Justin Bostwick builds an ‘Empire’

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First Posted: 2/12/2015

Jessie Holeva of Clarks Summit has some serious bragging rights when it comes to her boyfriend, Justin Bostwick.

The style reporter for 97 BHT’s “Ralphie Tonight” and founder of TrendHungry.com flipped shit with excitement when she heard Bostwick’s song “Drip Drop” performed on the new Fox drama “Empire” earlier this month; and said she couldn’t have been prouder when the title of the song started trending worldwide on Twitter.

“He’s worked really hard to hone his skills and get where he is. It inspires me,” Holeva said.

Bostwick, who lives in Philadelphia, visits Northeastern Pennsylvania regularly with Holeva, his college sweetheart. When he makes it to the area, he looks forward to a meal at The Gourmet in Clarks Summit, and admits his vice is late-night food at Sheetz — a guilty pleasure not easily accessible in Philly.

The 26-year-old rising music producer gave Weekender his first interview since landing the opportunity to produce music for “Empire” and work under the reign of the show’s executive music producer, Timbaland.

Bostwick credits inflexible tenacity for putting him on the path to producing music for “Empire.”

“About two and a half years ago, I started working with this producer named Jim Beanz. He’s worked with Timbaland over the years and produced for mainstream artists from Nelly Furtado to Britney Spears. I found out he was in the area and I was basically like, ‘I need to find a way to work with him.’ I called and emailed his music production company until they would finally meet with me,” Bostwick said.

After a few months of non-stop phone calls and emails to Sunset Entertainment Group, the management/production company finally agreed to meet with him. Bostwick was expecting a meeting to shut him down in person and eradicate his willfulness. To his surprise, he was signed to work with Jim Beanz.

“When it comes to getting where you want to go in life, it’s really an endurance race, not a sprint,” Bostwick said of his determination to work with Beanz.

Around this time last year, Bostwick saw a rough cut of the pilot for “Empire,” he said.

“Timbaland was signed on as the executive music producer. He oversees all of the music production on the show and Jim Beanz is responsible for 90 percent of the music content that makes the show. When I saw the rough cut for the pilot, I knew [Jim Beanz] was going to work on music for the show. I didn’t think I’d get a chance to be part of that, though,” Bostwick said.

Sure enough, Beanz sought his help.

“Since I had been working for him for a few years, I knew the kind of sound he wanted. At first he asked me to add a few elements to a track he was working on,” Bostwick said.

As time went on, Beanz pulled him in more and more, until he was eventually adding elements to half the original music on the show, even a track of his own.

“It’s funny, because about two years ago I started working on [“Drip Drop”] for myself. I wrote it and produced it with [Beanz]. At the time I thought, ‘Maybe I should see if I could be a rapper,’ which is funny because I’m this white kid from the suburbs. The track ended up sounding hot, but it just wasn’t something I wanted to do. Beanz remembered it and said we should see if Fox wanted to use it. And they did. Now it’s being used for character Hakeem’s first big single on the show,” Bostwick said of how his song was selected for “Empire.”

“Drip Drop” became an instant trend on Twitter, quickly climbed the iTunes charts and was praised by mtv.com as “the only song you need to listen to today.”

The soundtrack has quickly become as anticipated as answers to the cliff-hangers at the end of each episode.

“It’s refreshing to hear songs that have a little more meaning than songs on the radio, but still sound just as good. You get emotionally invested in the songs because they’re produced to go around the storyline and make you feel something,” Bostwick said.

He’s looking forward to hearing more of his work throughout the rest of the season, especially the tracks performed by upcoming guest star Jennifer Hudson.

“Empire” airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesday nights on Fox.