What's Jussie Smollett Been Doing Between 'Empire' Seasons? Jamal Is Busy With Music & Family In Real Life Too
Can you believe we've all survived six months without Lyon family on our screens? But finally, Empire Season 2 premieres on Wednesday night and it's about time — I feel like I've seen the cast more outside of the show than on the series this year. So, what has Jussie Smollett been up to since Empire Season 1? In addition to filming Season 2, the actor who plays middle Lyon son Jamal has been spending time with family, writing songs, performing, and modeling — yup, all of it.
Empire Season 2 hasn't even premiered yet and the series has already dropped new and awesome songs that include vocals by Smollett: "No Doubt About It" (with Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull), "Ain't About The Money," and "Born To Lose." If these songs are any indication, the hit series' second season is going to be even better than the first. As for Smollett's own music, well, he signed a deal for an album with Columbia records that he told the Houston Chronicle will come with time. "There's so much that I want to say," he said. "I'll do it on my own time. I do genuinely feel like the 'Empire' music is my music as well...I know I sound like a crazy, weird artist - but I feel like Jamal, in my heart, is very real. I'm kind of going through this journey with Jamal in many ways."
But outside of being Jamal Lyon, here's what Smollett has been up to, right after a drunk recap of Empire Season 1 to get you ready for more of the Lyon brothers.
Filming Empire Season 2, Of Course
Let's just get this one out of the way first. Smollett and Co. filmed the second season of Empire, because viewers have been clamoring for more since the season finale aired in March. And it looks like he had some fun between takes with co-star Taraji P. Henson.
According to his Instagram account, Smollett has been working on music with Jim Beanz, one of the main song writers on Empire, but whether or not the songs were for the show remains to be seen. Billboard reported that Smollett will be mostly working on music with Ne-Yo on Empire this season.
Spending Time With Family
Last month, Smollett and his siblings gathered for a weekend to celebrate their brother JoJo's birthday in Chicago. He also spent some quality time with his niece and grew a mighty beard in the process.
Becoming The Face Of Sean John
You read that right — Smollett is now the spokesmodel for Sean "P. Diddy/Puff Daddy" Combs' clothing line. His ads for the brand will appear in the September issue of GQ, Macy's stores, billboards, and social media.
Performing All Over The Place
Smollet performed with co-stars Bryshere Gray (aka Yazz the Greatest) and Serayah at the 2015 BET Awards. He and Yazz also performed at the Billboard Music Awards. And last month, Smollett sang "Up All Night" at the HollyRod Foundation's Design Care event to benefit Autism Awareness and Parkinson's disease.
Being On The Cover Of Magazines
Smollett — along with co-stars Yazz and Trai Byers (who plays Andre Lyon) — graced the cover of Essence magazine. But his magazine dominance didn't stop there — Smollett also had a style spread in InStyle.
Filming The Music Video For "No Doubt About It"
Naturally, a song with Pitbull is going to have an awesome video, right? I guess we'll have to wait and see just how wild and crazy this video gets — though it can't top what we've already seen on Empire.
Image: Chuck Hodes/FOX