Snapshot: Justin Bieber and Usher cover special issue of Billboard magazine

Being a veteran in the R&B game, you could expect Usher to rest assured that his fans are going to buy his new album — but he’s not relying on that. Not at all. Usher’s promo is in full swing and he’s not missing a beat. Not only is he performing at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards and covering the May issue of Billboard magazine, he’s also the cover star (alongside protégé Justin Bieber) of the magazine’s special awards show edition.

Usher famously took Bieber under his musical wing only four years ago, and has watched his “lil bro” grow to worldwide stardom. The pair got together for a photo shoot and interview with Ray Rogers and talked about their journey together.

The pair confirmed collaborations with one another on their new albums, with Usher saying, “It’s like when you think about artists like Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney working together: people so enjoyed seeing talents like that come together, it’s almost become a staple to make that kind of record now. I’m looking to be influenced by him: I’ve taught and given him some perspective, but the student really does become the teacher, in a way.”

Usher continues, saying, “Both of us are being modest about what our journeys have been in terms of songwriting: Justin really has participated in every writing session – that’s amazing. It’s easy to just dial something in, but if you make the music authentic, people feel connected to you as an artist from the beginning.”

You can read the full interview here, and catch both Usher and Bieber performing at the Billboard Awards on May 20th.