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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Music > Feature Interviews F to J > Sarah Hudson

Sarah Hudson

Girl on the Verge

by Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted: June 23, 2004.

Everybody wants to know about Sarah Hudson's family.  Her father, Mark Hudson, along with her uncles, made up the Hudson Brothers, the 70s pop group and TV variety show hosts.  Her cousin is movie star Kate Hudson, who is featured in many movies including Almost Famous and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

These connections can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.  Sarah Hudson always felt a little out of sorts with her surroundings.  She grew up in the notoriously fast world of Hollywood.  By day, she attended an all-girl Catholic school.  By night, she was partying, going to rock shows and dying her hair funky colors.  Drugs, sex and excess were everywhere.  As a sensitive girl with an artistic bent, it seemed only natural to her to turn her experiences into art.  

On her debut album, Naked Truth, Hudson explores teen angst in startlingly frank terms.  Just take a gander at some of the raw lyrics from the album's title track. 

"You can hate me but what do I care?  Everything from the tattoo on my wrist to the color of my hair.  You create it like a seed in the ground.  You watered me down with anorexic superheroes and prozac popping clowns.  I've already slept with the captain of the football team.  It was lame.  I've already kissed a girl on ecstacy.  It's all the same.  And I already forgive you Mom and Dad, but how could you know anyway?"

Pretty edgy stuff.  The album touchingly explores her sometimes-rocky-but-basically-solid relationship with her parents, along with her hopes, dreams and nightmares.  It is a very assured musical statement for a new artist.  Perhaps some of that ability came from being exposed to her family.  And the wheel goes round and round.

In the weeks leading up to the release of the album, Hudson chatted with us about her life, her record and... oh yeah... her family.

How did you first get into music? 

“I come from a musical family.  My dad was in a group in the 70s, The Hudson Brothers.  Now he’s a songwriter and producer.  So, I just kind of grew up with music and it was something I always knew I wanted to do.”

Yes, your father and uncles were in music and on TV and your cousin is a movie star.  Do you think that kind of environment fostered your need to be an artist?

“Totally.  I think it could have gone either way.  I could have not wanted to have any part of it.  Or, I kind of had no choice.  It’s just in my blood.  It’s what I’m passionate about.  So, it was definitely a support system.  My whole family is very supportive and encouraging.  When I told my parents that I didn’t want to go to college, that I wanted to do music, they were like, ‘that’s what we expected.’”   

It says in your bio that you got your inspiration for writing many of your songs going to an all-girl Catholic school.  How did that affect you?

“Yes, definitely.  Well, growing up in LA, things are kind of thrust in front of you.  You’re almost forced to grow up pretty fast, with experiences and stuff.  Going to that school there were a lot of rich girls, a lot of partying, a lot of wild things.  You’re put in this environment where you’re forced to wear a uniform.  It was all girls, so you rebel naturally, I think.  I don’t know, I just kind of got inspiration from every day living and going to school.” 

There are some very edgy lyrics on the album, about suicide, alienation, drugs and sexual experimentation.  When you are writing, are you looking to be provocative?

“It kind of just comes naturally.  It comes out of me.  At the same time, my intention was I definitely wanted to poke at different areas.  Be controversial lyrically.  Because I think that’s what has always made me interested in an artist or inspired.  When you say, ‘wait, what did they just say?’  I think that everybody experiences intense things growing up.  A lot of times it is looked over.  I think it’s important to express that.” 

Do you worry that some people will say you're a Hollywood kid.  How tough could your life be?

“Right.  Definitely.  And I think that people judge very quickly if you have famous relatives.  If you grew up in that kind of show business environment.  It’s very easy to say, oh, ‘she’s got it easy’ or ‘she’s not really talented’ or anything like that.  But I feel confident enough that I can prove myself and it’s just what’s inside of me.  There’s no reason that I’m doing what I’m doing, other than it’s just in my heart and in my blood.”

How did you get hooked up with your record label?

“I had managers at the time.  I did showcases for different labels’ A&R.  Joanna Ifrah, who is my A&R person, she signed me.  We’ve been going on this journey together.  She made an amazing record of me.  She really encouraged me to dig deep and keep writing until I felt confident in a song.”  

One nice thing about the album is that you experiment with a lot of styles.  “Girl on the Verge” is a rocker.  “Unlove You” is a power ballad.  “Naked Truth” has a bit of a folk feel.  “Little” feels a bit psychedelic in the beginning.  “Sentimental Saturday” is more poppy.  “Bad Habit” even has a bit of a bossa nova backbeat.  Were you looking to experiment with styles on the album?

“Yeah, definitely.  I’ve always been a lover of pop music.  Madonna and Prince and George Michael.  That’s what I grew up with when I was a kid.  So I’ve always loved pop music.  But, at the same time, I’ve always loved rock and roll.  There are so many different styles I could see myself doing.  More rock, more pop, dancy.  So, I really had to find a common balance.  Hone it all in and really write in one certain way.  I feel like I found that balance on this album.  It probably has elements of everything, but it’s similar sonically.”

One thing I really like about the album is that you recognize the importance of a tune.  So many bands think it’s a sellout to have a tune anymore.  Why do you think pop song craft is making a comeback?

“I think about it like Diana Ross and the Supremes or Otis Redding.  Those kind of songs, that kind of music.  Even Elvis and the Beatles.  That was great pop music.  You walk away and you remember those songs.  You remember the chorus in your head.  That is what has inspired so many people.  It’s always at the root of music.  It’s always where music is going to come back to.  It’ll go through its phases, the whole heavy metal phase and stuff.  But it always seems to come back to that more melodic songwriting.”

What’s going to be the album’s single?

“We’re going in January with ‘Naked Truth.’  Right now ‘Girl on the Verge’ we’re kind of soliciting.  We’re trying to get it out there in movies and DVD kind of things.  It’s a big part of the live show.”

How did you get involved with the Rock the Vote tour?

Who are some of the new artists you’ve been listening to?

You were featured on the show Frontline with your father.  What was that like?

“Yeah, and Alfre Woodard.  That’s so funny.”

In the end, how would you like people to see your music?

Are there any misconceptions you'd like to clear up?

“Not really.  I guess if I had to say something it would be the whole ‘she’s related to whoever, that’s the reason that she’s doing this or getting attention.’  But not really.  I kind of thrive on that stuff, too.  It gives you more incentive.”

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Photo Credits:
#1 © 2004 Courtesy of S-Curve Records.
#2 © 2004 Courtesy of S-Curve Records.
#3 © 2004 Courtesy of S-Curve Records.

Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted: June 23, 2004.

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Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted: June 23, 2004.