Gabourey Sidibe stars on Lee Daniels‘ Empire, a TV show about a hip-hop dynasty. And in reality, the actress says she uses music “as a tool for my entire life.”

Sidibe’s film debut came in Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire in 2009. And on My Favorite Song with John Benjamin Hickey, she revealed how music helped her get through the movie’s dark subject matter.

“What music does is it lifts my mood,” explained Sidibe, 33. “So whenever we had like a really, really heavy scene — I don’t know how he did it and I don’t know when I did it — but Lee Daniels, he had a disco ball installed above Precious’ bed on set. And so we had to shoot a scene where I was, you know, being abused by my father, and afterward, as soon as the scene was done, he pushed a button and the ball dropped and disco music came on. It alleviated the heaviness of the mood.”

Listen to all the singles Sidibe picked below. My Favorite Song with John Benjamin Hickey airs on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy (Ch. 102).

For a free 30-day trial, check out http://www.siriusxm.com/freeTrial.

Rock & Roll: Papercut (Paranoid) by Linkin Park

Love: That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You by NSYNC and Knocks Me Off My Feet by Stevie Wonder

Dance: I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston

Sad: Have You Ever? by Brandy

Duet: The Boy Is Mine by Brandy & Monica

Disco: MacArthur Park by Donna Summer

Guilty Pleasure: Invisible by Clay Aiken

Christmas: In Love on Christmas by K-Ci & JoJo

Sexy: We Can Do It Anywhere by 112

Country: Jolene by Dolly Parton

Hymn: I Am a Friend of God

Show Tune: You’re So Beautiful from Empire

Wedding: Make You Feel My Love by Adele

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