Peruse of the Pop charts may give fans a new reason to ask ‘Where You At’ to R&B belter Jennifer Hudson. The Dreamgirl, who seemingly saw her rise to fame happen overnight, has now found audiences sleeping on her material. But, to doubt Hudson’s celebrity would be ill as her star in other formats seems to burn as brightly as ever with endorsement deals and silver screen appearances showing without shortage. However, the platform that originally put the ‘Spotlight’ singer in the spotlight has found itself fading.
Fans first saw Hudson make her way through the ranks of American Idol with fellow belter Fantasia. The latter walked away with the crown, but Hudson (later) walked away with the gold. Her 2006 film debut in ‘Dreamgirls’, opposite Pop megastar Beyonce, and 2008 self titled debut album lifted the Idol alum to dizzying heights of decoration (Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy). But, as Hudson’s headlines fluctuated from chart toppers to personal tragedies and triumphs (that later led to an extended break from the public eye), every year of her absence still saw her active on the big screen but not Billboard (‘Sex and the City’, ‘Secret Life of Bees’, and ‘Fragments’). Of course, only leaving fans that much more anxious (and angry) for new material from the Chicagoan songbird.
3 years after her first tread on charts, the singer returned with ‘I Remember Me’ led by the ballad ‘Where You At’. With stiff competition from R&B comeback kid Chris Brown, Hudson’s promotional promenade left no stone unturned, hitting (what seemed like) every major hotspot available at the time. It seemed to pay off. With no single in sight on Billboard’s Hot 100 upper half, the singer still managed to move 165k her first week. However, fans quickly forgot ‘I Remember Me’. And with watch for its follow-up single ‘No One Gonna Love You’ fading due to everlasting press for the singer’s Weight Watching, ‘Remember Me’ was ironically minimized to a distant memory.
So, what is the problem? As Brandy, Mya, and many other R&B divas can attest, extended breaks in an ever-changing Pop landscape doesn’t lend many favors. But, many will argue Hudson’s entire package (look and sound) have improved since her debut effort. On the other hand, with Electro-Pop still being the dominating force in the industry, is there just not a place for R&B acts who curtail choreography and a troop of background dancers bumping to a beat? Or, though Hudson’s promo schedule saw no shortage of stops (even months after its release), was there just too much promotion of the wrong single? Material not up to scratch?
We want you to weigh in: Jennifer Hudson – Product or Promotion? What’s to blame?