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Ryan Toby of City High Opens Up About Writing for Usher

City High’s Ryan Toby opens up about writing for Usher’s iconic 2004 album. | Images via YouTube and YouTube

During a recent appearance on the R&B Money Podcast, Ryan Toby, known for his involvement in the group City High and his three-year marriage to group member Claudette Ortiz (2004-2007), shared insights about his experience as a songwriter for Usher‘s acclaimed album, Confessions.

Teaming up with hit writer Poo Bear, Ryan Toby co-wrote three tracks on Usher’s iconic 2004 album: Caught Up, Superstar, and Follow Me.

Confessions stands as Usher’s highest-selling album, achieving double diamond status with an impressive 20 million copies sold worldwide.

Reflecting on his initial encounter with Usher, Ryan Toby revealed that the renowned artist was initially not receptive to him or the songs he presented during their first meeting.

According to Toby, during that period, Usher appeared somewhat reserved in the music scene, while Justin Timberlake was enjoying immense popularity. Usher seemed to have mixed feelings about Justin emulating his style.

Toby mentioned that Usher initially had trouble connecting with the lyrics of the song Caught Up due to its usage of Philadelphia slang. The term “caught up” wasn’t familiar to him.

However, Usher’s A&R representative at the time, Mark Pitts, strongly believed in the song and urged Toby to go all out, channeling his inner P. Diddy, to convince Usher to embrace it.

Eventually, when Usher entered the recording booth to lay down his vocals for Caught Up, he was thrilled with how his voice sounded on the track. His enthusiasm was such that he didn’t want to leave the booth.

According to Toby, he and Usher developed a strong bond and became incredibly close, akin to brothers.

You can watch the interview clip with Ryan Toby from the R&B Money Podcast below: 

Ryan Toby is a multi-talented individual, excelling not only as a singer, songwriter, and producer but also as an accomplished actor.

In the movie, Sister Act 2: Back In the Habit (1993), he portrayed the character Wesley Glen Ahmal James.

Additionally, he has collaborated with a diverse array of renowned artists, including Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, and numerous others.

Ryan’s contributions have played a significant role in over 60 million albums sold and amassed over 400 million streams.

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Fharnell M.