What's Jussie Smollet Been Up To During The 'Empire' Hiatus? Jamal Is Killing It On Screen & Off

It's been two months since Fox's Empire aired its Season 1 finale and, well, I'm surviving. It doesn't mean I don't miss watching the hit series on Wednesday nights, but it's just that life is moving on (for now). Empire star Jussie Smollett has been keeping busy during the hiatus between seasons, embracing his brand new breakout star status. When Empire left off, Smollett's character Jamal Lyon was put in charge of Empire Entertainment by his father Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Smollett himself had signed a record deal with Columbia Records.

Smollett had been singing before Empire — and he has the YouTube videos to prove it — but it's his role in the series has turned him into a star. Back in March, the show's soundtrack debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard charts and Smollett said the album is currently the priority for him. "I'm working on personal music -- just writing and recording here and there, but the priority still is the soundtrack for season one," Smollett told ABC News last month. "I'm excited right now and I'm happy right now because I'll get some time to spend with my family. I love my Empire family so much, [but] I really, really miss my family when I'm away."

Here's what has Smollett been up to during his hiatus, aside from spending time with his family.

Working On His Album

Smollett has been busy writing and recording songs for both his own album and for Empire Season 2. According to his interview with ABC News, he's been communicating with the show's musical director Jim Beanz for both.

"I'm starting to write [music] for season two and stuff like that," Smollett said. "It's a collaborative thing, but I'm starting to write my own stuff and then, you know, if it seeps into Empire, then great."

He'll Perform At The Billboard Music Awards

Smollett will take the stage at this week's Billboard Music Awards along with co-star Bryshere Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) and Estelle. According to Entertainment Weekly, they'll sing the tracks "Conqueror" and "You’re So Beautiful" from Empire.

“The Billboard Music Awards has been the epitome of celebrating some of the best of the best in music," Smollett said. "To be included as a performer on this year’s celebration is a huge honor.”

Hanging With Kendall & Kylie Jenner

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Empire meets the Kardashians — I knew it was going to happen one day. Last month, Smollett was spotted chilling with the Jenner sisters at the MyCalvins Denim Series at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. I wonder what Cookie Lyon would say about this.

He's On The Cover Of Essence Magazine

Smollett, along with co-stars Gray and Trai Byers, are featured on four different covers from June's issue of Essence magazine, heating up the newstands. He recently posted the image of his cover with the caption: "Thank you so much @essencemag for putting this dude named me on your cover. Such an honor."

He's Reportedly Dating Someone

According to some gossip sites, Smollett has allegedly been dating actor Dustin Ross on and off for awhile. The duo met while filming the movie The Skinny. But there hasn't been any confirmation of this, on social media or otherwise.

Sounds like Smollett is having a good hiatus, but I still can't wait for Empire to return.

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