Who Writes The Music On 'Empire'? Get To Know The Talented People Behind The Scenes
Welcome to the long, cold solitude of the Empire hiatus. What will we do in these torturous months without A-list R&B guest stars, some good old fashioned family backstabbing, and the fierceness of Cookie Lyons's wardrobe? In the meantime, we can keep busy by obsessively dissecting every element of its first season. And, as we keep on telling ourselves, that's perfectly normal.To get started, let's take a look at the people who write Empire 's music.
I'm just dying to talk about the music, because it's truly what takes Empire from good to "How did I exist before this?" Original music is a tricky business on a TV series. We've got the successes, like Empire and Nashville's country-radio-ready tunes. And then we've got the opposite end of that spectrum. (I'm still struggling to shake off Glee's feeble attempt at breaking away from covers.) There's no question that Empire takes its music seriously; it's never an afterthought. But before a director stages a song, before the formidable cast lays it down, and long before it hits the soundtrack for our repeat-listening pleasure, it has to be written. Who are the creative minds behind the Empire soundtrack? I dug into the careers of its songwriters to find out.
Timbaland — Executive Music Producer
Timbaland is a producing legend, though some might have claimed that his most influential period was already behind him. He was responsible for creating a signature R&B/Hip-Hop sound that ruled from the mid-'90s to the '00s. Think Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and a newly solo Justin Timberlake. But the zeitgeist moved along, as it tends to do. What most would recognize as a Timbaland hook would usually hint that the song in question was introduced by Carson Daly in the TRL studio at 1515 Broadway once upon a time. But Timbaland proved to be adaptable. He's steadily worked with an unbelievably dense stable of artists and released several solo albums that are packed with collaborations. Now Empire is allowing Timbaland to redefine his career yet again.
Producer and writer Jim Beanz knows all there is to know about working hard. Not only does he write a hefty portion of Empire's songs, he was also drafted to play rapper Titan on the show. Beanz has a long history of collaboration with Timbaland, working on albums like Timb's own Shock Value, Britney Spears' Blackout, and (twist!) Chris Cornell's Scream.
Philadelphia-based writer and producer Justin Bostwick saw his star take off when "Drip Drop" made its Empire debut and set Twitter ablaze. He can thank his own persistence for his success; he told the Weekender that he pestered Jim Beanz's management company with calls until Bostwick was signed to work with him. The rest is history.
By all accounts, the musical process on Empire is hugely collaborative. Timbaland and Jim Beanz lead a team of composers, lyricists, and producers who create fire every week. Performers put their take on the tracks and are given writing credits on several songs. Whatever the magical combination, it's working. I'll be over here replaying that soundtrack until Empire returns with new music.
Image: Chuck Hodes/Fox