LS: Too many cooks spoil the soup. Lenny was a nice guy, but he was hearing from too many people. We were the last people that he trusted. So we were really frustrated at the end—especially me as a vocalist. I'm all over the place. I'm truly a soul singer, but that never came across. We'd get to the mixing stage and I'd get lost. My voice always sounded thinned out.
What about the single "Too Hot," which you released in 1982?
That was one instance in which Prism said, “Go ahead.” We told them we needed an R&B song. People who heard us perform loved the group; but the records up to that point didn't reflect our energy on stage. Aretha had that problem when she started recording. They put her through all different kinds of stages, but could never capture her real essence. When they finally decided to put her at the piano and let her do her thing, that's when she came to be the Aretha that we know.
Your son, Eric Hudson, has become an in-demand songwriter and producer, working on hit records with the likes of Mary J. Blige. Trey Songz, and Jamie Foxx. Based on your experiences in the business, were you hesitant about him getting involved?
LS He started playing drums at two years of age. At six months old, when he was still in a walker, I remember him walking up to his dad playing the guitar. He started strumming it in perfect 4/4 time. So, he came out musically inclined. God blessed him with a tremendous talent.
CH: I never tried to hide anything about the business from him. I always knew he was going to be a musician. So, I talked to him about the business—told him the good and bad experiences; that it's a business first. No one really cares about you as a person. You have to understand that first if you're going to get into it. When he graduated from high school and was ready to do his music, he said, "Give me a shot. If I don't do it within a year, I'll go right into college." I said, "If you're gonna do it right, set your companies up and make sure you line up your lawyers." So, he was able to benefit from the knowledge I had and the mistakes we made over the years. I was not going to allow anybody to come in and take over his publishing.
You have to be a part of the whole mechanism and decide what you want out of your career—what you're willing to do and not do. If you practice and develop your career as a musician, there's a certain amount of integrity that comes with that. How much do you want to sell out to make money? Once you get those boundaries set, you can deal with it without all that other stress that's gonna come up on top of that. A lot of artists, once they get out there and get the fame, find out that it's not really the world they thought it was, and they can't deal with that pressure.