Jennifer Hudson gave “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” listeners an advance listen to her sophomore album I Remember Me, arriving March 22. During her visit, the Grammy winner provided the back stories on several tracks including the upbeat “Angel” penned by Alicia Keys, the inspiring title track co-written with Ryan Tedder, Ne-Yo-penned “Why Is It So Hard,” Stargate-produced “I Got This” dedicated to her hometown of South Side Chicago, and the Mary J. Blige-inspired “No One Gonna Love You,” a favorite of her son’s.
But of all the tunes she previewed, she was most excited about recording the snapping, feel-good number “Everybody Needs Love” and disco-tinged “Don’t Look Down” with labelmate Alicia Keys. J-Hud couldn’t believe she was working with one of her idols.
“She actually had [all the songs] set aside and picked out for me, and I met with her and Swizz [Beatz] and she sat me down—both of them, actually—saying, ‘We want to create your sound and we’ve been watching you,'” she recalls. “I’m still in awe like, ‘Wow, I’m sitting here with Alicia Keys. She’s somebody I’ve always looked up to and aspired to be, and I’m sitting here working with Alicia Keys.'”