Kate Hudson Reveals Why She Was ‘Afraid’ to Pursue Music (Exclusive)

Kate Hudson is finally pursuing one of lifelong dreams: rock stardom.

On May 17 she’ll release her genre-blending debut album, Glorious, with songs as classic and effortlessly cool as Hudson herself.

“Music was my first love,” Hudson says in this week’s PEOPLE cover story. “It’s really a lifetime in the making.”

The songs are informed by the wisdom she’s collected throughout her life, from growing up in a Hollywood dynasty (she was raised by mom Goldie Hawn and her longtime love Kurt Russell) and living with her heart on her sleeve to rearing three children of her own (she’s mom to sons Ryder, 20, and Bingham, 12, and daughter Rani, 5).

Kate Hudson on the cover of PEOPLE.

Michael Schwartz

“I was like, ‘This is just a life well-loved,’ ” Hudson says of the record. “Through all of the highs and the lows, then all the stuff that comes with what it is to love a partner, your friends, your children . . . What a glorious thing to have so much love.”

Music has shaped Hudson’s life in more ways than one. She got her big break as an actress — and scored an Oscar nod — playing band groupie Penny Lane in writer-director Cameron Crowe’s 2000 drama Almost Famous.

“I think [he] connected with the fact that I loved music and saw that in me, but he really blew the lid open for so much music for me. I was 19, and he just filled me with all this great music that I’d never heard,” Hudson says. “That was the beginning of everything for me.”

By 2003 she had cemented her movie-star status with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and pressed pause on her musical aspirations.

“I became really sort of successful young. So going and making a record or pursuing music took a very far back seat to what was happening in my career at the time,” she says, “but I never lost sight of what I love.”

Two decades later Hudson finally decided to make her dream a reality.

Kate Hudson for PEOPLE.

Michael Schwartz

“I was like, ‘If I don’t do this, it’ll be a great regret,’ ” she says of a COVID lockdown epiphany. “Sticking to status quo is not how I’ve ever lived my life. I’ve always been fearless in the decisions I’ve made, whether it is in relationships or in career, but this was the one thing that I was so afraid of. It’s like I switched something in my brain, and I was like, ‘I’m just going to do it. F— it.’”

Hudson started writing “after I shot Glass Onion [in 2021]; the process has taken a long time,” Hudson says of the album, which features handclaps from daughter Rani. “I wanted it to feel perfect.”

Kate Hudson performing at the GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills in March 2024.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Hudson also worked with some pros — her own fiancé, musician Danny Fujikawa, and legendary singer-songwriter Linda Perry. The result: an impressive 12-song collection that displays Hudson’s range and eclectic taste. (At a May 5 Casa Cipriani show, she played Glorious tracks and a slew of covers — from Bonnie Raitt and Smokey Robinson to the War on Drugs and the Grateful Dead — for a star-studded crowd including A-list pals Leonardo DiCaprio, Stella McCartney and Zach Braff.)

“Kate should have led with music — she is such a rock star,” Perry adds of Hudson, who “reminds me of old rock and roll. We talked about making a record that Penny Lane would have made. I believe it was captured.”

Now, after pouring her heart and soul into her album, Hudson is starting this next chapter with confidence.

“When I was younger, it was harder to write more hopeful songs. Now I think I have a better understanding and connection to uplifting lyrics,” she says.

And while she has no plans to give up acting, “I’m just happy singing. I really am,” she adds, “even if it’s to a room of 20 people — I’m very happy there.”

For more on Kate Hudson, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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