After serving as one of Empire‘s composers for the first two seasons, Timbaland is now exiting.
According to a report from Billboard joining in Timbaland’s place for the forthcoming third season will be four time Grammy Award winning songwriter and producer Rodney Jerkins as supervising music producer, and chart topping songwriter Ester Dean.
“We were happy to work with Timbaland during the first two seasons” Shawn Holiday, senior VP of A&R for Columbia Records, which releases Empire‘s music, said. “But we wanted to take a different approach for season 3. We dealt a lot with family drama in the first season through songs like ‘Good Enough’ when Lucious Lyon threw his son Jamal in the trash can. That was a very emotional music moment. So we’re going for the same success with upcoming songs like ‘Mama,’ about Cookie being the backbone of the family, and a duet with Mariah Carey and Jussie Smollett.”
“Rodney is a dynamic, multi-format producer experienced in urban, rhythmic and pop. And Dean excels at writing big songs with catchy hooks,” Holiday explained in regards to why they chose the two to join the team.
Bringing Jerkins and Dean onboard makes sense: the two have actually helped craft hits for the likes of Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga.
Songwriters Ne-Yo and J.R. Rotem, who joined the team last year, will be returning. And aside from Mariah Carey the third season will also feature guest appearances from Biz Markie, Cash Money head honcho Birdman, French Montana and Romeo Miller (formerly Lil Romeo).
Although the second season of Empire wasn’t as well received by critics than its first, hopefully this third season will do a good job as the show’s narrative continues to grow.
“We started out with 24 million viewers. That’s like Michael Jordan scoring 80 points in the first half. There’s no way he’s going to score another 80 the second half,” Holiday said. “We knew some mistakes would be made. But you’re going to see the actors and characters grow more mature and seasoned as music artists. And we feel that we have the chance this season to break an artist from a television show. We haven’t seen that since the early American Idol days.”