The writer of Usher’s latest single “Papers” is setting the record straight about the lyrics, which appear to reference his pending divorce from wife of two years Tameka Foster Raymond.
In the song, Usher proclaims he is ready to “sign them papers” while detailing late-night fights and nearly losing his mom. But singer-songwriter Sean Garrett, who penned the tune’s lyrics, says parts of the song are fiction.
“Some of it is true and some of it isn’t,” Garrett tells People.com. “That’s what makes this record so intriguing and explosive. Some of it is about his life and some of it is not.”
But what about the one line in the song that had everybody talking: “I damn near lost my mama/been through so much drama”?
“That was more so from the perspective of when Usher and his mom weren’t working together that much. And, in every relationship, it’s important for the man to get his mother’s approval. That’s the perspective I was coming from,” Garrett explains.
Noting that Usher never revealed anything to him about his personal life, his relationship with his mother, or his romance with Tameka, Garrett, who has written hit songs for everyone from Beyoncé to Fergie, says the track was simply “inspired by Usher.”
“I wrote that record about eight months ago, before he was even getting a divorce. The record is not about Tameka and those are not his words,” he clarifies with a laugh. “I’m a great songwriter; I know how to write great songs!”
Garrett adds: “I felt like it was a record he needed to say. It’s a record about life. There were days I could just imagine what Usher was thinking. The record is about what a male or female can go through when they feel like they have given 100 percent [in a relationship] and they feel like they can’t take anymore.”
He also notes that Usher did have reservations about releasing the explosive track, which the duo recorded about a month and a half ago in Atlanta. “He definitely had a lot on his mind,” Garrett says. “We talked about this record coming out quite a few times. ‘Should it come out? Should it not come out?’ We had questions about how it would be taken.”