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You Make Me Wanna...

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"You Make Me Wanna..."
You Make Me Wanna....jpg
U.S. edition
Single by Usher
from the album My Way
ReleasedAugust 12, 1997
RecordedOctober 1996–1997
Krosswire Studio
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Usher singles chronology
"The Many Ways"
"You Make Me Wanna..."
"Nice & Slow"

"You Make Me Wanna..." is a song by American recording artist Usher. It was released by LaFace Records and Arista Records as the lead single from Usher's second studio album, My Way on August 12, 1997. "You Make Me Wanna..." was written by Usher along with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal, who both produced the tune. An R&B, soul and pop ballad in C minor, it makes use of acoustic guitar, hi-hat and bell instrumentation. The song focuses on a love triangle relationship, with the protagonist wishing to leave his girlfriend for his erstwhile best friend, with a hook in which Usher states, "You make me wanna leave the one I'm with and start a new relationship with you". The record won a Billboard Music Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and a WQHT Hip Hop Award, and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

"You Make Me Wanna..." appeared on several record charts, topping the UK Singles Chart and the US Hot R&B Singles, logging the second-longest run by a male artist on the latter. It also reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, US Pop Songs, Canadian Singles Chart, Dutch Top 40 and ARIA Singles Chart. An accompanying music video, directed by Bille Woodruff, shows Usher dancing in various colored rooms and backgrounds, and uses an effect which creates several clones of Usher.

Background and composition[edit]

Usher wrote "You Make Me Wanna..." with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal, who also produced and played musical instruments on the tune. Phil Tan was in charge of recording the song at the Krosswire Studio, in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996.[1] Tan and Dupri mixed the record with assistance from John and Brian Frye at Studio LaCoCo, in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] "You Make Me Wanna..." draws from the genres of R&B, soul and pop,[3] and heavily utilizes the acoustic guitar,[4][5] while also incorporating hi-hat and bell instrumentation.[6] According to Universal Music Publishing Group's sheet music published at, "You Make Me Wanna..." is written in the key of E major with a moderate tempo of 88 beats per minute. Usher's voice extends from the low note of B3 to the high note of C6.[3] The ballad[7] has a basic sequence of Cm–Fm7–A–G–G/B as its chord progression.[3] In the song, Usher attempts to seduce his partner's best friend, whom he finds irresistible,[8] creating a love triangle.[9] The song's lyrics are written in second-person narrative,[3][8] and its hook is the pick-up line, "You make me wanna leave the one I'm with and start a new relationship with you".[10] Usher told Rolling Stone that the song was inspired by one of his own memories of "juggling three women".[11]


"You Make Me Wanna..." was distributed by LaFace Records and Arista Records. It was released via maxi single on August 5, 1997.[12][13] A remixes maxi single was made available in the United States on September 9, 1997,[14] and in Germany on October 13, 1997.[15] "You Make Me Wanna..." was released via cassette single,[16] CD single[17] and 12" vinyl[18] in the UK on January 12, 1998. The vinyl was made available in the US on April 24, 2001.[19] Unauthorized copies of the song were distributed in Europe before its release, due to its popularity.[20] "You Make Me Wanna..." serves as the opening track to Usher's second studio album, My Way, while an extended version concludes the album.[21]

Music video[edit]

Clones of Usher appear in the music video.

The accompanying music video for "You Make Me Wanna..." was directed by Bille Woodruff.[22] It starts with Usher sitting in an orange wall recess, reaching for a guitar, before cutting to a scene of him standing in a white-and-purple circular room, wearing an open shirt. It moves to a blue backdrop where Usher advances, flanked by four dancers. The scene is replaced by five clones of Usher dancing and sitting on chairs.[6][8] The video continues with the singer performing dance routines throughout; interspersed are scenes of Usher singing the song on a background of blue pipes. Toward the end of the video, he takes off his shirt in the circular room, and finally Usher and his backup dancers step out of their shoes and walk away.[23]

Usher performed "You Make Me Wanna..." on December 31, 1997 on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, a countdown show to the 1998 New Year.[24] He also sang it on the sitcom Moesha while portraying his character, Jeremy Davis.[25]

Critical reception[edit]

Robert Christgau noted "You Make Me Wanna..." as one of the best tracks from My Way.[26] Entertainment Weekly's Whitney Pastorek gave the song an A- rating, and complimented its minimal production.[6] According to Ann Powers of The New York Times, the song "put the spice back in the word 'relationship'."[27] A writer for The Vindicator wrote, "The song is a melodic blend of Usher's smooth, youthful voice and a strong, upbeat rhythm track.[28] Billy Johnson Jr. of Yahoo! Music commended the production on "You Make Me Wanna...", along with that of "Nice and Slow" and "My Way", the second and third singles from My Way, respectively.[29] The Daily News reviewer called the single "very wonderful".[4] When reviewing My Way, Ian Hyland from Sunday Mirror stated that, "Tracks like 'You Make Me Wanna...', 'Nice And Slow' and 'Slow Jam' should put you in the mood".[30] BBC Music's Christian Hopwood stated that "You Make Me Wanna..." had "universal appeal".[31] On Valentine's Day 2004, VH1 listed the song at number six on its "Top 10 Sexy Tunes" for the holiday.[32]

"You Make Me Wanna..." won Usher the Billboard award for Pop Singer of the Year,[33] and the Best R&B/Soul Single, Male category at the 1998 Soul Train Music Awards.[34] Radio station WQHT awarded it the title of Best R&B Song at its inaugural Hip Hop Awards.[35] The singer also received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the song at the 40th Grammy Awards,[36] but lost to R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly".[37] In the 1997 Pazz & Jop critics' poll administered by The Village Voice, "You Make Me Wanna..." tied for thirtieth place in the singles category with Radiohead's "Paranoid Android".[38]

Commercial performance[edit]

"You Make Me Wanna..." debuted at number twenty-five on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated August 23, 1997. On October 25, 1997 it reached its peak position of number two, stuck behind the 14-week reign of Elton John's smash "Candle In The Wind 1997". After seven weeks at number two, the song fell into number three, replaced at the runner-up spot by LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live", which had also spent seven weeks at number three. In November 1998, the song fell off the chart after forty-six charting weeks.[39] On the Hot R&B Singles component chart, "You Make Me Wanna..." debuted at number four on August 23, 1997, before topping the chart two weeks later. In its first week of release, "You Make Me Wanna..." received 1,329 spins,[40] and by early October 1997, the song had made fifty million listener impressions on US R&B radio.[28] The record spent a total of eleven weeks atop the R&B/Hip Hop Songs, and seventy-one weeks within the chart's 100 positions.[41] "You Make Me Wanna..." stood as the song with the longest run on the genre chart by a male artist until K'Jon's "On the Ocean" lasted longer in 2010.[42] It also spent twenty-nine weeks on the Pop Songs chart, peaking at number seven.[43] On September 3, 1997, "You Make Me Wanna..." received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting 500,000 shipments, and later that month it was upgraded to platinum status for shipments exceeding one million copies.[44] Though its certification status was not further renewed, it ultimately went on to sell over two million copies domestically.[45] The song ranked at number eighty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 "All-Time Top Songs", published in July 2008.[46]

"You Make Me Wanna..." entered the UK Singles Chart at number one, on the chart dated January 31, 1998.[47] That same week the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) awarded the song a silver certification for shipping 200,000 units.[48] It only spent one week on top of the chart, being replaced by Aqua's "Doctor Jones".[49] "You Make Me Wanna..." slipped off the chart in May 1998, having had thirteen charting weeks.[50] The BPI has since re-certified the single gold for shipping over 400,000 copies.[48] The song entered the Canadian Singles Chart at number eighty-six on November 10, 1997.[51] It peaked at number six,[52] lasting twenty-two weeks in the chart.[53] In Europe, the song reached the top twenty in France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland, and peaked at number seven in the Netherlands.[54][55][56] It spent sixteen weeks in the Australian Singles Chart, climaxing at number six,[54] and was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), having sold 70,000 copies.[57] "You Make Me Wanna..." reached number fifteen on the New Zealand Singles Chart, occupying twenty-six weeks in the chart.[54] The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand certified the song gold.[58]

Track listing[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[84] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[58] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Platinum 2,000,000[45]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]