Can Terrence Howard Play Guitar? 'Empire' Shows Off More Than Lucious' Musical Skills

Before Lucious was arrested on Empire's juicy Season 1 finale, he shared a musical father/son moment with Jamal. With Lucious, portrayed by Terrence Howard, playing guitar and Jamal on keys, Empire track "Nothing to Lose" has been stuck in my head since the episode. And you know what? I don't even care.

We know that's Howard's real voice singing about going hard or going home. (Congrats if you caught the reference to his Oscar-nominated role in the music-heavy Hustle & Flow!) But what about that fancy fingerwork? Is that Howard playing the guitar or some kind of musical stunt double? I decided to do a little research to find out what's real in this crazy Empire world. And as it turns out, Howard's talent is very much one of those things.

Solidifying his Renaissance Man status, Howard does happen to be an accomplished guitar player. And a piano player. And he taught himself how to do both, according to FOX's bio. Meanwhile, I could barely drag myself out of bed to brew coffee this morning. We're not talking about being good enough to entertain at family parties or one's half asleep/fully drunk friends at last call. Howard released a solo album called Shine Through It in 2008, featuring a number of songs that he either wrote or co-wrote. If you pick it up, don't expect to hear anything that will remind you of Lucious Lyon or even Hustle's Djay. Howard was inspired by the singer-songwriters of the '70s, especially "American Pie" singer Don McLean. So I'm unfortunately still waiting on that acoustic version of "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" and likely will be indefinitely.

Sadly, we've got a lengthy hiatus ahead of us before the Lyon family and their Empire come back into our lives. In the meantime, let's talk a tour through Terrence Howard's guitar hero past.

"Sanctuary" From Shine Through It

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Backed by a full orchestra and an ethereal trio of backup singers, Howard puts his heart and soul into this track from his deeply personal solo album.

"Love Makes You Beautiful" From Shine Through It, Live on The Late Show with David Letterman

Howard even took his act out on the talk show circuit after his album release. You can't fake it in front of the Ed Sullivan audience, ladies and gentlemen. This guy is for real.

The Best Man

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As Quentin in 1999 rom-com The Best Man, Howard impressed his friends with his skill in a club scene. Though we can all agree that the best part is the little flourish he puts on the end when he throws his guitar over his shoulder. It's all about style, people.

An Ode To Spanish Guitar On Lopez Tonight

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Remember Lopez Tonight? Barely, I know. Anyway, in this appearance, Terrence Howard talks to George about his love of Spanish music, but confesses a bit of a linguistic hurdle. He doesn't know the language, so he makes up words. Good thing music is the universal language.

With this kind of musical background, I'm expecting to see a lot more of Lucious and his guitar when Empire returns next season. Hopefully, he'll back behind a microphone or desk, and not behind bars.

Image: Chuck Hodes/Fox