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HomeEntertainmentKate Hudson on Her Debut Album, 'Glorious,' and Why She Loves Rock

Kate Hudson on Her Debut Album, ‘Glorious,’ and Why She Loves Rock


At the turn of the century, right around the time Almost Famous made her an instant superstar, word got around that Kate Hudson could sing, for real. Inevitably, the pop machine, which happened to be running at maximum efficiency in that particular historical moment, tried to catch her in its gears. “People in the industry would say, ‘Let’s make a record,’” says Hudson. “‘Let’s do this. Let’s do that.’ And I always felt not ready. I don’t know why that was my response. Something was stopping me, and I wasn’t reflective enough at the time to really think about it — until I got older, and I was like, ‘Why am I so hesitant with something I love more than anything?’”

The answer, Hudson says, “was always fear of rejection. When I think about my songwriting, if someone rejected that, I don’t think I had the capacity to be ready for it.” Acting was a different story. “You can always blame someone else for a bad movie,” she adds. “If you’re not directing it or producing it or writing it, as an actor, you kind of show up, do the best you can, and hope what you gave is gonna turn out great in the editing room. Sometimes it really doesn’t! But you have that cushion of like, ‘That wasn’t my vision. It was someone else’s.’ And for me, music is the opposite.” The fact that her long-estranged biological father, Bill Hudson, had been a successful musician in the 1970s only added to the psychological complications.

It took decades, lots of therapy, and a global pandemic for Hudson to break through all of those barriers and finally write and record an album of her own. The result, Glorious, is one of the year’s most pleasant musical surprises, a thoroughly grown-up and strikingly assured collection of guitar-heavy songs that tend to land somewhere between Adele and Sheryl Crow, with Hudson’s big, slightly husky voice and deep rock & roll fandom always front and center. “The spirit of Penny Lane descends on everything in my life,” Hudson says. “Because I was Penny Lane.… I love all kinds of music, but I love rock music, and I love women in rock. Linda Ronstadt is my favorite rock star.”

When the Covid lockdowns hit, Hudson found herself forced into introspection. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’” she recalls. “‘What is my life? What’s going to happen if I die? This will be my great regret ever, that I didn’t allow myself to share music. And even if it’s one person who loves it, it would mean so much to me.’ And that was it. Like, ‘OK, it’s time.’” So, she was in the mood to say yes when a friend of hers, Tor E. Hermansen of the production duo Stargate, asked her to sing a cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework” for a school-charity Zoom. Soon afterward, Hudson got a surprise phone call from songwriter and producer Linda Perry, a parent at the same school. “She was like, ‘What the fuck? I didn’t know you could sing like that! Do you write music?’ And I go, ‘Yeah.’ She’s like, ‘Well, come in the studio.’”

The spirit of Penny Lane descends on everything in my life. Because I was Penny Lane.

Hudson and Perry were near-total strangers, but Hudson arrived at the studio with another, much more familiar collaborator. Danny Fujikawa, her fiancé and father of one of her children, had a music career of his own as a guitarist and songwriter for the indie band Chief, who released an album on Domino in 2010. The touring life had led to substance issues for Fujikawa, and he thought his musical life was over. “Kate brought me back into music with this album, kind of full circle, and it’s been such a blessing for me,” he says.

At that first session, Fujikawa recalls, “it was me, Kate, and Linda Perry sitting in a room, and it was like an awkward first date. Linda just strummed a chord and then belted some howling, crazy sound out of her mouth. That kind of set the tone for Kate, and then, honestly, we just hit the ground running. We wrote 30 songs or something over the course of three weeks.” Fujikawa and Hudson eventually finished the album with another musician, onetime Max Martin collaborator Johan Carlsson, who co-wrote Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman,” among other hits.

The album’s power-ballad title track was one of the easiest Hudson-Perry collaborations, written in all of 10 minutes. “The process felt like channeling, and ‘glorious’ just was a word that came out,” Hudson says. “It was like we were in each other’s heads. It was awesome.” She connects that feeling to something that she’s experienced as an actor: “It’s the moments when you hit a scene with someone and everything goes away and it feels so good. It feels completely present. That’s the same thing for me writing music. You’re so present in it. ‘Glorious’ was just the best. It was better than sex.”

Hudson doesn’t mind acknowledging there are moments on the album that evoke the Black Crowes, the band fronted by her ex-husband, Chris Robinson. “Well, listen, I mean, talk about a foundation of my life,” she says. “I was a fan of my ex-husband before I met him. I remember what I loved about the Black Crowes when I was younger, before I fell in love with him — the naughtiness and the freedom in which they chose to create. I have a soft spot for people like that, even though they’re challenging and tough. Chris and I, we didn’t fall in love ’cause we liked opposite things. We fell in love ’cause we were into the same shit.”

Hudson, who was also once engaged to Muse’s Matt Bellamy, adds, “People always go, ‘You really like those music guys.’ And I’m always like, ‘They might like me, too!’ You know, there’s something about music. I’ve been in relationships where I can’t speak that language with someone, and I don’t know if I could exist in a unit where I couldn’t share it properly. It’s a really, really nice thing to share, and that’s been why I always end up having babies with [musicians]. It’s like my pheromones are like, ‘We’ll make a good child. We’ll make a musical child. So let’s do this!’”

Finishing the album felt almost like as momentous an occasion. “There’s so much emotion attached to it, and personal obstacles to overcome to get here,” she says. “When I knew it was done and everything was mastered and I was signing off on it, it was like giving birth to a baby — it really felt that way. I was incredibly emotional. But what was interesting was that I didn’t have any fear.”

Now, Hudson is looking forward to her first tour of her own, eyeing favorite venues like New York’s Bowery Ballroom. And as music biopics start to look like the new superhero movies, she has a few dream roles in mind that could combine her two artistic pursuits. “I think Dusty Springfield is a really interesting story,” she says. “People don’t know a lot about her, and she’s one of my favorites. She was very shy. She had a lot of stage fright and struggled with being open about her sexuality. That could be a very powerful movie.”


Even more than that, Hudson would love to play Stevie Nicks. “The ultimate is Stevie,” she says. “I think for all girls who love rock, Stevie’s just our number one. But my family might, like, disown me if I ever got a chance to play her. ’Cause they’d be like, ‘Can we not go method?’ I would probably go way too far into that character.”


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