Benjamin Hudson McIldowie (born 26 June 1979), better known by his stage name Mr Hudson, is a British recording artist, songwriter and producer from Birmingham, England. Hudson embarked on his music career when he formed the Library, composed of Maps Huxley (bass), Wilkie Wilkinson (drums), Joy Joseph (steel drums, vocals) and Torville Jones (piano). The first result, an EP entitled Bread & Roses, came out via Deal Real in October 2006. The group toured with Amy Winehouse in early 2007 in support of its debut album, A Tale of Two Cities, released through Deal Real/Mercury. In 2008, Hudson signed a solo record deal with American rapper Kanye West's GOOD Music label and subsequently began working on his solo debut album. He was also a prominent composer on West's 2008 album, 808s & Heartbreak.
Mr Hudson released Straight No Chaser, in 2009, spawning the hit single "Supernova", which features a verse from Kanye West. In early 2010, Mr Hudson was featured on Jay-Z's Top 10 single "Young Forever", from the album The Blueprint 3. 2011 and 2012 saw Mr Hudson set up his own studio and start writing and producing for other acts such as Josh Kumra, Wretch 32, Eliza Doolittle and Sway. He also began a collaboration with Rosie Oddie called BIGkids, for which he co-wrote and produced the album Never Grow Up, released in October 2012. He is currently writing his third album, having released the single "Fred Astaire" in August 2013.
Born in Birmingham, Hudson grew up in the Handsworth area of the city (Dudley Road) and attended King Edward's School, Birmingham in Edgbaston. He attended Oxford University, where he read English Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford. He embarked on a brief teaching career in 2002, which is where the moniker 'Mr Hudson' is derived from.
Life and career:
2007-08: A Tale of Two Cities:
One of his first appearances was on JUMPOFF producer battles in 2001. Mr Hudson was first featured on Later with Jools Holland on 8 December 2006. Later with Jools Holland, the band's debut LP, titled A Tale of Two Cities, was released in 2007 and received national airplay on Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 shows.
The production on the band's debut album uses acoustic guitar interspersed with piano, backing vocals and bass guitar, steelpan, electric drums and unusual rhythm patterns. Two of the tracks from A Tale of Two Cities are covers; "On The Street Where You Live", is a cover of a number from the musical My Fair Lady and "Everything Happens to Me" was popularised by Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker.
In 2007, Mr Hudson and The Library embarked on a tour through twelve British libraries as part of the 'Get It Loud' initiative, and also supported Amy Winehouse on her tour, along with Paolo Nutini, Mika and Groove Armada. During the summer of 2007 they appeared at several UK festivals, including Glastonbury, T in the Park, The Big Chill, V Festival, Godiva Festival, and Bestival. In October 2007, the band played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in support of The Police. They also supported Kanye West on his Europe leg of his Glow in the Dark Tour, performing in Dublin, Belfast and other European cities.
In 2008, Mr Hudson began recording as a solo artist. Although the name 'The Library' was no longer used, these musicians formed his backing band for live performances.
2009-2010: Straight No Chaser:
Sessions for Straight No Chaser initially started at Gizzard Studios in Bow, East London. Ed Deegan who had previously worked at Toe Rag Studios near by was acting as engineer, but Mr Hudson received an offer from Kanye West to produce his album. Mr Hudson is featured on Paranoid on Kanye West's fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak. He also co-produced "Street Lights" as well as supplying additional vocals on "Say You Will" and "Amazing". Kanye West has stated: "I believe Mr Hudson has the potential to be bigger than me, to be one of the most important artists of his generation". The single Supernova was premiered on 13 May 2009 on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show and then released on 19 July 2009. It debuted at Number 2 in the UK singles chart on 26 July 2009. Calvin Harris remixed the track.
Mr Hudson's new album - Straight No Chaser was released on 4 August 2009 (via GOOD Music and Mercury Records), executive produced by Kanye West. "I wanted to make a mainstream record, not structured or ornate," he explains. "The first album feels like an Escher drawing, all these layers and you don't know where you're going at any point. The way the songs are written and produced on this one is much more direct. It's not trying to reinvent the wheel. It's straight, no chaser."10
In an interview, singer Ben Hudson was asked to describe the album: "My mission statement was to make a pop record, but not a throwaway pop record. My heroes are people like Bowie and Prince and Damon Albarn. I didn't want to do anything niche. Kanye threw down the gauntlet. He said, 'Let's see if we can make you a popstar'. I was like 'Let's have a go!'. It's a bit more widescreen, a bit more punchy, but the eclecticism of the first record's still there. There's a tune where I'm a cross between Deliverance and Sade".
In the autumn of 2009 Mr Hudson supported Calvin Harris on his UK tour. Mr Hudson's headline tour to support the album Straight No Chaser was in October 2009. Before the year was out, Hudson made a featured appearance on Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, the track, "Young Forever", was a reworking of Alphaville's 1984 song "Forever Young". In May 2010 Mr Hudson embarked on a sold out national UK tour, with supporting Jay Z in Birmingham & Manchester arena shows plus Isle of Wight & Wireless festivals.
In 2010, Mr Hudson collaborated with British dubstep artist Caspa on the track "Love Never Dies (Back for the First Time)", which is a new version of a previous Caspa track known simply as "Back for the First Time". Rapper Nero appeared on the remix. On 29 July it was named by BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe as his Hottest Record in the World Today.
Straight, No Chaser (with a comma) is a jazz standard composed by Thelonious Monk.
Mr Hudson featured on Jay-Z and Kanye West's album Watch the Throne, appearing on "Why I Love You". He has also worked on writing and producing tracks for Josh Kumra, "Hand Of Cards" for The Voice runner up Tyler James on his album A Place I Go and later on the UK top ten single "Charge" by Sway.
2011 and 2012 saw Mr Hudson write and collaborate with a range of different Artists and release an album with Rosie Oddie under the name BIGkids. The first single from their debut album, Never Grow Up, was "Heart Sing", released on 12 August 2012. The album was released 7 October 2012.
2013-present: Third album:
In March 2013, Mr Hudson debuted the new single "Fred Astaire" via Soundcloud. "Fred Astaire" would later be released as a commercial single in August of the same year, with accompanying video directed by prominent English portrait and fashion photographer Rankin and photographer Vicky Lawton.
He is now finishing work on his, as yet untitled, second solo album. He said: "It feels like a comeback with a small 'c'. I don't feel like I've ever been away, but obviously if you're not out there, with that A-list single on Radio 1, then maybe for the vast majority of people you are -- for all intents and purposes -- dead. I mean, the Twitter comments you get, 'Are you dead?' And you think, well if I am who are you tweeting? But it's great to be putting music out. It's great to have another record out and to be gearing up for the album."
In November, Epic Records recording artist Future released the track Real and True featuring Miley Cyrus & Mr Hudson in the USA. The track was co written by Mr Hudson with the video shot by photographer Rankin.
On 4 December 2013 saw Mr Hudson release a new track titled Move with Rankin shooting the video exclusively for Hunger TV., and also saw the release of Rebecca Ferguson's album entitled Freedom with the track ''Beautiful Design'' which Mr Hudson co wrote & produced.
Since April 2014, Hudson has been spotted in a London studio with Duran Duran, currently working on their new album
In May 2014 Mr Hudson released his latest single Step Into The Shadows featuring Idris Elba
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