Billboard’s First-Ever Double Threats Special: Jennifer Hudson, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover and More Multihyphenate Powerhouses

Billboard's First-Ever Double Threats Special: Jennifer Hudson, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover and More Multihyphenate Powerhouses

Jennifer Hudson photographed on Feb. 10, 2015 at Hudson Loft in Los Angeles.

Miller Mobley

“I give 100 percent, whether it’s singing or acting,” says Jennifer Hudson. “I hope I never have to choose between the two.” Fortunately, it’s doubtful she’ll ever have to: After a stint as an American Idol finalist in 2004, the Chicago native’s biggest asset — her canyon-size voice — helped her leap onto the big screen. In her debut film role, as singer Effie White in 2006’s Dreamgirls, she stole the spotlight from fellow double threats Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx and nabbed an Oscar for best ­supporting actress. Now, after three albums (including last year’s JHUD), more big-screen gets (Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees), a new single with Iggy Azalea (“Trouble”) and a recent appearance on hit Fox show Empire, Hudson, 33, ventures into new ­territory this fall: her Broadway debut, as Shug Avery in a revival of The Color Purple.

THE DOUBLE THREATS: Jared Leto | Jack Black | Carrie Brownstein | Common | Andy Samberg | Donald Glover | Jennifer Hudson | Ice Cube | Anna Kendrick | Rita Ora | Ludacris

Nailed It On The First Try
“I had never even thought of ­acting, to be honest. It was actually my mom who was like, ‘Jenny, I think you could act.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, whatever, Mama.’ Then I turned around and won an Academy Award on my first film. The only other acting experience that I had was [when I performed] on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.”



She Knows Her Roots
“Music is in every element of what I do. Even if I’m not singing, music is what’s guiding my emotions.”

The Billboard Shoot: Double Threats Jennifer Hudson, Andy Samberg, Jack Black and More

One Thing At A Time
“I don’t want to have too many irons in the fire because something ­suffers. I like to focus on whatever it is I’m doing at the time. If it’s film, I don’t want to sing at all. If it’s singing, I don’t want to do film at all. Music was always first for me, it’s my love and passion. But I’m a tree with many branches, and there’s so much more to express.”

The Road To Egot Starts With A Puppy
“I have three dogs named Dream, Oscar and Grammy. I got Oscar before I won my Oscar; I got Grammy before I won my Grammy. So I want to get a dog and name it Emmy and name another one Tony, then hopefully …”

Watch Jennifer Hudson Talk ‘JHUD,’ Hair & EGOT Chances

Hudson Facts
– She has landed 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
– In 2006, Hudson won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls.
– She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.

This story originally appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of Billboard.