Jennifer Hudson is an Oscar winning actress with the voice of a true diva. This American Idol cast-off’s career has taken off over the past few years to great heights. In her latest venture, Hudson co-stars in the upcoming film “The Secret Life of Bees” where she plays the part of Rosaleen, a young black woman living on a peach farm in the south during the volatile sixties hired to care for Lily Owens; a young white girl with an abusive father whose mother died tragically when she was a child. Rosaleen is Lily’s surrogate mother and dearest friend and when the two take the monumental yet dangerous step of trying to register Rosaleen to vote, they find themselves in a world of trouble and are forced to go on the run.
I sat down with Jennifer to chat about her role as Rosaleen and how it has impacted her life today as a young, successful African American woman; where she keeps her Oscar and I even got a peek at her gorgeous engagement ring…its ginormous!
So how does a kid from Reston, Va hit it big as a Record producer? Just ask Benny Blanco. This twenty year old Reston native sat down with me for a quirky, hilarious and slightly risque phone call to chat about breaking into the music business as a producer and working with artists from Kylie Minogue and that girl kissin’ sensation Katy Perry to finagling his way into combining Spank Rock with 2 Live Crew. He also talks about what a major influence the late Disco D had on launch of his career.
Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with Billboard chart topper and rising star Colby O’Donis. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, his latest single “What You Got” featuring Akon, should clarify things for you. This talented quadruple threat (singer, songwriter, dancer and producer) is more than just another studio manufactured teen sensation. While Colby is a young guy, he’s also a very talented musician with a solid plan for the future, not to mention making a deep impression in the music industry by teaming with some of the hottest acts out there. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the interview below and run over to his MySpace (www.myspace.com/colbyo) page and judge for yourself. You wont be disappointed!
EM: So tell me your story. How did you get to where you are? How do you go from a talented kid wanting to be an entertainer to a singer, songwriter and producer making music with Akon?
CO: I started professionally when I was nine and I got signed to Full Force who worked with Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam to N’SYNC to Britney Spears to Usher to Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez…I mean they work with so many artists. Then I got signed to sing on the Stuart Little soundtrack. Before I actually got signed to Akon I had six independent albums that I did on my own so I’ve been at it for a long time. You know I’ve actually been signed to Akon for a little bit over three years now so you know I’m just starting to come out now. It’s a blessing! We’re really excited about it.
EM: Your song “What You Got” is a really hot track right now. Do you have a fully album coming out anytime soon?
CO: Yes. The albums coming out September 16th and the features on the album are gonna be great. It’s gonna be…we got Akon of course, Paul Wahl is on the album, Lil’ Romeo is on the album.
EM: Wow, it sounds like you’ve got it pretty loaded up!
CO: Yeah, oh yeah, definitely going to be an amazing album. We’re really excited about all of this.
EM: It sounds like you’re pretty much snagging all of the heavy hitters right off the bat. Is there anybody you’re looking forward to working with in the future?
EM: Ludacris? Is that the number one?
CO: Oh yeah. I tried to get him on this album but he was actually filming a movie so he wasn’t in the states so he couldn’t get to the studio to do it but next album for sure.
EM: So what music has influenced you over the years? What are you listening to?
CO: I definitely listen to Akon, Usher, Justin Timberlake…a lot of talented people, musically influenced music definitely a great inspiration drives me in what I’m doing right now.
EM: You’re a producer as well. Would you consider producing for somebody else? Have you produced anybody else?
CO: Oh yeah, definitely. I’m doing a lot of stuff with Akon right now we’re working on some big projects together. I wrote 14 of the 15 songs on my album so I’ve been at it and I produced a lot of songs too and I mixed a lot of songs also so I’m excited about this album to show people what I can do.
EM: Don’t you have another single coming out?
CO: Yeah, the second single is called “Don’t Turn Back”. Pretty much it’s about this beautiful girl that’s working a nine to five job and her boss treats her like crap and I’m pretty much telling her to quit the nine to five, let me take care of all the financial needs, take care of all the money issues and let her chase her dream and enjoy life because I don’t think someone as beautiful as her should be breaking her back working.
EM: That sounds wonderful to me! Sounds like an awesome song and I can’t wait to hear it.
CO: It’s actually on my Myspace (www.myspace.com/colbyo). You can check it out!
For more on Colby’s latest tracks check out www.colbyodonis.com or go to iTunes to download his latest single “Don’t Turn Back”.
In this day and age of MySpace, YouTube, and iPod commercials pimping the latest track it’s pretty rare to hear new music on the radio that I get too excited about…until three weeks ago when I was driving home from work and turned to Hot 99.5 with this kick ass song playing. It was “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry. The DJ introed it by saying we should be on the look out for Katy and that she got mad love from Madonna. I loved the song instantly and when I got home went online to hear more and sure enough not only was Madonna, Queen of pop music, endorsing her and singing Katy’s praises but the rest of her tracks were just as good.
“One of the Boys” features hits like “I Kiss a Girl” and “UR So Gay” both climbing the charts and making a splash online and over the airwaves. The album has a good mix of fun, defiant rock, pop and punk-tronic beats with splash of style due in part to Katy’s killer pipes and the other part from her love of vintage 40’s clothes. I believe what you wear can influence ever aspect of your life so the clothes definitely make this woman. “One of the Boys” is now available so check it out in all the usual online spots and definitely check out her website www.katyperry.com. She’s got a blog section with crazy video blogs that will keep you coming back for more. From her personal entries on the road to her crazy fans, you’ll be completely entertained. Katy’s currently performing with the Warped Tour through August so get up off your ass and grab some tickets!