“Harry Hudson? As in Kylie Jenner’s bff-cancer-survivor-overall positive human being Harry Hudson?”
Such is the legend of Harry Hudson, as noted by his photographer for the afternoon. A seemingly average kid who found his way into the social media of some of the most famous offspring on the planet (and beat cancer along the way), Hudson plans on being one of the biggest acts in music, haters be damned.
Hudson, 24, rose to fame among the Kardashian-following set for his friendship with Kylie and Kendall Jenner — he often appears on their Snapchat and Instagram feeds. Hudson is also close with another pair of celeb siblings, Jaden and Willow Smith, with whom he initially got off on the wrong foot after Jaden claimed he could cure Hudson of cancer. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Having joined the Smith siblings to create MSFTS, advertised as an “art collective and lifestyle brand that encompasses music, fashion, education and more” Hudson is also making a go of a solo career, with two new singles via Interscope Records and more on the horizon. If all goes to plan, the question of who, exactly, Mr. Hudson is will be self-explanatory by year’s end.
He arrives for his portrait session in a denim ensemble and a red wide-brimmed hat, immediately cueing up the soundtrack to the Hugh Jackman film “The Greatest Showman” and gamely climbing atop a ladder for a shot, before jumping off unprompted. His brother, Remy, reminds him to remove the wristband he acquired earlier in the day from an impromptu session on the ice rink at the Standard Hotel.
“Just go do sh–t, you know what I’m saying?” he tells his followers in the Instagram Story he posted from the outing. “Go do things you’ve never done before. I’ve never done this! I’ve never done this before.”
Despite the association with social media, Hudson maintains he isn’t a fan. “I just try to promote ‘don’t be on your phone, go be outside,’” he says, seated for the interview. He admits that “most likely” people know who he is from Instagram or Snapchat, but “I’m not really a big part of social media. I like using it to promote positive stuff, but it’s a distraction. There’s just too much s–t and people just flaunting cool stuff and rich stuff and for me it’s just negative. You don’t know them, you just perceive them in some type of way and I don’t like doing that to people.”
Hudson was raised in New Jersey before relocating to Southern California with his mom and brother. His interest in music stems back to first grade, when a babysitter would play him Eminem.
“I had a strange childhood, and I was the shyest kid you’ll ever meet,” Hudson says. “There was a lot of anger and confusion that I had going on as a kid, because there was a lot I didn’t know or understand.” Such as? “Just personal stuff, with, you know, your parents, and just trying to understand what sh–t happened. Pretty dark sh–t.”
Though repeating back Eminem in the first grade got him kicked out of class more than once, it hooked him on music. Nowadays, though he cites Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and the “so dope” Phil Collins as inspiration, he doesn’t listen to much music for fear of absorbing their styles. Instead, he prefers to drive around Los Angeles in silence, listening to piano ballads off YouTube when home.
His two new singles “Cry for Love” and “Yellow Lights” project the open, positivity-driven narrative Hudson says he has lived by his whole life, but was certainly buoyed by his overcoming of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, when he was diagnosed at age 20.
“Everyone is at a place right now, I feel like, where they need love. A lot of people are accepting to truth. So if you put love and truth into something you’re passionate about people are going to feel the same thing,” he says. “You know?”
Instead of other music as inspiration, he consumes books — “2017 was actually the first time I started reading books” — as well as “everyday relationships” that guide his writing.
“I talk to so many random people a day. Human interactions are the most important thing in life,” he says. “Me and my friends are all like that. We are very open — we make everybody feel like they’re our brother or our sister. You’re in our f–king life, until you disrespect us then you’re not. A lot of people are like ‘Oh, I don’t know them so I’m not going to open up,’ and I’m like ‘No, you’re my brother, you’re my sister right off top.’”
His friendship with the Smith siblings, with whom he makes music, clothing and yes, even a school, evolved from a more closed-off time in his life when compared to his current approach to friendship.
“Jaden tried to cure me of cancer. He wanted to, he believed he could, when he was 14 or 15,” Hudson says. “He was studying this guy who was curing cancer, supposedly, and [Jaden] was like ‘I need you to live with me, I need to cure you.’ And I was like ‘you sound f–king crazy.’ And he got really actually hurt by that. And then like a year after that, now we’re best friends.”
When a spare afternoon presents itself, Hudson might head over to the Mystery School, from MSFTS, and take a psychics class.
“We [want] to build them around the world, to change the form of education. We’re all about empowering and doing positive things for the world,” he says. “We work really hard at what we love to do. And that’ll probably get us to a point of what we’re here to do. You know? We all have such powerful purposes that we’re here to find. It’s like a f–king game.”
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