Growing up on the south side of Chicago IL, Jennifer Hudson started singing in the church choir at the age of seven. For Jennifer, emoting inspirational gospel is the cornerstone of her beginnings as a talented singer, "the church is my favorite place to sing. My first solo was "Must Jesus Bare The Cross Alone." Jennifer Hudson attributes her vocal ability to her dear late maternal grandmother, Julia Kate Hudson, who was an avid churchgoer and also sang in the choir. Throughout grammar and high school, Jennifer Hudson cultivated & showcased her talent by participating in a host of local talent shows and musicals. During this time she also performed at various clubs, weddings and benefits in Chicago and surrounding areas
In the Fall of 2002 Jennifer Hudson successfully auditioned for one of the Disney Cruise ships and landed her first major role as "Calliope", the head muse on the "Disney Wonder" line the ran from February 2003 through August of 2003. Jennifer Hudson loved her time performing on the ship and considers herself a member of the Disney family and was thrilled to be able to do what she loves to do, stating, "singing for thousands of people, and to be paid to do this, its amazing!." Taking a leap of faith, Jennifer consciously decided not to renew her contract with Disney; instead she flew to Atlanta to audition for the Fox hit reality show, American Idol: Season 3 in August 2003.
Amongst 70,000 hopefuls Jennifer Hudson was a stand out choice as a top 12 competitor. She wowed the American Idol judges and viewers spanning across the globe with great performances of classic songs by icons such as Aretha Franklin & Whitney Houston. As judge Randy Jackson's Wild Card pick, Jennifer Hudson's journey with American Idol accelerated her to the 7th position. Viewer response to her early departure was quite controversial and unprecedented and sent shockwaves across America as well as unleashing a torrent of criticism about the American Idol voting process. During her time in the "Top 12", Jennifer Hudson received high praise from some of musics biggest industry legends. Sir Elton John was quoted as saying she was "the best of the lot". The deep, rich, powerful, classic texture of Jennifer Hudson's voice continues to touch everyone that hears her sing. In response to hearing Jennifer Hudson's incredible range during the competition preparation for his very own classic, "Weekend In New England" Barry Manilow stated "My catalog of songs requires that you have range, you cannot do what Jennifer is doing, she takes it to a whole other level.". Movie director Quentin Tarentino was also enchanted by hearing Jennifer Hudson's powerful rendition of the Whitney Houston song "I Have Nothing" from the mega hit soundtrack "The Bodyguard". Quentin states "Hudson takes on Houston and WINS!" Even though Jennifer Hudson did not win the idol crown she left an indelible mark on the music industry and viewers across the world. After the show ended the top 10 finalists embarked on a 48 city tour and Jennifer Hudson received critical praise for her performances from many of the local newspapers covering the event.
Post "Idol" life for Jennifer Hudson has been very rewarding. She has performed at several important benefit concerts, including a performance in the hit Broadway musical "Hair". Jennifer Hudson makes it no secret that she has a strong interest in the stage and has received rave reviews from established stage performers after her stand out delivery of "Easy To Be Hard", which she has recorded for an ensemble cast HAIR benefit album, released in early 2005. Jennifer Hudson was also invited to perform at an event in her hometown along side such notable acts as Destinys Child, Kanye West and others.
With a 5 octave range, Jennifer Hudson has been compared to legendary voices such as Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, and Jennifer Holiday. What you heard from Jennifer Hudson on American Idol was only a sliver of her vocal ability. Jennifer's voice is a throwback to powerful old school performers. Back when singers could sang. There is a duality in Jennifer Hudson's voice that listeners will find very pleasing. She has the prowess to deliver an old soul classic but can just as easily woo you with a big power ballad that made many of todays musical stars famous.
In November 2005, Jennifer Hudson was cast in the prized role of Effie White, the role originally created in a legendary Broadway performance by Jennifer Holliday, for the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls. Jennifer Hudson has won particular praise for her show-stopping onscreen rendition of the hit song, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going". For her performance as Effie White, Jennifer Hudson has garnered twenty-nine awards from film critics as Best Supporting Actress and Breakthrough Performer of 2006. She won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In addition, Jennifer Hudson has been named Best Supporting Actress by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and also by the Screen Actors Guild. On February 7, 2007, Jennifer Hudson was named Best Supporting Actress and Best Breakthrough Performance by the Black Reel Awards, awarded by the Foundation For The Advancement Of African-Americans In Film. On February 25, 2007, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film. At 25 years old, Jennifer Hudson became the eighth youngest winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She became only the third African-American to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Jennifer Hudson also became the fourth African-American actress to win an acting award in Oscar history and the first African-American to win an Oscar for her screen debut.
“I’m so fortunate to have an audience from Idol and from Dreamgirls – all ages, kids, grandmothers, gay, straight, and all races. People may think they know what to expect from me but I want to show them I’m more than just a one-trick pony when it comes to music!” As her Arista Records album demonstrates, Jennifer Hudson is an artist who evokes a timeless voice for this decade.
Indeed, rather than being an extension vocally of her Dreamgirls role, Jennifer Hudson’s first CD reveals that she is more than capable of making music suited to her age. “It’s tricky because I played a character in her 30s in the movie so the audiences heard me with more of an ‘adult’ voice. But I’m just 26 and I have a lot of other sides to show.” And while her Arista debut shows that ‘adult’ side, it’s also filled with slammin’ cuts that show Jennifer Hudson can deliver on tracks produced by the likes of 21st century-hitmakers Timbaland, Tank, The Underdogs and Stargate.
With her high-powered soulful style, Jennifer Hudson had already achieved feats that are reserved for most young singers’ dreams. Jennifer Hudson’s now ready to make the same kind of impact on the world of music she’d made on the silver screen with the much-anticipated release of her sizzling Arista Records debut album. “I know people have high expectations because of Dreamgirls. I didn’t have a particular concept in mind when I started working on the album. I wanted it to show flexibility and versatility. My voice has different characters and I looked at each song as having different stories, since I’m an actress too,” says Jennifer, who starred in the 2008 summer box office hit Sex in the City. “They’re all different - sassy, vulnerable, loud and obnoxious, dramatic, romantic, spiritual – and they’re all a part of me.”
Listen to Christian Music Artist Jennifer Hudson
|Dreamgirls: Music From The Motion Picture [2-CD Deluxe Edition]||2006||Columbia Records|
|Jennifer Hudson||2008||Arista Records|
|I Remember Me||2011||Arista Records|