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Mr Hudson performing at Lovebox Weekender in London, 2009
|Birth name||Benjamin Hudson|
|Also known as||Mr Hudson and the Library, BIGkids|
|Born||26 June 1979|
|Origin||Birmingham, England, UK|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Labels||Mercury Records, GOOD Music, Universal Music Group|
|Associated acts||Jay-Z, Kanye West, Joy Joseph|
His debut album with band The Library, in 2007, titled A Tale of Two Cities, features the single "Too Late, Too Late". In 2008 Mr Hudson signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label and began work on his second album. He was also featured on West’s 2008 album, 808s & Heartbreak, as co-producer on the track "Streetlight" and featured vocals on "Paranoid".
Mr Hudson dropped the band moniker of The Library for his second album Straight No Chaser in 2009, spawning the Number 2 single "Supernova" featuring Kanye West. In early 2010 Mr Hudson featured on Jay-Z’s top 10 single "Young Forever" from the album The Blueprint 3 & also features on the track "Why I Love You" from West & Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne album.
He also began a collaboration with Rosie Oddie called BIGkids for which he co-wrote and produced the album Never Grow Up released in October 2012. He is currently writing the third Mr Hudson album, having released the single "Fred Astaire" in August 2013.
Born in Birmingham, Hudson grew up in the Handsworth area of the city (Dudley Road) and attended King Edward's School, Birmingham in Edgbaston. He attended Oxford University, where he read English Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford.
Life and career
2007–08: A Tale of Two Cities
One of his first appearances was on JUMPOFF producer battleks in 2001. Mr Hudson first came to prominence after being featured on Later with Jools Holland on 8 December 2006. Later with Jools Holland, the band's debut LP, titled A Tale of Two Cities, was released in 2007 to strong reviews and received national airplay on Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 shows.
The production on the band's debut album uses acoustic guitar interspersed with piano, backing vocals and bass guitar, steelpan, electric drums and unusual rhythm patterns. Two of the tracks from A Tale of Two Cities are covers; "On The Street Where You Live", is a cover of a number from the musical My Fair Lady and "Everything Happens to Me" was popularised by Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker.
In 2007, Mr Hudson and The Library embarked on a tour through twelve British libraries as part of the 'Get It Loud' initiative, and also supported Amy Winehouse on her tour, along with Paolo Nutini, Mika and Groove Armada. During the summer of 2007 they appeared at several UK festivals, such as Glastonbury, T in the Park, The Big Chill, V Festival, Godiva Festival, and Bestival. In October 2007, the band played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in support of The Police. They also supported Kanye West on his Europe leg of his Glow in the Dark Tour, performing in Dublin, Belfast and other European cities.
In 2008, Mr Hudson began recording as a solo artist. Although the name 'The Library' was no longer used, these musicians formed his backing band for live performances. On 11 November 2008, "There Will Be Tears" was given its first UK radio airplay on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show as 'The Hottest Record in the World Right Now'.
2009–2010: Straight No Chaser
Sessions for Straight No Chaser initially started at Gizzard Studios in Bow, East London. Ed Deegan who had previously worked at Toe Rag Studios near by was acting as engineer, but Mr Hudson received an offer from Kanye West to produce his album. Mr Hudson is featured on Paranoid on Kanye West's fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak. He also co-produced "Street Lights" as well as supplying additional vocals on "Say You Will" and "Amazing". Kanye West has stated: "I believe Mr Hudson has the potential to be bigger than me, to be one of the most important artists of his generation". The single Supernova was premiered on 13 May 2009 on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show and then released on 19 July 2009. It debuted at Number 2 in the UK singles chart on 26 July 2009. Calvin Harris remixed the track.
Mr Hudson's new album – Straight No Chaser was released on 4 August 2009 (via GOOD Music and Mercury Records), executive produced by Kanye West. "I wanted to make a mainstream record, not structured or ornate," he explains. "The first album feels like an Escher drawing, all these layers and you don't know where you're going at any point. The way the songs are written and produced on this one is much more direct. It's not trying to reinvent the wheel. It's straight, no chaser."
In an interview, singer Ben Hudson was asked to describe the album: "My mission statement was to make a pop record, but not a throwaway pop record. My heroes are people like Bowie and Prince and Damon Albarn. I didn't want to do anything niche. Kanye threw down the gauntlet. He said, 'Let's see if we can make you a popstar'. I was like 'Let's have a go!'. It's a bit more widescreen, a bit more punchy, but the eclecticism of the first record's still there. There's a tune where I'm a cross between Deliverance and Sade".
In the autumn of 2009 Mr Hudson supported Calvin Harris on his UK tour. Mr Hudson’s headline tour to support the album Straight No Chaser was in October 2009. Before the year was out, Hudson made a featured appearance on Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, the track, "Young Forever", was a reworking of Alphaville's 1984 song "Forever Young". In May 2010 Mr Hudson embarked on a sold out national UK tour, with supporting Jay Z in Birmingham & Manchester arena shows plus Isle of Wight & Wireless festivals.
In 2010, Mr Hudson collaborated with British dubstep artist Caspa on the track "Love Never Dies (Back for the First Time)", which is a new version of a previous Caspa track known simply as "Back for the First Time". Rapper Nero appeared on the remix. On 29 July it was named by BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe as his Hottest Record in the World Today.
Mr Hudson featured on Jay-Z and Kanye West's album Watch the Throne, appearing on "Why I Love You". He has also worked on writing and producing tracks for Josh Kumra, "Hand Of Cards" for The Voice runner up Tyler James on his album A Place I Go and later on the UK top ten single "Charge" by Sway.
2011 and 2012 saw Mr Hudson write and collaborate with a range of different Artists and release an album with Rosie Oddie under the name BIGkids. The first single from their debut album, Never Grow Up, was "Heart Sing", released on 12 August 2012. The album was released 7 October 2012.
In March 2013 Mr Hudson debuted the new single "Fred Astaire" via Soundcloud. "Fred Astaire" would later be released as a commercial single in August of the same year, with accompanying video directed by prominent English portrait and fashion photographer Rankin and photographer Vicky Lawton.
He is now finishing work on his, as yet untitled, second solo album. He said: “It feels like a comeback with a small ‘c’. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been away, but obviously if you’re not out there, with that A-list single on Radio 1, then maybe for the vast majority of people you are — for all intents and purposes — dead. I mean, the Twitter comments you get, ‘Are you dead?’ And you think, well if I am who are you tweeting?“ But it’s great to be putting music out. It’s great to have another record out and to be gearing up for the album.”
In November, Epic Records recording artist Future released the track Real and True featuring Miley Cyrus & Mr Hudson in the USA. The track was co written by Mr Hudson with the video shot by world renowned photographer Rankin.
- A Tale of Two Cities (2007) (as Mr Hudson & The Library)
- Straight No Chaser (2009)
- Never Grow Up (2012) (as BIGkids)
Awards and nominations
- Q Awards 2009
- Q awards – Best Breakthrougth Act – Won
- MOBO Awards 2009
- Best UK Act – Nominated
- Best Video "Supernova" – Nominated
- UMA Awards UK & France 2009
- Best Collaboration ft Kanye West – "Supernova" – Nominated
- Best Newcomer – Nominated
- Best R&B Act – Nominated
- MOBO Awards 2010
- Best Song "Playing with Fire" – Won
- AllMusic.com, Straight No Chaser
- Spin.com, Track by Track: 'Watch the Throne' Pt. 2
- plusspecialguests.co.uk, Interview With Josh Kumra
- digitalspy.com, Interview With Big Kids
- Mr Hudson: Fred Astaire. 10th July 2013. Retrieved 19th August 2013
- Thrills, Adrian (23 July 2009). "Play that funky music, white boy: Mr Hudson aiming for the top spot". Daily Mail (London).
- Wessex Scene Online, Interview with Mr Hudson and the Library
- Reid, Rasheem (24 November 2008). "Kanye West says Mr Hudson 'Could be bigger than me'". MTV (media). Retrieved 24 November 2008.
- Published Monday, 12 Oct 2009, 06:24 BST (12 October 2009). "Mr Hudson – Music Interview". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Zane Lowe. "Zane Lowe's Hottest Records blog: Caspa ft. Mr Hudson – Love Never Dies (Back For The First Time)". BBC. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Copsey, Robert. "Josh Kumra debuts 'Helicopters & Planes' music video". Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- "A Place I Go". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Copsey, Robert. "Sway, Mr Hudson unveil 'Charge' music video". Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Huynh, Davis. Mr. Hudson – Fred Astaire. 10th July 2013. Retrieved 19th August 2013
- Fred Astaire - Single. Retrieved 18th August 2013
- Foster, Alistair. Mr Hudson’s back ... and he’d like to work with the Queen. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Future Premieres 'Real And True' Video Ft. Miley Cyrus Read more at http://www.mtv.co.uk/news/future/395050-future-premieres-real-and-true-video-ft-miley-cyrus#4VIZTYf2dpZoeVf1.99". MTV Networks. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "BEHIND THE SCENES: MR HUDSON – MOVE". Hunger TV. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Freedom to revamp: Rebecca Ferguson performs new single on Paul O'Grady Show in high fashion sci-fi print dress". Associated Newspapers Ltd (Daily Mail). Retrieved 4 December 2013.
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