Fans of Empire were possibly surprised when they heard Rumer Willis would guest star on the show — as a singer, no less. On the series, Willis plays Tory Ash, a character inspired by Amy Winehouse. She's an artist that Jamal met while in rehab; they sparked a friendship, and started writing together. On last week's episode, Tory showed off her talent in a song, "Crazy Crazy 4 U." As it turns out, Willis is not only portraying Tory, she's singing her sultry tracks as well. So what is Empire actress Rumer Willis' singing background? This isn't her first musical gig.
Empire is certainly not Willis' first foray into singing. According to her biography for The Cabaret, she started singing for family members at age three. From there, her love of music only grew; she studying opera in a conservatory at 12. Prior to joining Chicago on Broadway as Roxie Hart, she performed weekly at the Sayers Club in Hollywood. Not to mention, she is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, so acting is also in her genes. She's appeared in movies and television as well from a young age. Willis won Dancing With The Stars in 2015, proving she's a triple threat.
It's no surprise Tory Ash is based on Amy Winehouse: that's partly how Willis snagged the role. Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal, recommended her to producers after seeing a video of her cover one of Winehouse's tracks. Being both a singer and an actress, Willis has the ability to do both as Tory. As she told The Hollywood Reporter, she struggled with figuring out what she wanted to do with her singing talent, but this role was the perfect solution. "I've been singing since I was super little, but I've always struggled to find which avenue exactly I wanted to do," she said.
When she heard what producers had in mind for Tory's music, she was definitely on board. "They played stuff that was something that I never really would have thought to go to or do but something that felt so right and sounded right in the place that I wanted to go," she stated in the same interview "It was a perfect, happy turn of events." Given her work on Broadway, film and television, and dancing, Willis has certainly covered a lot of ground. Empire viewers can look forward to both Willis' continued presence on the show and her skilled vocals.