‘Empire’ Mid-Season Premiere

Cookie withdrawal is almost over. Only one hour and five minutes until "Empire" returns. And while we’re tired of waiting, Jamal, aka Jussie Smollett, tells us he’s tired — for a different reason!

Jussie Smollett was an unknown singer, songwriter and actor before being cast as Jamal Lyon on "Empire." 

Jussie Smollett, actor: "It’s really crazy. I know I keep saying that I’m exhausted, but it’s the most beautiful exhaustion of my life. Sometimes, when you’re living your dream, you gotta stay awake to do it, you know. I’m able to make a living doing something that I love."

Jussie released his first solo album in 2012.

Jussie Smollett: "I was an indie artist pounding the pavement. I learned so much, so many things. Now it is about learning to make sure that you let some of the control go, you know? But still hold tight to some of your creative art."

He recently signed a deal with Columbia Records, and this summer he’s headed to Australia to make a movie with famed director Ridley Scott and actor Michael Fassbender. 

In the meantime, the cast of "Empire" is preparing for the spring premiere of season two tonight.

Taraji P Henson: "Somebody’s getting married, and I hear rumors somebody’s dying. I don’t know. I guess people die when you’re trying to build an empire, or keep it?"

After the dramatic fall finale, Kaitlin Doubleday, who plays Rhonda, reveals her character is still alive after being pushed down the stairs.

Kaitlin Doubleday, actress: "So I did not die, but I mean, sad things do happen, and the way that Andre and Rhonda go through what happened is more tumultuous, crazy, soapy, insane. Fun stuff to watch."

Taraji P. Henson knows the show’s fans are incredibly excited that Cookie is back — and she is, too!

The wait is almost over. "Empire" returns Wednesday night, right here on 7.