T-Pain, 35, revealed in the Netflix series This Is Pop that on the way to the 2013 BET Awards, he had a conversation with Usher, 42, that he would never forget. The “Buy U A Drank” singer was in first-class when the flight attendant woke him up and said Usher wanted to speak with him. When T-Pain went back to see Usher, things took a turn.
“He was like, ‘Man, I want to tell you something, man,'” T-Pain recalled Usher saying. “He was like, ‘Man, you kind of… you kind of f**ked up music.'” T-Pain didn’t “understand” what was going on. “Usher was my friend,” The Masked Singer alum said.
Usher didn’t stop there. “He was like, ‘Nah, man, you really f**ked up music for real singers,'” Usher continued. T-Pain noted that moment was one he will never forget. “That is the very moment, and I don’t even think I realized this for a long time, but that’s the very moment that started a four-year depression for me,” T-Pain admitted.
Usher’s words made T-Pain question himself as an artist. “Literally, at that point, I couldn’t listen,” T-Pain said. “Did I f**k this up? Did I f**k up music?” Even now, T-Pain still doesn’t “understand” all the hate. “I came out and I used Auto-Tune, but I wasn’t the person who created it. That was Dr. Andy,” he said.
T-Pain became known for using Auto-Tune after the massive hits of songs like “Buy U A Drank,” “I’m Sprung,” “Bartender,” and “Blame It.” Over the course of his career, T-Pain has won 2 Grammys and received 13 nominations.
T-Pain has been open about the backlash he’s received for using Auto-Tune in his music. “People can act like, you know, ‘I don’t care about when people hate on me,’ but the second that they do, you feel that!” T-Pain told The New Yorker in 2014. “Like, that’s really somebody saying that sh*t about you—it’s not, like, an artificially generated comment that these people are leaving on these YouTube videos.… When people say I suck and I should kill myself, I don’t really feel good about that!”