You may be familiar with Jennifer Hudson’s in a few different ways. Her career began in reality television, but since her time on TV she was able to become successful in the mainstream music industry and as a film actress. Speaking generally, Hudson was incredibly successful during the mid 2000’s through the early 2010’s. However, you don’t hear about her nearly as much as you used to.
Jennifer Hudson’s Early Career and American Idol
Jennifer Hudson was born in September of 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. She mostly grew up in Chicago, where she was swept up in music at a very young age. By the time she was just 7 years old, Jennifer had begun to sing in her church choir. She was also participating in some productions that took place at her local community theater, with the help of her maternal grandmother. She attended high school at Dunbar Vocational High School, where she would graduate in 1999. Once she was done with high school, Hudson enrolled at Langston University. Langston, which is located way out in Oklahoma, was a long way from home in Chicago. Understandably, Hudson found herself getting kind of homesick and she decided to drop out after one semester. Instead, she ended up enrolling in Kennedy-King College, a community college located closer to home in Chicago.
In 2002, Hudson was able to take a massive step in music career by obtaining a contract with Righteous Records, which was an independent label based out of Chicago. Hudson was signed to a five year contract, but she ended up releasing herself from it so that she would be eligible to compete in American Idol. For those who are unfamiliar, American Idol is the name of a hit competitive reality program where contestants would compete with one another through their abilities as vocalists. The show isn’t around anymore, but it’s widely considered one of the most culturally significant reality shows that the United States has ever seen. Jennifer Hudson was able to get a spot in the third season of the show. She was a popular contestant on American Idol, but she was ultimately eliminated during the Top 7 show. Although she didn’t end up winning the season, she’s probably the most successful person to come from that season of American Idol. The failure that she faced in the show was rough, but it opened up plenty of opportunities for her down the road.
Jennifer Hudson’s Career Breakthrough
American Idol gave Jennifer something that most aspiring artists can only dream of: nationwide publicity. Once she was done with the program, her popularity was greater than it had ever been before. In 2006, she signed a contract with Arista Records. Shortly after this signing, she announced her intent to get into the studio and start producing some original content. In December of 2006, the movie Dreamgirls was released. This film featured a star-studded cast (including the likes of Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Danny Glover) and was an adaptation of the musical of the same name. Jennifer Hudson had a large role in this film, which was widely considered her breakout role. For a lot of people, it was a surprise to suddenly see Jennifer performing in this way. Recall, however, that she used to participate in theater productions in her youth. In a sense, musical theater like Dreamgirls is what she has always been training to do.
Hudson’s portrayal of Effie White in Dreamgirls was subject to critical acclaim, as well. This wasn’t just an instance of someone attracting attention in Hollywood because they were already famous. She put on a genuinely incredible show. Due to the quality of her work, Jennifer won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Even more impressively, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Just about anyone can tell you how impressive it is for someone to win an Academy Award with their acting debut, and with this incredible score, Jennifer Hudson had sufficiently put herself on the map as one of the most talented entertainers of her generation. She continued her acting career in 2008, when she had a role in the movie Sex and the City. In that same year, she would appear in the movie The Secret Life of Bees. Just because she was seeing success in film acting, however, didn’t mean that she had abandoned music altogether.
Nope, she was still working very hard in music. In September of 2008, she released her debut album Jennifer Hudson. Her overwhelming success leading up to its release meant that she was able to score collaborations on the album with high-profile artists like Ludacris and T-Pain. Shortly after this release, however, tragedy struck when three of her family members were killed. She was deeply affected by this event, and so she made the decision to step out of the public spotlight for a while. She returned in 2009 to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLIII. Jennifer collaborated with musicians like Brooke White and Ne-Yo while she worked on her second album. This album, entitled I Remember Me, was released in March of 2011. It did very well commercially, selling over 150,000 units in its first week of release. The album was also well reviewed. However, she hasn’t see that kind of commercial success since its release. What has Jennifer Hudson been up to?
What’s Jennifer Hudson Doing Now in 2017 – Recent Updates
In 2012, Hudson made a triumphant return to the screen with a part in the movie The Three Stooges. She was able to sing at both the 54th Grammy Awards and at the 85th Academy Awards. (The former appearance was a tribute to Whitney Houston, the latter was a tribute to films belonging in the musical genre.) During this time, Jennifer also saw roles in the movies The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, Black Nativity, and Lullaby. She released her third studio album JHUD in September of 2014. Although this album received positive reviews, it was nowhere near as successful as some of her previous work. It only sold around 24,000 units in its first week of release, which was obviously a large drop off from her previous album I Remember Me. However, Jennifer has dealt with failure before, and she didn’t let herself become a victim. In the years following this release, she kept busy.
In January of 2015, she made her Broadway debut by having a significant role in the Broadway revival of the musical The Color Purple. She would play Shug Avery, and her work in the musical definitely contributed to its overall critical acclaim. This particular production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and it is currently pending nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Around this time, she also had a singing guest starring role in the popular television show Empire. During the 87th Academy Awards, she sang during the tribute to late Hollywood stars. What’s in store for her future? Jennifer is currently set to co-star alongside Adam Sandler in the Netflix original movie Sandy Wexler. Beginning with the sixth series, she has served as a judge and coach on The Voice UK. For those who are interested in her work in music, you might be happy to find out that she was recently signed to Epic Records. Jennifer Hudson has definitely undergone a rebuilding period lately, but I think she is setting herself up to stage a major comeback in the years to come.