In light of the overwhelming opening season success of its new drama, “Empire,” created by Oscar-nominated Philly native Lee Daniels and starring Academy Award nominees Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, Fox is considering staging “Empire” concerts, the same way it did a “Glee” tour for two summers.
“We’re thinking about what the future is of the brand,” explains Dana Walden, co-chair and co-CEO of Fox Television Group. “What we learned on ‘Glee’ and what we tried to do on ‘Glee’ is be very cognizant that the music business is the tail of this dog — the show is the thing. But we are certainly looking down the line. There’s no reason not to think of having all sorts of ancillary opportunities with this show. We’re certainly thinking about the idea of doing a live concert series.”
A major player in the proposed series would undoubtedly be Philadelphia native Bryshere Gray,” who plays rapper Hakeem Lyon, the youngest son of music mogul, Lucious Lyon (Howard) and his ex-wife/business partner Cookie (Henson). Gray and Jussie Smollett, who plays his on-screen older brother Jamal, have delivered sizzling musical performances since the show’s first episode, including hot tracks such as “Drip Drop,” “No Apologies” and “You Are So Beautiful.”
Gray (AKA Yazz), 21, graduated from Overbrook High School in 2012, and recently revealed that the role of Hakeem is his very first acting job. He recalled with amusement that the scene in which his mother, who had just been released from prison after 17 years, went upside his head with a broom after he disrespected her, was his very first acting scene — ever. Gray has shared some amazing musical collaborations with Smollett, featuring original music by Grammy Award-winning producer/songwriter, Timbaland.
“Yazz” is prepared for the global spotlight, having paid dues with performances at Odunde, The Roots Picnic, Welcome America! Powerhouse 2013 and Jay Z’s Made in America 2013. He has also opened for hip-hop artists Fabolous and 2 Chainz.
According to EW.com, “Empire” is already following a similar model to “Glee’s” music release schedule, debuting iTunes singles each week and releasing a season soundtrack on March 10. “Empire” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.