Music Star Mr. Hudson: “Traditionally people in entertainment have kept out of politics but it’s crunch-time; I want to work on something to do with the health of our ecosystem”

Yitzi Weiner
Aug 16, 2019 · 6 min read
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…That’s the first time I’ve been asked that. It’s something I need to think more about. My music has helped some people. It’s really moving when fans say that a song has helped them get through a tough patch. The song “Forever Young” which I recorded with Jay-Z particularly. For someone to choose to play my music at a funeral or memorial is a great honour. I’ve been trying to think about what I can do to make a difference beyond my own personal sphere. There are so many good causes but my mind keeps coming back to climate change as the elephant in the room. You’ll probably see me chained to something by the end of the year!

…Greta Thunberg has inspired me greatly in recent months. I want to work on something to do with the health of our ecosystem. Traditionally people in entertainment have kept out of politics but it’s crunch-time.

I had the pleasure to interview music star Mr. Hudson. Allow Mr. Hudson to reintroduce himself. The musical polymath’s stunning return When The Machine Stops is a seductively minimal dreamscape which blooms with undeniable pop hooks. If Nicolas Winding Refn ever made a sequel to his neo-noir Drive, Mr. Hudson’s looming soundscapes, shot with shards of light, would be a pitch-perfect soundtrack. As well as an incisive comment on today’s social media world, the album is a poignantly personal exploration of modern isolation, and a subtle tribute to the creative magic that fruitful music communities can offer. Mr Hudson knows all about that. From his star-making collaborations with Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music in the late ’00s to dazzling work with Janelle Monae and Frank Ocean, Hudson has been a driving force in the musical flourishing of today’s most pioneering artists. But some artists aren’t destined for a life in the shadows. And a decade since the release of his most recent album, 2009’s critically-lauded Straight No Chaser, Mr Hudson is ready to step into the spotlight again, with his most focused and cohesive project to date.

Thank you so much for joining us Mr. Hudson! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As a teenager, I just wanted to be David Bowie, then I got into Hip Hop in the early 2000s and signed to Kanye West’s label GOOD music in 2008. Since then I’ve collaborated with a lot of different artists and producers in various genres. Next year I’ll be doing some shows with Bowie’s band so it’s all come full circle in a way!

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?

Walking back to the hotel from the basketball court in Hawaii, I saw Elton John having brunch with friends on the beach. I approached the table and before his security could carry me away I asked “How many Englishmen are there on this beach?” We hit it off and I invited him to the studio to meet Kanye and the team, and that’s how he ended up on a song for MBDTF.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Working with John Legend on some new songs is a priority at the moment. He is perhaps the best singer I’ve recorded and a gentleman. I’m also having fun promoting my new album “WHEN THE MACHINE STOPS” which expands on my “sad robot sound” that I started with Kanye back in 2008.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Perhaps working with Duran Duran was the most rewarding session. Rather than having one artist in the studio, I had all four characters to get to know. And we worked on their album “Paper Gods” for almost a year so I had a chance to get my legs under the table and forge some real friendships. Also we had some characters featuring on the album: Nile Rodgers, Janelle Monae, etc

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Musically it’s still Bowie. Then in no particular order: Joni Mitchell, J Dilla, Chet Baker, Marvin Gaye, George Orwell, Shakespeare, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kanye, The Beatles… Obama, Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Vivienne Westwood.

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Photo credit: Mathieu Cesar

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

That’s the first time I’ve been asked that. It’s something I need to think more about. My music has helped some people. It’s really moving when fans say that a song has helped them get through a tough patch. The song “Forever Young” which I recorded with Jay-Z particularly. For someone to choose to play my music at a funeral or memorial is a great honour. I’ve been trying to think about what I can do to make a difference beyond my own personal sphere. There are so many good causes but my mind keeps coming back to climate change as the elephant in the room. You’ll probably see me chained to something by the end of the year!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Greta Thunberg has inspired me greatly in recent months. I want to work on something to do with the health of our ecosystem. Traditionally people in entertainment have kept out of politics but it’s crunch-time.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Sleep when you can. Drink water. Eat salads. Health really is wealth. And being healthy allows you to have a long career but perhaps even more importantly it allows you to keep a clear head when challenges arise.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

That’s tricky because you’re basically asking me to list five regrets ha! I wish someone had convinced me to start earlier. I didn’t really take my music seriously until I was 24. I could’ve had 5 albums out by then. I wish someone had convinced me to start collaborating earlier. I refused to collaborate until I signed to GOOD music. That was a baptism of fire and my mind was changed overnight. I went from being a hermit to one of ten people in the studio. That’s it. No regrets!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them :-)

Obama! I’d love to hoop with him. I’m aiming high but stranger things have happened. Someone else who is too busy to have lunch with me is Elon Musk. I love cars and I care about ecology so to meet the man who’s helping to end dependency on fossil fuels by making electric cars cool… that would be a trip. I’d love to pick his brain and get some sneak previews. Maybe I could chuck a couple of ideas in the pot.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Find me on instagram twitter and facebook. I’m just @mrhudson

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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