On the famous “You’re so beautiful” performance scene: “Every time I did that scene it was like coming out again and again and again. Right before shooting that scene I felt very nervous, as if somehow things would never be the same–and they weren’t, yet they were. It’s the same feeling that I had when I did Ellen. It was a little bit scary, but it was freeing. The fan response that I’ve gotten from that scene has been next level to me.”

On playing Jamal on Empire:
My life kind of prepared me for Jamal, because I am the middle son in real life. I am a singer. I have experienced the same issues that Jamal has dealt with in his life except my Momma wasn’t in jail for 17 years and my Daddy wasn’t a billionaire. [Laughs] That’s the great thing about playing Jamal.

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