How Ledisi Helped Welcome JHud to Broadway
Music January 31, 2023
Jennifer Hudson is no stranger to Broadway — she performed to rave reviews in “The Color Purple” and earned a Tony for producing Best Musical winner “A Strange Loop.” But JHud has someone special to thank for first welcoming her to the Broadway community.
JHud welcomed her longtime friend, singer-songwriter Ledisi, to the show almost 20 years after they first met. The two were introduced for the first time while performing in an all-star benefit concert of the musical “Hair” for The Actor’s Fund of America in September 2004.
“You were just getting off of ‘American Idol,’ and you were so quiet and scared of everyone,” said Ledisi on the January 31 episode of “The Jennifer Hudson Show” about meeting JHud for the first time.
“I was terrified!” remembered JHud.
“And no one would sit next to you… They were afraid to sit next to her,” the singer continued. “I ain’t scared of nobody, so I sat next to you, and I said, ‘Hi, I’m Ledisi.’”
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“She barely spoke, but when she got on that stage and sang, we all went, ahh,” recalled Ledisi. “And next thing I know you were in ‘Dreamgirls.’”
“Let me tell you why I was so quiet,” JHud explained. “They pulled me off the [Idols Live] tour and said ‘You gotta go sing’... And I thought, oh, my God, this is my market, I gotta get it right.
“Thank you for befriending me and talking to me and breaking the ice, because it was a whole new world,” JHud told her friend.
“You’re still the same — just more makeup and clothes,” said Ledisi, causing JHud to laugh.
The versatile singer later took the stage to perform her song “I Need to Know.”
“Aretha [Franklin] had the best songs that catered to how women actually felt in certain situations,” she told JHud. “I never wanna be like anyone but be myself, but I wanted to emulate the feeling of how we as women sometimes feel in situations, and so that song came about easily.”
Listen to Ledisi’s new music and explore her tour dates by visiting ledisi.com.
“The Jennifer Hudson Show” airs weekdays. Here’s when to watch in your area.