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(To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2013, launched GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations. The ongoing series will include conversations with various people who will identify the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that have influenced and influenced them. helped shape their careers. .)

Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson grew up in Chicago in the ’80s and ’90s, but it was a classic ’70s disco track that first made her want to put her talents to good use as a professional performer.

“When I heard ‘Got To Be Real’ [by Cheryl Lynn] it just grabbed me,” Hudson says. “It was the song that made me think, ‘Oh my God – this is what I wanna do.’ I was marking a little scene on the floor, I was holding my micro hairbrush and I was jumping up and down. I would lose him.”

A solid disco beat can still move him, but Hudson also cites gospel music as a major influence, having often sang in church as a child with an extended family of talented singers.

Hudson got the chance to solidify her own music career in 2004 when she delivered several knockout performances as a contestant on “American Idol.” His breakout role in the film adaptation of dream girls followed in 2006, and two years later won Best R&B Album honors for her self-titled debut. at the 51st Grammy Awards [link to show page].

With plans underway for her third studio album, Hudson reigns as one of the most gifted and touching performers of her generation. Here are six GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that keep him wanting to reach for the microphone — hairbrush or otherwise.

whitney houston
whitney houston
Arista (1985)
Inducted in 2013

“I have a hard time remembering what I was doing the first time I heard a lot of Whitney songs because I just went crazy over everything she did. That debut album really had an effect on me. ‘Saving All My Love For You’, ‘How Will I Know’, ‘Greatest Love Of All’ – just saying the names of the songs makes me want to cry all over again. I remember that ‘Greatest Love Of All” was a complete game-changer for me. It was a song that had a very different power. It didn’t make you want to dance like my other favorite songs did – this one had you hooked. It put you in a trance. You started listening to this song and the world around you fell silent.

“Whitney had that effect from the start. There’s a time to dance, and there’s a time to listen, and Whitney had a voice that had to be listened to. What always amazed me was that his music is so powerful, and yet it’s so soothing. In some ways, it’s a treat for the ears, but it can also make you cry.

“Lady Marmelade”
The beautiful
Epic (1975)
Inducted in 2003

“When it’s time to dance, it’s the [song]. I think everyone has experience in music that certain songs are powerful enough to take you back to a certain time and place. There are songs you enjoy for music, but there are songs you feel like old friends – you have a history with them. For me, hearing Patti LaBelle and the band sing “Lady Marmalade” takes me back to when I was getting so excited about music. It’s the kind of song that made me jump up and want to be a part of what was happening.

“I also remember being impressed with the look and image of LaBelle, which I didn’t really know until I already knew the song. [They were] so fun and so expressive. I wish things were a little more like that now. Sometimes it feels like everything has been done. You think someone’s got a new look and it turns out LaBelle [were] already there.

“Oh Happy Day”
Edwin Hawkins Singers
Buddha (1969)
Inducted in 1999

“I started singing in church choirs, and even before singing, I was sitting [on] my grandmother’s knees while she sang the choir on Sundays or at the choir rehearsal. My whole family sang – my grandmother was the youngest of 11 siblings and they all sang together as a group. I remember they were doing these warm-ups where they were walking around and everyone in the family had to chant their name: ‘My name is Jennifer Hudson, how are you?’

“I’ve always loved that feeling of being surrounded by music and family, and that’s a feeling I get from ‘Oh Happy Day,’ which is kind of funny because despite all the singing we did at church I don’t think we sang that However once I heard it I just couldn’t get enough It’s one of those great pieces of music that’s a real song church, but gets you there like any great up-tempo pop song. great feeling of energy and makes you smile. It does what the title tells you it does – makes your day happier.

“A bridge over troubled waters”
Simon & Garfunkel
Colombia (1970)
Inducted in 1998

“I love this song, and have since the first time I heard it. But for a long time, what I knew was the Aretha Franklin version. A friend finally introduced me to the original Simon & Garfunkel Their recording is so perfect and so heavenly – every time I hear it I either want to sing along or just say “Hallelujah” The sound is so pure and the arrangement is so beautiful, it just sends you Then when you really listen to the lyrics, it’s beautiful on a whole new level. What does everyone want in life but a bridge over troubled water?

“It’s the kind of song that makes me wonder: when it was written and recorded, did they have any idea how amazing and timeless it was? Did they know from the start that it was a masterpiece? I think we musicians know when we’ve done our best, and that’s a great feeling. But I wonder if there’s an extra awareness when you create something that’s going to last forever. This song is definitely in that category.

Barbra Streisand
Colombia (1964)
Inducted in 1998

“The Way We Were”
Barbra Streisand
Colombia (1974)
Inducted in 2008

“I can’t remember the first time I heard Barbra Streisand. I just think I’ve always been aware that she was the best – that she’s as good as a singer and performer as she can be.

“The first time I really realized what a special talent she had, I had to get her together to sing a few of her songs at one of Clive Davis’ pre-GRAMMYs. [Galas]. It was a tribute to her, and two days before the show Clive asked me to sing “People” and “The Way We Were”. I had to take these two gigantic signature songs – songs that aren’t easy to deliver – and sing them with her sitting right across from me. I hope you are joking? I almost lost my mind.

“She makes the opening lines of ‘People’ so easy, but melodically it’s very hard to get it right. To this day, I want to sing that again and get it right – a little more right. I think I have to I talked to her after I sang, but I was so terrified that I don’t remember anything. I think she was smiling, but I don’t know. I love her. I would still sing for her if I could – but maybe not one of his songs.”

(Jennifer Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. As an actress, her role in the 2006 film dream girls won her numerous awards, including the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. A day after Whitney Houston’s death on February 11, 2012, Hudson performed “I Will Always Love You” as a special tribute on the 54th GRAMMY Awards TV show.)

(Chuck Crisafulli is a Los Angeles-based journalist and author whose most recent work includes Going to Hell: A Passionate Underworld Story, Me and a guy named Elvis and Elvis: my witness.)

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