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Exclusive: Jussie Smollett On The Ups And Downs Of Touring
Singer/actor Jussie Smollett is best known for his role as queer R&B star Jamal Lyon in the hit musical drama series Empire. Yet he is much more hands on: he not only sings on screen, but also helps direct and writes songs behind-the-scenes. The show, which follows the life of a music mogul and his family, has received much acclaim, including for its music – its soundtrack, Empire: Season 1, was nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media at the 58th GRAMMY Awards.
While Smollett has been acting since a young age, music has always been his biggest passion. This year he let that passion shine when he released his debut solo album, Sum of My Music, on March 2.
Smollett has been busy performing shows around the world in support of his new album, including at the amazing Essence Festival 2018 in New Orleans. We caught up with him backstage at the festival to talk to him about the shift from filming to touring, and the anxiety he feels before shows, wondering if people will show up. Smollet says he's left feeling grateful for every fan who shows up at what has turned out to be sold-out shows.
"We would do the same show for two people or 2000 people, but it's always wonderful, and I feel such gratitude, it's so humbling, that they come out every single night," he shares.