Even without new music, the former "American Idol" finalist has still found ways to make headlines, launching her new clothing line for women through QVC and performing a tribute to her idols Whitney Houston at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards earlier this year. Months later, the busy mom still gushes over her love and appreciation for the late legend's music.
Before Jennifer Hudson entered the studio to put her talented chops to work, upgrading the lullaby, she spoke with The BoomBox about the Pampers project, the team she'll be working with on her new album -- Diane Warren included -- her summer playlist, which features both Drake and Jessie J, and why she's excited about D'Angelo's return.
Tell me how you feel about collaborating with Pampers on this project?
I'm so excited I get to record and make an official recording of "Lullaby." Music is a huge part of who I am and what I do and even my upbringing and I'm a mommy. So to me, it's like a perfect fit to be able to do this and be able to share with other moms at the same time.
So what can people expect to hear when it finally gets released?
The sweetest, lovable, loving and soothing and happy all in one song. I wanted it to feel good, too. Sometimes lullabies kind of feel like Christmas songs. I still want to keep that same spirit, still where it's like soothing. That song where you can just play, because when my baby was born, I would play jazz music and light candles and hold him around the house until he would fall asleep. And I want to bottle it all up into this and have that moment where you have a special moment with your child but still when that song ends, that baby's asleep. That's the little gift and the treat that the moms get. Like, "Whew, I get a break" [laughs].
How has your personal experiences with motherhood allowed you to channel this into the song?
I'm sure other moms will get that, that bond, that specialness, whether you sing or not, that you can hum to your child, that moment. When my baby was first born, like now I can't sleep without him. When I'm away from him, I can't sleep because he's not here. So when he was a baby in the middle of the night, nobody's getting up but mom. I don't care if you have a nanny or not, only mom is getting up in the middle of the night. But those are the moments I cherish the most, and that to me is what "Lullaby" gives, that moment.
For this lullaby you're recording, when can fans expect to finally hear it?
You can go to Pampers Facebook page and download it for free. And in celebration they're going to donate $100,000 to our foundation, my sister and I's Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
You're recording a track for Pampers, but are you recording any music for a future album?
I'm not working on an album right now. I'm gearing up to start working on my next album. I plan on writing more and getting more involved. More creatively, musically, in just every way. I want to even produce some things in more of a creative space in my next project, but more so from a writing standpoint. But that is coming very soon.
Who do you want to work with on your next project?
Well, I would like to keep songwriters like Diane Warren. She's amazing. Salaam and Harvey Mason, those three will probably stay just the same. But I do want to venture out and see what's out there. I wouldn't mind working with newcomers with a fresh vision and new creatives, stuff like that.
Any new artists you've been inspired by?
I'm inspired by Luke James, Bruno Mars. I'm excited about Jessie J. And like the regulars: Usher, Beyonce, Rihanna, Alicia [Keys], which she worked with me on my last album. I just love music.
It's Black Music Month. Are there any artists that came before you that really inspired you that you'd like to pay respects to?
Oh my God! There's so many. Of course, No. 1, Whitney Houston. Hands down, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway.
He had music in his voice. His music was special and I don't feel like it got appreciated until he passed. But it's classic and music that you connect to that you didn't even realize that you did until you go back to them and say, "Wow! This is magic, this is a moment." So him. Luther [Vandross]. Girl, I could go on and on. Gladys Knight. You know I'm really getting into Tina Turner. Like that old song "What's Love Got To Do It?" They created magic back then. That's the kind of music I want to make, you know, where it's not just a trend or a something for the moment, but something that's timeless.
Many music fans have been excited about the return of D'Angelo. Are you a fan and do you have a favorite song by him?
Everything that he does. I like "Higher." I like "Africa." Africa is my descent. I just want him to come back. He's another one that I loved before now, but he's still quite not old, old school, but he still has that flair and I feel like he needs to bring that today. And he's a true musician, he knows music, and I love that. I'm rooting for him. I can't wait for him to return.
For the summer, a lot of people have songs that they think of when it comes to the warmer months. Do you have any songs in particular for a summer playlist?
You know I just created a summer playlist. I would have to pull out my phone to show it to you. But yeah, I just created one. You know who I put on there? Whitney Houston "I Want To Dance With Somebody." That is timeless. Like you can play that right now today and it could stand right next to a Rihanna song. And also on the same playlist is "Domino" by Jessie J. "We Are Young." That song. Drake and Rihanna "Take Care." Just upbeat, feel-good type of stuff.
Recently you announced your clothing line with QVC. Tell me more about why you wanted to take the time to create one.
Because I love clothes and I live in my closet. If you can't find me, where is she? In her closet. So I like connecting with my fans a lot and I felt that was the perfect vehicle to have that connection to them and give them. And when people see things, they love it and they want to wear it and on the red carpet [they may see it and say], "I don't have $2,000 or $3,000 to pay for that piece." Well, I reinvented it so that you can have it and it's the exact same thing; I'm just making it affordable. And it's straight up out my closet and they can wear it and I can help them "Jennifer-ize" it.
What summer destinations do you look forward to?
Wherever the heat is. I love it when it's 100 degrees. Like right now I couldn't be happier because it's so warm and I look for the warm weather. I'm from Chicago and so it's so unpredictable, the weather. So I really look, like, "What's the temperature going to be today? OK, well where is it hot at? That's where I'm going!" But if I could pick a place to go probably Florida or the Bahamas. But again anywhere where it's warm. That's where I wanna be.
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