Hudson sings way from church to stardom

Dec. 18, 2006 at 5:46 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls" Golden Globe nominee, says she got her singing start in a Baptist church in the roughest area of Chicago's South Side.

The New York Post reported Monday that the former "American Idol" contestant sang her way out of poverty and credits her singing talent to her late grandmother, Julia Kate Hudson, a gospel singer in the church choir.

"Dreamgirls" opened in limited release on Dec. 15, and also stars Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover and Anika Noni Rose.

Hudson's church singing launched her career. Hudson's cousin, Shari Nichols-Sweat, told the Post: "She brought people to tears when they heard her sing in church. From the age of 7, she would get requests to sing at family and friends' weddings and baptisms. She was always destined to be a professional singer."

Hudson continued her singing throughout grade school and in high school, the Post said. She would belt out songs while flipping burgers at the local Burger King.

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