Jennifer Hudson is by all measures a headliner. She was an “American Idol” finalist. She won an Academy Award as Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” Her self-titled 2008 debut has been certified gold and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
So she could probably fill a room, especially a small hall, by herself. But the 27-year-old Chicago native says that given a relative paucity of material, she felt that a co-billing — in this case with R&B/pop singer Robin Thicke — was the best way to go.
“I’m in a weird place,” she says, “like, ‘Wow, everybody knows Jennifer, but where do you place her? Who do you put her with? Where do I go?’ That was the hardest part of the puzzle to put together. I think we came out with a great solution.”
Nevertheless, Hudson — who does not answer questions about the family tragedy she suffered late last year — says she’s stoked to “finally” be out on the road.
“I’m excited to get out and meet the people and sing for the people,” she says. “The only other tour I was part of, the Idol tour, was in big arenas, so this is more intimate and personal and outside of the studio and live and out there. So that’s different and new.”
Thicke, 32 — the son of actors Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring — says that as “a studio rat” working on his own music, as well as writing and producing for others, he never really tapped into “Idol” when Hudson was a contestant. With “Dreamgirls,” however, he was “blown away by (Hudson’s) beauty and voice and acting talent.” He also wrote one song, “Giving Myself,” for Hudson’s album and says that it “seemed like the inevitable conclusion ... was to go out and tour together.”
Thicke describes a juxtaposition between the two singers. Hudson, he says, is “class and some sophisticated ... vocal excellence” while he’s “a little bit rock ‘n’ rolling.” Hudson — who’s using Thicke’s band as well as her own background singers counters that “Robin ... makes real music. He has that real music connection.”
Both singers plan to get back to work on other projects after their tour wraps in early May. Thicke is well into recording his fourth album, which he’s producing himself, while Hudson is considering her next album — “Something with more depth, that’s more true to me as an artist,” she says — and is considering several more film roles.
Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke perform at 8 p.m. Friday (April 24) at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 237-7464 or visit www.michiganopera.org.
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