“EMPIRE” STARS JUSSIE SMOLLETT AND BRYSHERE “YAZZ” GRAY TO PERFORM WITH GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST ESTELLE AT THE “2015 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS”Empire logo
SANTA MONICA, CA (April 23, 2015) – Billboard and dick clark productions announced today that “Empire” recording artists Jussie Smollett and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray will perform at this year’s award show for an “Empire” themed performance featuring Grammy Award-winning British songstress Estelle, singing a medley of the show’s biggest hits, “Conqueror” and “You’re So Beautiful.” These stars join previously announced musical performers Iggy Azalea, Fall Out Boy featuring Wiz Khalifa, Kelly Clarkson, Hozier, Nick Jonas, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Britney Spears and Meghan Trainor. The “2015 Billboard Music Awards” will be hosted by Ludacris and Chrissy Teigen and broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 17, on ABC from 8:00 PM–11:00 PM ET.
“There’s no way I could possibly love music more than I already do. The Billboard Music Awards has been the epitome of celebrating some of the best of the best in music,” stated Smollett. “To be included as a performer on this year’s celebration is a huge honor.”
“I’m still living in a dream – the success of Empire and now getting the honor to perform at the Billboard Music Awards. It’s truly a blessing,” said Yazz.
“My hope is that ‘Conqueror’ will continue to inspire people as much as possible. It’s such a powerful message! I cannot wait to perform it at the Billboard Music Awards with Jussie!” said Estelle.
Fun performer facts include:
- The Empire TV soundtrack — which features Smollett and Yazz on 12 of its 18 songs — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It’s the first TV series soundtrack to hit No. 1 in the history of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Combined, all of the released songs from the TV series have sold 1.5 million downloads in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
- Combined, Smollett’s songs have sold more than a million downloads, and he’s earned six hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart — all from the Empire TV series. Those include three top 40 hits: “Good Enough,” “You’re So Beautiful” (with Yazz) and “Conqueror,” with the latter song being his highest peaking (No. 15)
- “Conqueror” is Estelle’s lead single from her new album True Romance, out now. It was made into a special duet featuring Estelle and Smollett which aired when Estelle guest starred as “Delphine” on Empire. The song became a top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart, peaking at No. 8 on the list dated March 21 and helped spur The Empire TV soundtrack to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. The song was also a top five hit on both R&B Digital Songs (No. 3) and R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs (No. 4).
- Yazz has claimed three hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, with two reaching the top 40: “You’re So Beautiful” and “Drip Drop.”
Smollett was on hand April 7th at the Twitter office in Santa Monica, to announce the finalists for the “2015 Billboard Music Awards” with this year’s host, Chrissy Teigen. Born in Santa Rosa, California, Smollett started acting at an early age, co-starring in features such as “The Mighty Ducks” and Rob Reiner’s “North,” and Alex Haley’s Emmy nominated miniseries “Queen,” starring Halle Berry and Danny Glover. Jussie went on to star with his five real life siblings in the ABC sitcom “On Our Own.” Continuing his acting career in shows like “The Mindy Project,” and “Revenge,” Smollett also became an accomplished musician and songwriter. He is currently recording his album, and Ebony Magazine has described him as “… an urban Adam Levine brewed in a cup of MJ.” Smollett can currently be seen as the talented son of Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in the critically acclaimed new series by Lee Daniels, “Empire.”
Joining Jussie on the hit series “Empire” is Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, as his younger brother, Hakeem. Yazz The Greatest became a hip hop star at a young age, after a football injury sidelined him. Striving to be more versatile and uplifting, YTG chooses to be more responsible with his lyrics, elevating the content of his songs. His fans took to social media quickly to support the star. Some of his performance highlights include Jay-Z’s 2013 Made in America Festival, The Annual Roots Picnic Festival, and opening for Fabolous and 2 Chainz. YTG’s poise and confidence earned him the role of Hakeem on FOX’s “Empire” where he continues to create innovative and responsible music.
Estelle’s new album, True Romance, is out now via her own imprint Established 1980 Inc./BMG. Anchored by 4 themes – passion, courage, true romance and the BS – the album has garnered Estelle praise from the likes of New York Times, Rolling Stone, People, NPR All Things Considered, Elle, Oprah Magazine, Cosmo, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly. In addition to her music, Estelle also runs her foundation All of Me, which focuses on educating and expanding the horizons of young people through college scholarships and volunteer opportunities abroad. She also voices a lead character, Garnet, on Cartoon Network’s hit show Steven Universe. Estelle first burst onto the scene in 2008 with her double-platinum, international chart-topping hit song “American Boy” featuring Kanye West, which earned her a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Billboard Music Awards finalists are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound. The awards are based on the reporting period of March 10, 2014 through March 8, 2015. Since 1940, the Billboard charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of a musician’s success.
Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster.com. Fans can also choose from multiple VIP premium ticket packages which include limited edition Billboard Music Awards merchandise, an invitation to the official Billboard Music Awards post-party and so much more! VIP premium ticket packages are available at www.cidentertainment.com/events/billboard-music-awards/.
For additional information on the “2015 Billboard Music Awards” visit us at www.billboardmusicawards.com or the Billboard hub at www.billboard.com/bbma. The “2015 Billboard Music Awards” is produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Barry Adelman and Robert Deaton are Executive Producers.
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