I'm guaranteeing you that someone has done your move or done what you've created or you think you've created. There's no new idea. But what is new is your perspective of it. [MUSIC PLAYING] There was something amazing about Gene Kelly that was different from Fred Astaire and what I had seen from Sammy Davis Jr. It's a little bit more masculine. And as I began to kind of move in the area of doing theatrical work, he's who I pull from. He's what I would draw from. Now, I actually ended up doing my own interpretation, or reinterpretation, right, of Gene Kelly's, "Singing in the Rain." [MUSIC - USHER, "SINGING IN THE RAIN"] This was an actual reinterpretation of it. It was kind of inspired by my creative tastes, and my team. But, it was really a tribute to Gene. What I'm telling you is a little bit different. I'm saying, be inspired by what you see. Take from it, once you figure out what it is and how it feels, then you take it and you create it in this time through your rhythm where it becomes yours. In, "You Got it Bad," the video, there's a scene at the end of the video where I'm dancing in the rain. And I'm doing it in my way. You kind of see me in the street, kind of going through this emotional thing. I jump upon this light pole, I kind of swing around. [MUSIC - USHER, "YOU GOT IT BAD"] Now, for someone who's never seen Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain," this will be a new experience for them. But what that did is it just, once again gave me a new audience, a new perspective, a new texture, and at the same time I introduced someone to something new. [MUSIC PLAYING] Within the creative process of making music, it has to come from a real place. Let me give you a for instance. Take for example, "Confessions." "Confessions" came at a time when hip hop gave us music that was very brutally honest. T...

Meet Your New Mentor

Usher, winner of 8 Grammy Awards, reveals the technical skills, career lessons and breakthrough advice that he has used to captivate audiences for over 25 years. For the first time ever, learn how Usher approaches performance and wins over audiences from the studio to the stage. There has never been a class like this before.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It was just amazing - the input can be applied on such a vast variety of fields, and in some ways he teaches also self-confidence, self-improvement, self-invention and self-reliance. Loved every bit of it. World class, truly.

Love hearing his take on this beast of a business....where WE are the main obstacle....

Though I'm not an singer/actor/performer, I enjoyed this course. Particularly learning how a pro like Usher comports himself. Useful insight!

this class was life changing..I want to be a better performer and spark the souls with a light of fire of compassion, love & creativity and teach kids



Hey Usher! Thank you for inspiring me to take a leap of faith in my music, and that vulnerability is a good thing! Hoping to spread the message of self-care, physical distancing, and gratitude for our clinicians and physicians through the music video for my song "Keep that Distance".

Jason R.

👉🏼Here is the link to a Taylor swift quarantine spoof song, my sister and I did.😁

A fellow student

Wow! So so insightful! Such a well rounded talent. Bravo Maestro. Truly inspirational.

Patric M.

Practice Cultural Appropriation, because that's Appreciating the Spirit that Transcends All Incidental Differences, and thus Acts as a Catalyst for Uniting people, and Re-Connecting Them To Their Greater Potential. Society Needs Artists, Now More Than Ever, To Cleanse The Spite, Vitriol, and Hatred Spurred By Activist Media Outlets. Art Is Beyond All That Blinding Madness--Stop Feeding the Mad Wolves; Amplify the Light.

Patrick M.

If you think about it, it's pretty amazing how Usher modeled Justin Bieber's career on Michael Jackson's. It's sort of akin to how my favorite band, Oasis, spent an extensive amount of time researching everything they could about The Beatles to follow the same structure and apply it in their own way. Whether you like Justin Bieber or not, his music does speak to the masses. It gets through to them in a weird way. I've always wondered how Pitbull manages to do this with those lyrics of his...

A fellow student

Hey friends, Took to heart the "follow the inspiration of your inspiration" and looked up some old clips of my favorites' favorites. My biggest musical influences are Coldplay, John Mayer, and Bruce Springsteen; respectively, their musical idols are the band Travis, BB King, and Van Morrison. When you listen to the old clips, you can really hear the influence each of the preceding artists had on the next generation of music-makers. I channeled the energy of my grandparent-influences in this bedroom cover of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic". Hope you enjoy :)

Eleonora G.

Hello everyone, here my performance. I have always been a "good girl", a dancer and I am Italian. I realised that I have always thought I can't sing but never really tried so I dedicated 30 days to one song. I picked rap because I wanted to overcome the embarrassment of swearing and talking really fast in another language (which I have been told it was impossible!). It made me realise how far you can go with dedication. Initially I was Imitating Eminem with the moves then it was necessary to keep the beat. I know I have issues mainly with breathing. Any feedback welcome!!

Kalia D.

I noticed: I hate rating other people. Who am I to judge? Also, it's one thing to draw inspiration, another to have the impulse, if not audacity to say: I can do that! I wish that was me! I think that's what Usher tries to imply. Steve Martin told of a similar feeling. Bill Gates looked at an invention in the newspaper and said: We've got to be the first ones building that, it's gotta be me! Third, you gotta have your systems ready. You'll never know when someone like Usher tells you to make a video overnight! Fourth, ... guess my list of goals is filling up. My performances are gifts to people who are friends or I care about so far. I don't want to perform for people I do not know!? I don't want the world to stalk our private moments! Haha, lots of work to do here...

Gaetan G. My performance is a podcast blog. My inspiration was RNB J-Pop signer Utada Hikaru

Matthew F.

So this is my performance, I'm a hobbyist musician/ music producer and would one day like to perform an original set! ahhhhh! What I did was write some music using Ableton live 9. I then put them into clips, and using clip view I recorded a spontaneous 'live' set. I did this in one take & I guess it's just the honour system. I did some slight editing at the very end just so that it has an actual end. Looking forward to any feedback musically and/or technically :)