Jennifer Kate Hudson was born in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 7, she got her start in performing by singing with the church choir and doing community theater with the help of her late maternal grandmother. She has said Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle are her biggest influences and inspiration.
Jennifer first gained the public's attention in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol. She made her film debut in the 2006 film "Dreamgirls" which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
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Hudson portrayed Effie White for the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls, which also starred Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles and Eddie Murphy. The role, originally created in a Broadway performance by Jennifer Holliday, marked Hudson's debut screen performance. She won the role over hundreds of professional singers and actresses.
Hudson garnered praise for her rendition of the hit song, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." The New York Observer described Hudson's performance of the song as, "five mellifluous, molto vibrato minutes that have suddenly catapulted Ms. Hudson... into the position of front-runner for the best supporting actress Oscar." Variety magazine wrote that Hudson's performance, "calls to mind debuts like Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl or Bette Midler in The Rose, with a voice like the young Aretha."
"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," was number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the January 13, 2007, issue. The Dreamgirls track became Hudson's first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart on February 24, 2007.
She won a Grammy Award for her debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 and certified gold by the RIAA with sales exceeding one million copies worldwide. the album included the hit single "Spotlight."
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