Our Top 10 Jennifer Hudson’s Songs list takes a look at a singer and actress who rose to fame on the reality show American Idol. She didn’t win the competition, but she proved that you didn’t have to win the show to become a success story from it. She is the third most successful competitor from the reality show. She is third to Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood respectively. Hudson is the only contestant from the reality show to win a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and Grammy Awards. It’s time to get to know Jennifer Hudson a little better.
Jennifer Hudson appeared on the third season of American Idol. She was a popular contestant during her run on the show. The judges thought she was talented. Hudson ended up in the bottom three on the show with two other African American contestants. The situation caused quite a stir. She ended up leaving in seventh place in one of the most shocking exits since Tamyra Gray in season one. She proved she didn’t need to win the show to have a lasting career.
In 2005, Hudson landed the role of a lifetime. She got the role of Effie White in the hit movie Dreamgirls. She won the role over different actresses including singer/actress Beyonce. She was only known for being on American Idol so that was quite a feat for her. She earned a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her performance in the movie. She’s the youngest African American to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
She was very busy in 2008. Jennifer Hudson signed with Arista Records and released her debut eponymous album. The album peaked at number two on both the Billboard 200 charts and the r&b charts. It sold over 217,000 copies in its first week. It features the singles “Spotlight,” “If This Isn’t Love” and “Giving Myself.” The album went on to sell over 826,000 copies. She won a Grammy for this project. During this same year, Hudson appeared in the movies Sex and the City and The Secret Life of Bees.
Unfortunately, life dealt Hudson a terrible blow in 2008. She lost her mother, brother, and nephew on the same day when they were killed in a shooting. She took a year off to mourn their deaths. This devastating blow could have ended her career, but she persevered. She released her second album I Remember Me in 2011. She worked with a lot of well-known artists and producers. She worked with Alicia Keys, Ryan Tedder, R. Kelly, Diane Warren as well as other artists. The album debuted at number two on both the Billboard 200 charts and the r&b charts. The album sold 165,000 copies in its first week of release. The album features the singles “Where You At,” “I Remember Me,” “No One Gonna Love You” and “I Got This.” The album went on to sell over 500,000 copies. She won awards for this album too.
Jennifer Hudson did more acting. She starred in Winnie Mandela (2011) and Black Nativity (2013). She appeared on the TV show Smash in 2012. In 2014, she released her third album JHUD. The album debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200 charts and number two on the r&b charts. The album sold 24,000 copies in its first week. It features the singles “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel),” “Walk It Out,” “It’s Your World” and “I Still Love You.” The album sold over 61,000 copies. Hudson continued her acting career. She appeared in Sing in 2016. She was in Cats in 2019. She landed the starring role of Aretha Franklin in the movie Respect in 2019. She appeared in other TV shows throughout the years.
Jennifer Hudson is a singer with a big voice who made an impact on music. She may not have been taken seriously because she got her start on a reality show, but she proved she deserved her time in the spotlight (no pun intended). She has built quite a resume during her time in the music business as well as Hollywood. American Idol helped launch her career, but she managed to maintain a successful career. This Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs list will feature her best songs.
# 10 – Where You At
The first song on our Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs list is “Where You At” from the I Remember Me album. The song has an r&b sound. The drama filled song is about a man who let her down. She thought he was everything to her, but he turned out to be a bad person. She’s telling a convincing story about a man who made her think he would be there for her. The pain feels fresh. We don’t know if this song is personal to her or not, but she sells it.
She sings it with plenty of passion and attitude. Her voice is spectacular. She hits a lot of high notes in the song. She holds a big note after the bridge. Her powerful voice was welcomed in the song. She started the song off softly (for her) and then soared to a big finish. The music is somber to match the theme. R. Kelly wrote and produced the song for Hudson. He usually writes anthems and big power ballads for other artists so it fits in line with the other tracks he’s written. They worked well together. He brought out the best of her voice.
# 9 -Trouble by Iggy Azalea ft. Jennifer Hudson
The next song on our Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs list is “Trouble” by Iggy Azalea featuring Jennifer Hudson. The song is from Bank’s Reclassified album. The song has a hip-hop, soul and doo wop sound to it. It’s a regretful song about a good girl falling for a bad boy. This song is relatable for women who fall for the wrong type of guy. Men can also relate to this song if they fall for a bad girl. Banks and Hudson definitely aren’t a duet we expected to see happen, but they manage to make it work.
Their styles are completely different since Banks is a rapper and Hudson is an r&b singer. This could have been a disaster, but they pulled it off. They perform the song with sass and attitude, which gives the song an anthemic feel to it. The music is bouncy and has a throwback feel that is reminiscent of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” The old school sound makes the song sound unique. You would never know it was a hip-hop song. It definitely has crossover appeal. Banks has an excellent flow with her rhyming, but the star of the song is definitely Jennifer Hudson. She’s in great vocal form and has the right amount of soul for the song.
# 8 – It’s Your World ft. R. Kelly
The romantic song is from the JHUD album. This track has an r&b beat to it. The duet is a song about catering to each other. The submissive song is told in two parts. Hudson talks about how she would do anything for her man. She gives in to him in a way similar to Destiny’s Child’s “Cater 2 U.” She talks about being everything to him. Kelly talks about wanting to be everything to her. He wants to be the submissive one to her. They are both unselfish and want to make the other one happy. This story is told with a disco backdrop. It has an old school disco beat mixed with new school. There’s no way to sit still through this song.
The music is different for R. Kelly. He usually writes pop ballads for divas so it was a nice change to hear her sing one of his up-tempo songs. Their voices are fire together. She soars throughout the stratosphere. His vocals aren’t as powerful as Hudson’s, but he was able to keep up with her. He allowed her to shine while he stepped back. He held impressive notes as well, but they weren’t as strong as Hudson’s. Kelly is a performer as well and he could have allowed his ego to get in the way. He could have made sure that he shined more than she did, but he gave her the room to show what she could do.
# 7 – Love You Like I Do
This romantic song is from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack. The song has an r&b and soul beat. The song is about her character (Effie) from the movie being in love with Curtis (Jamie Foxx) from the movie. This upbeat love song has an old school sound to match the timeline of the movie. The movie is based on Motown acts so the music fits in perfectly. The orchestral swells give the music a Broadway feel to it. The horn section stands out the most in the music. The piano and drums are also fire. The music has a similar melody to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).”
Hudson shines on this song. She proves why she was given the role of Effie White. Her big gospel voice suits this song to perfection. She belts in the right places and takes you to church. She has no trouble singing over the big music. The only complaint about the song is that she lets the ending drop. She had the opportunity to hold a big and powerful note at the end, but she chose to do soft vocalizing. Other than that, the song is very good.
# 6 – I Remember Me
This heartbreaking song is from the album of the same name. It has an r&b sound to it. This emotional song is about her feelings about losing her family. She lost her family when they were murdered so this song gives her a chance to talk about that terrible tragedy. You can feel the pain in her voice as she sings about the hurt she felt. This song would be helpful for anyone who suffered a loss. Ryan Tedder was the perfect person to write this song for her.
He managed to bring out the emotion she needed to express in the song. This tearjerker will definitely hit you hard. The melody of the song sounds similar to the songs he’s written for Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson. The electronic drumbeat makes the song a head bopper. It gives the ballad some tempo. There aren’t enough words to describe how beautiful Jennifer Hudson’s vocals are in the song. She sings from her heart without being too showy. She does hit some high notes, but she doesn’t shout throughout the song. She picks the right moments to let her big voice shine. She controlled her voice very well.
# 5 – If This Isn’t Love
The next song on our Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs list is “If This Isn’t Love” is from her debut album. The song has an r&b and pop sound. This passionate song is about her expressing her love for her man. The music is hypnotic and you will get lost in it. It starts with an amazing piano solo and lures you in to the rest of the beautiful music. The music is soft and melodic. Hudson reaches to heights unknown vocally. She turns the song into a power ballad towards the end. She is a little loud considering the music is soft, but that doesn’t hurt the song. She starts the song softly and then she takes it to a different place. She has a soulful voice in this song. She uses a double when she sings the breezy chorus. The double is an added bonus to the track because they are performed in two different pitches. She does one of them in a lower octave while the other is a higher octave.
# 4 – Giving Myself
The devotional song is from her self-titled album. It has a soul and pop beat. This killer ballad is about giving in to her feelings for the man she loves. It’s a perfect love song for anyone who wants to devote themselves to the person they love. The lyrics to this song are so romantic and heartfelt. Robin Thicke wrote a beautiful and soulful ballad that compliments Hudson’s voice beautifully. He brought out a vulnerable side to the singer. Her massive vocals soared during the powerful song. She will send chills up and down your spine while she brings you to church. The killer piano brings out the brassiness of her voice. She will take you to places you haven’t been before. Her voice soared in ways similar to Whitney Houston. You could get lost listening to her incredible vocals. She truly has a gift that was given to her by God. Robin Thicke is in the background of the song and their voices blend well together. There aren’t too many people who could sing along with Hudson and be able to shine, but he was able to accomplish it.
# 3 – Spotlight
This anthemic song is from her self-titled album. It has an r&b beat. This independent song is a about a controlling lover. She wants him to put the brakes on his controlling ways. This infectious beat will hook you as soon as you hear it. This song was perfect for the summer. This mid tempo track has a thumping beat that’s impossible to sit through without moving around to it. The drumbeat is pulsating and gives the song its spice. The keyboard is fire. Everything about the music works.
This is the song she released after her work on the Dreamgirls Soundtrack and she proved she wasn’t just a fluke. She sings the song with the perfect amount of attitude and sass to make this song a female anthem. Her big voice works for this infectious music. She proved she could sing songs with tempo. She’s not just a power diva. She does belt in the song as if it were a ballad and that works perfectly. She proved that she could sing the alphabet and make it sound good.
# 2 – I Am Changing
This inspirational song is from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack. The song has an r&b beat. This sincere song is about a woman who wants to leave the past behind and move on with her life. The theme is about her character in the movie moving on with her life. The song is from the soundtrack, but it’s relatable to anyone who wants a fresh start in life. This song tends to get overshadowed by “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” but this song is just as good as that one. It requires perfect execution because it’s stripped so her vocals had to be on point.
She also had big shoes to fill because it’s a cover of Jennifer Holliday’s version. Holliday did an exquisite job on the track so Hudson had a lot to live up to in order to make this version just as good as her version. She proved she was up for the challenge. Hudson’s big gospel voice worked for this power ballad. She didn’t stray from the original version of the song. She hit every big note flawlessly. This song could have easily been number one if it weren’t for the one we picked.
# 1 – And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
The number one song on our Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs list is the incredible “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack. The song has a show tune beat to it. This anthemic song is about Effie’s love for Curtis. She refuses to let him leave her behind. She declares that she’s staying. This song is widely connected to Jennifer Holliday so before you hear it, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself. Did she take a risk covering a signature song? Did she pull it off? The answer to both questions is yes. Jennifer Hudson did a fantastic cover of this song. Her version is just as good as Holliday’s version.
This is the song that may make you a fan of Hudson if you weren’t a fan of hers already. She was an unknown singer (except for her stint on American Idol) and she wanted to prove to the world that she should have won the competition. She also proved she could handle a big song like this one. It’s hard to imagine Beyonce covering the song. She wanted the role of Effie, but Hudson won the role. Jennifer Hudson tore this song up in a way that Beyonce may not have been able to do. She had the right dramatic flare to pull off this song. She has the right vocal chops for the big notes. She handled them like a professional. She makes you want to sing along with her while she’s belting each note. Hudson does ad libs that Holliday didn’t do, but she basically sticks to the format of the song. This song deserved to be a hit for Hudson and number one on our list.
Top 10 Jennifer Hudson Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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