Timbaland, who has musically carried FOX's hit show for the past two seasons, has exited stage left, Billboard reports. Since Empire's inception, the ex-music supervisor helmed the songwriting team, producing music based on the themes and plot points of each episode. "We were happy to work with Timbaland during the first two seasons, but we wanted to take a different approach for season 3", says senior VP of A&R for Columbia Records, Shawn Holiday.
Stepping in for its third season (Sept. 21, 9pm ET) are singer and songwriter Ester Dean and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Holiday believes, "Rodney is a dynamic, multi-format producer experienced in urban, rhythmic and pop. And Dean excels at writing big songs with catchy hooks."
Jerkins' best-known credits:
• Michael Jackson's "You Rock My World"
• Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine"
• Beyonce's "Déjà Vu"
• Lady Gaga's "Telephone"
Deans's best-known credits:
• Rihanna's "Rude Boy"
• Katy Perry's "Firework"
• Nicki Minaj's Super Bass"
Joining Jerkins and Dean are Johntá Austin (Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Usher), Makeba Riddick (Beyonce, Rihanna), Jesse St. John (Britney Spears), and returning songwriters, Ne-Yo and J.R. Rotem. With such a well-rounded music team, season 3 of Fox's Empire should bring continued success to all involved. Check out the preview below for its upcoming season, premiering Wednesday Sept. 21 at 9pm ET on FOX.
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