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With 'Glorious,' Kate Hudson fulfills her lifelong dream of making music


If you look back through the roles Kate Hudson has played in her career, you can find a handful of moments when her characters break out in song, like in the movie "Nine"...


KATE HUDSON: (As Stephanie, singing) Contini's Cinema Italiano - I love his Cinema Italiano.

SHAPIRO: ...Or on the TV show "Glee."


HUDSON: (As Cassandra July, singing) Come on, babe. Why don't we paint the town - and all that jazz?

SHAPIRO: The actress says music has always been her first love. And now, Kate Hudson is out with her first solo album. It's called "Glorious."


HUDSON: (Singing) Oh, there's gonna be a fire.


HUDSON: Aw, thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: What took you so long?

HUDSON: I was just too afraid. I was too afraid of the rejection. I was too afraid of the criticism. And then COVID happened - as for many people, I think, reevaluating your life, your art, the things that you love. And I just was like, if I don't make an album, it will be my great regret. So I just said, let's go. Let's do it.

SHAPIRO: And so are these songs that you started writing at that point, or are these some of the songs that you've been writing your whole life?

HUDSON: Honestly, most of them were brand-new, and then about three of them were songs that I had written before we started the writing process but were newer songs, like, kind of right out of the lockdown.


HUDSON: We really wrote most of the songs with Linda Perry. It was me, Danny Fujikawa - my partner, my fiance - and myself. And Linda was the one who really pushed me into the studio.


HUDSON: (Singing) 'Cause you're my goal line, I'll take you on a whoo-ooh (ph)...

SHAPIRO: It's funny because I listened to the album before I knew that Linda Perry was your co-writer. She's, of course, known for being the voice of the band 4 Non Blondes and has gone on to be a writer and producer. But the sound of this album, to me, is so consistent with that sort of completely unfettered vocal power, this rock empowerment that really, to me, feels like a legacy of that sound that she was known for.

HUDSON: Aw, I love that. Yeah. I mean, I can see that.


HUDSON: (Singing) I'm not tired.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Not tired.

HUDSON: (Singing) I want a hot wine.


HUDSON: (Singing) It's a warm night. I know what's good.

I also think Linda's pretty incredible as a songwriter - her structure ability and her whole sensibility. And I think we love the same music. So there were days where I'd come into the studio, and they'd just be like, well, what are you feeling? And the kinds of music that I love and she loves are so similar that we would just lean into it.

SHAPIRO: Tell us one of the things that came out of that - what are you feeling? - question.

HUDSON: We wrote "Glorious" in 10 minutes.


HUDSON: It literally just - it was like Linda got on the piano, and I hit that "Glorious" chorus - I came up with that chorus right away.


HUDSON: (Singing) It was glorious, the times it was the two of us.

SHAPIRO: Well, I wondered if you made it the title track so that people would constantly be saying the album is glorious.

HUDSON: (Laughter) For me, it's more the title and that song is really what the whole - all of the stories are about for me. It's, like, really about how glorious it is to love - and all of its chaos and, you know...

SHAPIRO: Well, and also not just romantic love, but there's parental love.

HUDSON: That's right.

SHAPIRO: And there are so many different forms of love, and I feel like different parts of the album touch on different versions of that.

HUDSON: Yeah. Oh, good I love that you - I'm so happy you feel that 'cause, yeah, that really is what it is. It's like love comes in so many different forms, and "Glorious" is a song about having to let go of somebody you love...


HUDSON: (Singing) Oh, and it was good enough just to know that it...

...And choosing to see the best of it.


HUDSON: (Singing) What we had may have grown apart, but our love - it is never far (ph).

SHAPIRO: Can we go back to you saying it took you this long to write an album because you were too afraid?


SHAPIRO: Because there's a way in which I think success can be empowering, but success can also be imprisoning because you become known for one thing that you're good at and people like. And it becomes all that more risky to do something that you're not known for, that you don't know whether you're good at, and you don't know whether people will like it.


SHAPIRO: Is that what you were afraid of? What was the fear?

HUDSON: You know, I've always been able to really sort of sit behind someone else's vision. And music, to me, is the most intimate part of myself. But I didn't have it in me. It's like the one thing for a very long time that was like, yeah, I could sing in someone else's movie. I could sing someone else's songs. I could do big-band singing. But to write, that's my love. You know, that's my heart.


HUDSON: (Singing) So run, run just as fast as you can. Don't look back...

SHAPIRO: Was there a lyric or a song that you thought, am I really going to put this in front of strangers, millions of people who I don't know, be this vulnerable to the world?

HUDSON: Not now. I mean, "Live Forever" was hard for me to sing because I couldn't get through it without crying.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about this song.

HUDSON: Well, "Live Forever" is about my son. It's really about being a young mom.


HUDSON: (Singing) Oh, I was just a little girl, dove deep into the world.

I was very young when I had Ryder. And he's been my witness in my life, like - and I didn't realize that until I said goodbye to him, and he lives across the country. And I realized that my whole adult life, I had this incredible, you know, soulmate of my child with me that was with me through all of my stuff, my mistakes, the bigs, the lows. And then he was gone. And we both grew up.


HUDSON: (Singing) You will walk off on your own down those streets that you call home. And I'll watch in wistful wonder.

SHAPIRO: You wrote the song for and about him. Have you ever sung it to him?

HUDSON: (Laughter) No. No, not yet. But don't think I don't think about that all the time.

SHAPIRO: Really?

HUDSON: I'm like, oh...

SHAPIRO: What do you picture when you think about it?

HUDSON: Well, now that I've had to sing it a couple times, and it's in me, I think it'll be easier when he's in an audience. But it'll probably be hard.


HUDSON: You know?

SHAPIRO: Even if he's one of thousands of people in a stadium.

HUDSON: (Laughter) Exactly. Just seeing his face, you know?


SHAPIRO: I'm curious how your creative pursuits inform each other. Does writing music make you a better actor? Does acting make you a better musician?

HUDSON: I don't know. I - what I do know is that a lot of people on the outside always say, God, actors always want to be musicians, and musicians always want to be actors. And I'm always like, I think you got this backwards. I think from the beginning of time, people who love to be on stage love to sing and dance and act.


HUDSON: And art in music and in theater are very similar.

SHAPIRO: It's all connecting with an audience. It's all storytelling.

HUDSON: It's all storytelling. And so I think it's a very seamless connection.


HUDSON: (Singing) Let them go now. Tell me...

SHAPIRO: Well, Kate Hudson, congratulations on your debut solo album.

HUDSON: Aw, thank you for taking the time to listen. And, like, talking about it like this is so much - I can't even tell you how it fills me up.

SHAPIRO: It's really lovely to talk with you about it. Thanks a lot.

HUDSON: Thank you.

SHAPIRO: The album is "Glorious."


HUDSON: (Singing) Talk about love (ph)... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Alejandra Marquez Janse
Alejandra Marquez Janse is a producer for NPR's evening news program All Things Considered. She was part of a team that traveled to Uvalde, Texas, months after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary to cover its impact on the community. She also helped script and produce NPR's first bilingual special coverage of the State of the Union – broadcast in Spanish and English.
Tinbete Ermyas
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.