Usher is known for his career as a dancer, an actor, a coach and a Grammy-winning singer — someone who has been a household name for almost two decades now, since his 1997 album My Way took over the charts.
But his favorite role is still doting dad.
Shortly after wrapping his new movie Hands of Stone, the 37-year-old star took a breather to “focus on my kids and personal things,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively.
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For an entertainer who’s been going nonstop for decades, it makes sense that pausing his soon-to-be released album and holding off from performing made him reflect on himself and see love in a different light.
“There’s a younger generation of people that maybe don’t know as much about love or how to articulate it,” says Usher, who plays boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in the film. “But I tend to stick in that space for some reason, using love as a tool.”
And though he’s back working on multiple projects now, it’s still the special moments with his family — wife Grace Miguel and his two sons (Cinco, 8, and Naviyd, 7) from a previous marriage — that mean the most to Usher.
About a recent trip to Italy, he recalls, “I went on an air balloon trip with about 15 people and we were about 3,000 feet in the air. Both my boys were up there with me, my wife was up there with me.
“The whole family was up there. It was cool to just have that little moment away,” he adds of what the experience meant to him.
For more from Usher, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
— Melody Chiu