What’ve You Got?


Shameless and unrepentant plug: Jennifer Hudson “gets it.”

In her industry memoir/Weight Watchers booster, “I Got This,” the dynamic, soulful singer ironically ends up reaching a goal every time she dismisses a person or idea with the catch-phrase, “Whatever!” Seems like she doesn’t really get it. But “whatever” is just an assertion that she must be the one to choose “it:” the song, the health program, the perspective.

The second half of Hudson’s story reveals what happens when she embraces Weight Watchers and “gets this” concept of self-awareness and portion control regarding food. Her weight and health and a deeper form of self-respect begin to take shape.

The first half of the narrative, however, focuses on the stunning tale of how a young woman from Chicago learned to share her voice with the world and face the reality that the music business is an image-conscious one. Hudson’s got the voice, despite the American Idol rejection, and despite the struggles with weight and the public’s preoccupation with “a look.”  That voice is a gift — one that many amateur singer/songwriters like me will never have.

Yet, we’ve all “got” something.

Reading “I’ve Got This” underscores the awareness that, for me, the songwriting is what it’s about. I’ve “got this” compulsion to express myself verbally. Somehow, playing around on the guitar elicits catchy chord progressions that can be turned into song.

So when my producer, Ron Gletherow, flattered me by asking to cover a song of mine, I said what any self-respecting songwriter would say to a close friend and talented singer/songwriter/producer like Ron. “Do it.”

As we embark on my third CD, something more than an end-product is in sight. The journey of crafting my raw tunes, weeding out the weak ones, listening to a pro like Ron with the instincts to perfect my sound — this is what it’s about.

We’ve got this: We get this.

As part of my journey, Hudson’s book has inspired me to read more autobiography, memoir, and biography from singer/songwriters. Learn from the paths already taken.

Hudson has more than a voice. She’s got the attitude, the heart and the head for music, and acting, which a singer needs to tell a story. She is a fine writer, too, whose natural voice uplifts and inspires. And through Weight Watchers, she does an even better job than she otherwise would of taking care of herself.

Ingredients for a fulfilled life.

So think for a minute: What is it you’ve “got”? What inspires you to keep nurturing it? And who “gets” you?

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