The Red Bull Music Academy's talented Mr Hudson

With Red Bull Music Academy taking over London this month, one former participant explains how it took him from the job centre to laying tracks in Hawaii with Kanye West...

The man stopping by the beach each morning is new on the island. Oahu, Hawaii, one of the world’s most remote destinations, has long been an escape for tanned beach bums from mainland USA and they’re a part of the landscape now. But this man looks different. He’s native to another small island - Great Britain - and his pale complexion accentuated by a shock of peroxide white hair are a dead giveaway.

But it’s not just the islanders and surf dudes who look at this guy funny. This man makes a habit of turning up at places he doesn’t quite belong. In fact, he’s made a career out of it. A musician, he remembers his introduction to that world like some innocent endless summer: “You go outside, play some football, do some colouring in, or you play the piano, don’t you?”

Playtime is over. Ben Hudson McIldowie, aka Mr Hudson, is in Hawaii today to work on tracks with US hip-hop superstar Kanye West. Last year he appeared in a music video singing with the iconic Jay-Z. Musicians in this circle are the prize-fighters of pop. So how did a pasty-faced featherweight David Bowie obsessive from Birmingham make the weigh-in? It could have something to do with training. Mr Hudson is part of a select group of artists to have passed through the doors of the Red Bull Music Academy, a month-long music workshop that lands in a different city each year, with the objective of inspiring a batch of young talent under the tutelage of heavyweight music icons. A musician all his life, it was during his two-week visit to the Academy in Seattle in 2005, that Mr Hudson began refining the sound, receiving the recognition and making the contacts that would smooth his entry into a merciless industry.

“I was this apologetic guy on the dole just demoing songs,” he says. “I’d been ignored in London, I wasn’t getting anywhere. When I got to Seattle I met all these lovely people from places all over the world like South America, Singapore and Switzerland telling me that actually my stuff was dope!”

It’s a husky-voiced, bleary-eyed Mr Hudson who greets us this morning. He was in the studio until 4am the night before working on tracks, and the strain shows during our 10am talk. But he’s no prima donna.

“Give me five minutes and a coffee and I’ll be a bit more useful,” he says optimistically. “I’ve been in the studio every day for the last two weeks, apart fromjust one day off.”

From his first gig aged 12, drumming for a heavy metal band above a pub in Birmingham, to sharing a stage with Kid Cudi and Kanye at a sold-out Camden Roundhouse last year, the boy who grew up stabbing at his parents’ piano doesn’t know anything different.

“I just wanna have lots of cool music to play to the world,” he says. “I probably make 50 to 100 songs a year. It’s not for a new album as such. I’m just always making music.”

Since appearing on the British pop landscape with his band Mr Hudson And The Library in 2007, the songwriter, producer and performer has bucked musical trend and fads in preference for pursuing the essence of a timeless pop song. He’s produced two albums, 2007’s A Tale Of Two Cities, and 2009’s Straight No Chaser. The first, with The Library, was an eclectic burst of eccentric pop underpinned by a hip-hop sensibility. The latter is far more commercial, aimed at the mainstream. For a man who’s built a career by trading on merit and staying clear of ego and trendiness, it seems a bit ironic that Mr Hudson is now regularly called upon for inspiration by the biggest, most brash personas in the business...

Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss