She is the daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti (Shudhamati). She is the youngest sister among Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Meena Khadikar, and elder to her music-director brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar. She came into the spotlight as a playback singer after singing some devotional songs for the low-budget movie Jai Santoshi Maa (1975), which became an all-time blockbuster. She was nominated for the Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer award for her song "Main to Aarti" in that film. She sang the same songs for that movie's remake in 2006.
Usha has a strong interest in painting. She is known for her famous song "Mungla" and songs for the Marathi moviePinjara.
and scores of Marathi songs for Dada Kondke including the most famous "Dhagala Lagli Kala" and "Tumhawar Keli Me Marji Bahar" from Pinjara. In 2008 Usha collaborated with Shaukat (Sam) Kassam for the CD Noorani Chehra to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of HH The Aga Khan.