By: Denise Warner
Forget about everything you thought you knew about Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Jennifer Hudson, “celebrity”, because you’re about to meet the real deal! JHUD, her third studio album, due out September 23rd, is exactly who she wants you to know - a true reflection of herself.

Your new album JHUD comes out this September 23rd and wow! You’ve got a whole new look and such a fresh sound - what drove you towards this project?
Oh, thank you! It was really just about expressing myself and that’s what I love most - it’s a reflection of me, the person I am right now, the space I’m in now. It’s not Jennifer Hudson the persona or the celebrity; it’s JHUD, the girl. That’s why I named it JHUD (laughs) because that’s really me. I’m excited for people to get to know me, as a person through my music.
You’re surrounded by such diverse producers on this project, each with their own style—Pharrell, Timabaland, R.Kelly on the “It’s Your World” track. How do you adj ust to be able to work with each of them?
You know, it kind of just happened (laughs) and they’re all so strong, each of them, so strong in their own way. I said from the beginning that I wanted to work with people who knew me well. I didn’t want to work with anyone who didn’t know the real me. I’ve worked with all of them at different times before. I worked with R. Kelly on my last album, I worked with Timabaland and Pharrell on earlier stuff, so we all had an established rapport. Pharrell and I work together really well and Timabaland encouraged me to write.
It was so motivational and inspiring to be surrounded by that kind of support. We were like “all we need now is R. Kelly …” (laughs) and then he came aboard. He was like, “I need to be on this album.” What I love about him is that he always raises the bar, so it all came together exactly like we wanted, like I wanted- for people to listen and feel like now they know me, as if they’ve met me and know this is who I am. I want people to feel that kind of connection through my music.
It’s really a big departure from the big belt out ballads that you’re known for. Is it scary to try something new or exciting?
I think it’s a little of both, to be honest. It can be scary, but it’s all a part of me and I have to trust that. This is a part of me that I want you to know and it’s exciting to do something different because it means you’re growing. So, it’s a bit of both, really.
There are so many new, young artists starting out, especially in singing competitions & TV shows. Is there any fresh talent that’s caught your attention?
Oh, wow. I just love music and I listen to everything. I’m always amazed by the talent I see out there. I like a lot of new comers. I like Candace Glover from American Idol. It’s hard to think of them all because I like all kinds of music, any genre. I’m all over...

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