Usmanov began singing in the amateur choir of the Automobile
Club before World War II. He wanted to join the choir of the All-Union Radio,
but World War II began.
As a soldier, Usmanov hit an armoured
personnel carrier; for this he was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
In the late
1940s, he became a soloist of All-Union Radio, and in the early 1960s began to
record duets with Victor Selivanov. He also sang with the Aleksandrov Ensemble.
While Soviet songs were his domain, he forayed into operatic territory and took part in a few complete
recordings, where he would
typically sing small parts; but there is even a completely preserved Demon from the Soviet radio with Usmanov as Sinodal. A very
approximate information copied again and again on the Russian internet says that he sang a part in Rimskij-Korsakov's opera Pan
voevoda; I suppose that means he sang it on stage, but there's no information as to where and when, and which part.