Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1

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Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Empire Cast - Official Soundtrack from Season One, Album Cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released March 10, 2015
  • 37:01
  • 59:52 (Deluxe)
Label Columbia
Producer Timbaland, Jim Beanz, Justin Bostwick, Raphael Saadiq, Thomas "Da Hitman" Goodlett, Jazze Pha, Tricky Stewart, Sharif "Reefa" Slater, Johnny Black
Empire soundtrack chronology
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Empire: Original Soundtrack Season 2 Volume 1

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 is the debut soundtrack album by the cast of the musical drama television series Empire, which airs on Fox. The album includes songs that featured during the first season of the show, and performed by various artists. The album was released by Columbia Records. The soundtrack received positive critical reception and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. On September 11, 2015, another soundtrack titled Empire: The Complete Season 1 was released containing every song heard on the show that weren't included on the official soundtrack.


Empire was set to debut on January 7, 2015 on Fox.[1] After finding his lead actors, the show's co-creator Lee Daniels was searching for a talented music producer. Since Daniels considered his music taste "outdated", he asked his children for advice. After being advised by his son and daughter to contact Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley, known for being responsible for many hits in the music industry, Daniels contacted Timbaland. Timbaland eventually agreed to join the Empire family and conducted a team of talented songwriters and music artists. Timbaland described his creative process as being based on "working close with the writers" to help him produce songs that are based on the character that's singing.[2] Eventually, 12 songs were produced for the pilot, alone.[3]

Following the show's success, Columbia Records announced that a soundtrack CD would be released on March 10, 2015.[4]


Following the album's release, Jussie Smollett performed "Good Enough" on The Ellen Degeneres Show.[5] Smollett was interviewed by Degeneres and used the opportunity to come out, receiving substantial media attention.[6][7] Yazz and Smollett also performed "You're So Beautiful" on Good Morning America. During the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, Yazz, Smollett and Estelle performed two songs from the album. The cast embarked on a signing tour throughout the nation, as well.[8]

Critical response

Timbaland (pictured) was met with critical acclaim.

Metacritic gave the album an average score of 61%, indicating "generally favorable reviews" based on five critics.[9] Critics praised Jussie Smollett's performance on the album, describing him as a "break out star".[10] Entertainment Weekly's Kyle Anderson praised the CD's variation of genres stating "[the album] is at its best when it eschews goofy gangsta-isms like “Drip Drop” in favor of chest-thumping ballads or stirring hip-hop soul revivals". Further, he applauded Timbaland for "hold[ing] everything together". Pitchfork's Craig Jenkins admired the writer's effort given the fact that they had "to turn Dire Straits’ "Money for Nothing" into swag rap and to feed Courtney Love a gospel choir" stating "there’s nothing they won’t try, and it’s exhilarating". However, he expressed his distaste of the album's "celebrity collaborators" describing them as a "mixed bag".

Justin Charity from Complex Magazine thought the album's rap songs were "goofy as hell" and stated that "not even Mary J. Blige could save the Empire soundtrack". However he admitted that the songs were "catchy" and that the album overall "keeps a few true R&B greats on call for the love of musicality".

Commercial performance

The album was a commercial success.[11] In the United States, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 130,000 album-equivalent units, surpassing Madonna's thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart in a hotly contested week. Although "Rebel Heart" was the best selling album of the week, Empire came ahead in streaming.[12] It sold 110,000 copies in its first week on sale.[12] In January 2016, the album was certified Gold in the United States.[13] The album also debuted at number 26 on the Canadian Albums Chart, with 1,300 copies.[14] As of early 2017, the album has sold nearly 2,000,000 equivalent copies, helped by a Grammy nomination, few TV performances and constant reuse of its songs on the further seasons. Although, the other soundtracks haven't received similar promotion, obtaining lower commercial impact.

Track listing

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 – Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Good Enough" Timothy Mosley, James Washington, Daniel Jones, Dwayne "Showtim3" Dyke Jr. Jussie Smollett 3:50
2. "What Is Love" Mosley, Washington, Jones V. Bozeman 2:53
3. "No Apologies" Mosley, Washington Jussie Smollett and Yazz 2:52
4. "Keep It Movin'" Mosley, Washington Serayah McNeill and Yazz 3:24
5. "Walk Out on Me" Aaron Wright, Sean Van Vleet Courtney Love 3:25
6. "Conqueror" Jaramye Daniels, Kyle Henry, Angel Higgs, Claude Kelly, Akil C. King, Bailey Owens, Estelle Swaray Estelle and Jussie Smollett 4:28
7. "Remember the Music" Mosley, Washington, Justin Bostwick, Jennifer Hudson Jennifer Hudson 3:23
8. "Shake Down" Phalon Alexander, Mary J. Blige, Terius Nash, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart Mary J. Blige and Terrence Howard 3:26
9. "Power of the Empire" Mosley, Washington, Dyke Jr. Yazz 3:17
10. "Nothing to Lose" Mosley, Washington, Jones Jussie Smollett, Terrence Howard 2:48
11. "Whatever Makes You Happy" Mosley, Washington, Goodlett, Jones, Hudson, Jordan Houston Jennifer Hudson and Juicy J 3:15


Chart (2015) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[17] 31
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[18] 11
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[19] 25
French Albums (SNEP)[20] 51
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 3
Irish Albums (IRMA)[22] 61
Italian Albums (FIMI)[23] 70
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[24] 7
Scottish Albums (OCC)[25] 30
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[26] 74
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 7
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 18
UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC) 2
US Billboard 200[29] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[30] 1


  1. ^ O'Connell, Michael (November 19, 2014). "Fox's 'Empire' Nabs Post-'American Idol' Slot: It's not immediately clear what the new Wednesday means for current occupant 'Red Band Society'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  2. ^ Stack, Tim (January 7, 2015). "'Empire': Inside Fox's ambitious, groundbreaking musical soap". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  3. ^ Newman, Melinda (January 6, 2015). "Timbaland Gives Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Hip-Hop Cred". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  4. ^ "Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire by Empire Cast". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  5. ^ "Jussie Smollett Performs 'Good Enough'". March 11, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Stack, Tim (March 9, 2015). "'Empire' star Jussie Smollett comes out". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  7. ^ Wong, Curtis (March 9, 2015). "'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Comes Out". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Smith, Kia (March 24, 2015). "Empire's Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray Drive Fans Crazy on Promo Tour". Cocoa Fab. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  9. ^ "Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1", Metacritic Retrieved on August 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "Smollett is a breakout star on “Empire” CD", Arkansas Online, Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  11. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: "Empire," Drake & Big Sean | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHopDX". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (March 17, 2015). "'Empire' Soundtrack Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart, Madonna Arrives at No. 2". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Top 50 Albums Chart". hitsdailydouble. HITS Digital Ventures. December 18, 2015. Archived from the original on December 19, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  14. ^ Cross, Alan (March 21, 2015). "Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: 18 March 2015". ajournalofmusicalthings.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  15. ^ "Empire Cast - Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire (Super Deluxe Version): Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.
  16. ^ "iTunes - Music - Empire: The Complete Season 1 by Empire Cast". iTunes Store (US).
  17. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  19. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  20. ^ "Lescharts.com – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 22, 2015". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  23. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  26. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Soundtrack – Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  28. ^ "Soundtrack | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  29. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  30. ^ "Soundtrack Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
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