Kate Hudson is Ready for Her ‘Glorious’ Debut, Taking it One Step at a Time

Although Kate Hudson is best known for her memorable roles in films such as Almost Famous, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and You, Me, and Dupree, fans got a glimpse of a very different side of her creativity when she put out her debut single, “Talk About Love,” in January. Her full-length debut album, Glorious, out May 17.

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“Finishing this, it feels like I just produced, wrote, starred in, and directed my own project,” she tells American Songwriter during a recent video call from her Los Angeles home. “When you’re an actor, it’s like you’re waiting to get hired to do it, versus being a creator and just going out and doing it yourself. And it’s a scary thing to be the creator because you’re really putting yourself on the line, instead of hiding behind someone else’s creation and performing it to them.”

Making music, she says, was something she always aspired to do. “When I was a little girl, my first love was music. Musicals, playing the piano, singing, writing lyrics in my journal—I always wanted to write and sing music. So it feels more like that purpose-driven thing: whether people like it or not, I have to do it. And so that feels different than having fun playing a character.”

Even though it took her a long time to get to this point, Hudson says she’s now more than ready to get her songs out into the world: “It’s an exciting time. I’m really ready for the album to be released. I’m just so excited to get the whole experience.”

Still, she admits that it took the COVID pandemic to finally make her realize that it was finally the right moment for her to jumpstart this aspect of her career. “I kind of processed the [pandemic] lockdown in a really interesting way,” she says. “It started with all of this full-on anxiety coming out, and quieting my mind inside the house and not doing anything was actually really challenging for me. And when I finally let go and surrendered to the fact that this was possibly our new normal, then I started reflecting on my life to now. 

“It’s almost like I’ve been waiting for someone else to give me permission to do it,” she continues, “and I realized during COVID, that never gets anybody anywhere. Like, I have to actually give myself permission and just fucking do it and not be so afraid of what the response might be.”

Once Hudson actually made up her mind to pursue music, “Then it happened really fast. I sang at this one thing, and Linda Perry called me, and she was like, ‘What the fuck? I didn’t know you sang like that! Why don’t you have an album out in the world?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ And she goes, ‘Well, come to the studio.’ And that was sort of the spark.”

Perry was a formidable ally: in addition to her own successful music career, she has written hit songs for the likes of Adele, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and many others.

Hudson told Perry she had already written a lot of music, but they decided to start from scratch and write together. They also brought in Hudson’s musician fiancé, Danny Fujikawa. “We sat around in a circle and started to play,” Hudson says. “I had no expectations, and there was no calculated concept. It was just taking it one step at a time.” 

She believes that their different personalities were an asset in their songwriting process. “Linda’s a very powerful energy—she wouldn’t let us labor on little things, which was a really great exercise for me, as a writer, because I can get a little perfectionist-y. And Danny is a very introverted, thoughtful, quiet writer. And I’m very open. So the energies were very different, and balanced each other out really well, which I think is why we wrote so prolifically in that short period of time,” she says.

Hudson started these sessions by loosely outlining what she had in mind that day. “I kind of talked about what I felt like I wanted. I was like, ‘I want to do something kind of swampy,’ or ‘I feel like writing a pop song today.’ We played with different instruments and different concepts, almost like prompts. Then we would have these sort of sketches.

“Then I went home, and I would organize those sketches and put lyrics to them, and more melody. It literally was like meditating on the song. I just would sit with the sounds and the sketch and almost repetitively, like a mantra, go over and over it again. Then the lyrics would just start to come out,” she says, noting that she wrote all of the album’s lyrics by herself.

This method worked out well: within two weeks, they had written 26 songs. Though it was hard to narrow down what tracks would make the cut for Glorious, Hudson is pleased with the result. “The album is, I think, a bigger expression of all of the different kinds of music I like to write and sing. There’s some heavy songs. But the music, I think, is quite uplifting and hopeful.”

The album’s overarching lyrical theme, she says, “really is about all the love experiences that I’ve had, whether it be relationships, whether it be to myself, whether it be with my children, my mother. It all sort of came out in almost like ‘a life well-loved’—it felt like these kinds of chapters of my life in an album. That was what presented itself in the writing process.”

Musically, the album explores a wide variety of styles, ranging from pop and rock to alternative rock—reflecting Hudson’s own eclectic taste in music. “I have so many artists that I look up to, and so many different kinds of music that I love, and that’s going to come out,” she says.

With the album finished, Hudson is fulfilling her lifelong dream of being creative across many disciplines. “For me, performance and show business is everything—I grew up singing, I grew up dancing, I grew up acting. I went into theater as a young kid, I was in chorus, I was in music, I was in film. I wanted to do all of it.”

Kate Hudson (Photo by Guy Aroch)

She’s frustrated that some people seem to think that performers need to pick one of those things and stick with it exclusively. “I don’t know where this line got drawn in the sand that because you are an actor you don’t put albums out, or because you put albums out, it’s hard to cross over,” she says. “I think that only happened in maybe the ’70s or ’80s. Like in the ’40s, performance was the whole thing.”

So, by stepping outside of her acting career to do music, Hudson is rebelling against this current era’s restrictiveness. “I personally think that it’s our job as artists to constantly not allow people to put you in a box,” she says.

Still, she admits it hasn’t been easy to switch gears and enter an entirely new field. “I think what’s surprising me the most is the business aspect of it—it’s a very complex industry, so that’s been a really interesting learning curve for me,” she says. “The innocence of, ‘I want to put an album out,’ and then you realize how intense the music industry is, and complex, and all these different aspects of it.”

In some ways, though, she’s had a front-row seat to the way the music business works: after all, she has long been romantically linked with notable rock stars. During her twenties, she was married to Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson for seven years. Later, she was engaged to Muse vocalist/guitarist Matt Bellamy. She has been with Fujikawa since 2016. 

“All of my beautiful music men have been nothing but supportive, and they were always trying to kick me out there, and going, ‘Go, go—write! Sing!’” Hudson says.

Despite their encouragement, she never felt like the time was right to take this step—until now. “Like I always said, ‘I can’t do it unless I’m really doing it.’ It has to be as honest and as authentic as possible. I love music too much to not do it how I see it done the right way, which is that it has to feel personal and authentic to me. Meaning, I didn’t want a lot of writers. I want to work intimately with people. I want it to be my words.”

Now that she’s been through the process—and done it on her own terms—she’s immensely proud of the result. “I’ve been like, ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’ And then I was like, ‘No, stop doing that.’ Because the things that I get to write about now, there’s a reason for it. I really have to believe that. 

“I have to remind myself that there is a place for youth in music, and then there’s a place for wisdom in music, and age. Which we know because we know so many of the great songwriters are older. And I’m so happy that I got to take all of what I’ve been doing in these last 20 years and apply it in this album.”

Now that she’s had her first taste of life as a professional musician, Hudson is already thinking ahead to the next album—and beyond: “My biggest hope is that this can allow me to just continue to write music, and put more music out in the world.”

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