Terrence Howard records “Empire” finale tune at CRC

Producer Jeff Morrow, Terrence Howard, producer Rich Daniels

It wasn’t too long ago that giant recording studios were the norm in Chicago. There was Streeterville, Universal and Paragon.

Now? All gone. But still left standing is CRC. Recently, the recording studio has provided ADR and mixing for films including Hidden Figures, Spike Lee’s Chi-raq and Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight as well as numerous commercials and podcasts even.

If you ask CRC business affairs director, Dave Dakich, CRC’s continued success is due in part to their constant mix of music artists, films and commercials.

“In just one session not too long ago, the studio had Terrence Howard recording a new song for the Empire finale,” he explains. “Hip hop star and (Howard’s Empire co-star) Xzibit was recording in an adjacent studio for Apple Music and Chance the Rapper in yet another studio.

The Empire season finale track was actually penned by Howard. The star also performed lead vocals as well played nylon guitar. Titled Dream On With You, Fox has now released a behind the scenes video featuring Howard and Chicago’s own sensation, Empire’s Vocal Producer Jeff Morrow produced the background vocals.

The song was tracked with drums, percussion, bass, electric guitar, piano, string quartet, harp, flute, french horn. Recorded & mixed in CRC’s Studio 4. Morrow brought in four background singers including, Yvonne Gage, Joan Colasso and Mike Harvey.

“It is a joy working with all the stars and they are very respectful of my production of their vocals. I’m particularly fond of working with Jussie Smollett who refers to me as ‘The Joe Jackson’ of vocal Production,” says Morrow.

“It was pure pleasure working with Rich Daniels on the song Dream On, which was written by Terrence Howard and Mama by Rodney Jerkins for the finale. This has been an amazing ride!”

The recording session, which went from 9 AM to 1 AM, continues the ongoing relationship between CRC and the hit Fox series. The studio scenes for the pilot were filmed in CRC’s Studio 4.

Jeremih (rapper) and Serayah (singer & actress from the cast) worked on songs for the Empire soundtrack, working with CRC’s Bernard Chae. Jussie Smollett (singer & actor from the cast) recorded and mixed several songs for Empire soundtrack here with CRC’s Mat Lejeune, and Jim Caroll.

Dakich adds that the entire CRC team is excited to see how Howard’s song will be used. The season finale airs on Fox, May 24 at 8 PM CST.


Produced by Rich Daniels & Jeff Morrow

Engineered and mixed by Steve Weeder

Assisted by Jim Carol

Additional Mixing by Jonathan Lackey

LA-Based Colin Costello writes for film, TV, advertising and of course, Reel Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.