A new Jennifer Hudson album is in the works, though fans shouldn't expect a complete new effort this year, according to Sony Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis.

The veteran starmaker says the song search has begun, and that he's especially mindful of picking strong, "special" songs for the former "American Idol" star.

"The key is in the material. [Hudson] has only grown as an artist in this past year. She is more soulful. But the real challenge with a 'pop' artist is to come up with those songs that are special," Davis told HitFix. "That is the challenge for every young artist who is still trying to make a lifelong career. They're still dependent on radio play... You gotta have the hits. So we have several candidates for it."

It's been a long hard road for Hudson since the release of her 2008 self-titled debut, as tragedy struck almost exacty one year ago. Her mother, brother and nephew were found dead, murdered by her sister's ex-boyfriend. This is around the same time that "Jennifer Hudson" bowed at No. 2 on The Billboard 200.

Hudson has also since had a child, David, with her fiancee, Daniel David Otunga, on top of her first national tour earlier this year -- which has obviously taken up much of her time and energies. She also performed the National Anthem at the last Super Bowl and at the Michael Jackson memorial in July.

Still, Hudson is prepping her return to the spotlight, after showing up on "Oprah" last month. Fans will soon see her in a primetime Christmas special on ABC, due in December, according to a report by the Associated Press. "Jennifer Hudson: I'll Be Home for Christmas" will be taped in her hometown Chicago, in the neigborhood and church where she and her family once lived.

It looks like Hudson's movie work is on hold, as her last silver screen appearance was in 2008's "The Secret Life of Bees." She previously won an Academy Award for her role in "Dreamgirls."