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Jennifer Hudson only started singing with eyes open at age 19

Written by on November 1, 2022

Jennifer Hudson “broke her fear” of singing with her eyes open at the age of 19.

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday, the superstar recalled how she used to struggle with stage fright.

“My first solo was at seven, but I did not start singing with my eyes open until I was 19. I had stage fright. I would beg for a solo in church (but go onstage with my eyes closed),” she said. “I can’t look at people when I’m acting, I look at the floor.”

Despite her anxiety, Jennifer made a breakthrough in her performance ability around the time she auditioned for the third season of American Idol in 2004.

She ended up placing seventh in the singing competition series but went on to land the role of Effie White in the 2006 musical Dreamgirls, for which she won an Oscar.

“When I was 19, that’s when I started singing with my eyes open,” the 41-year-old explained. “That one minute when I closed my eyes, everybody was like, ‘Jennifer can’t sing,’ and then when I opened my eyes I looked up and everybody was giving me a standing ovation. After that, that broke that fear.”

Jennifer also made a distinction between singing and performing.

“When you perform, you’re exuding energy out. You’re connecting with people and the audience. But with singing, at least singing in church, for me, is more internal. It’s more introverted. It’s all about the energy. I don’t consider myself as a performer, I’m a singer,” she added.

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