When Actors Want to Conquer the Music Industry As Well

Movie stars have the ability to captivate their audiences through their strong performances, as time and time again, they are able to come up with an award-worthy performance. There are however some who aim at showing off their creative prowess beyond television and cinema. These stars did not stick with one course of action, as they diversified their creative portfolios by sharing their musical capabilities with the world.

Scarlet Johansson

Source: Hype MY

Just because these movies stars were able to amaze you behind the screen, does not necessarily imply that they were able to do justice to the music industry as well. Some succeeded in standing out through their music, while others failed miserably. In this article, we will cover 40 movie stars who took on to the stage and shared their musical passions with the world. Go ahead and check out some of their music as you go along, maybe you’ll end up finding a song you haven’t heard in years.

A Singer and a Multi-Instrumentalist – Ryan Gosling

Starting his career as a child star in the 90’s, Ryan Gosling rose to stardom over a span of two decades, with many hits under his belt such as La La Land and the Big Short. Other than his acting career, Ryan Gosling is part of the rock band named Dead Man’s Bones.

Ryan Gosling

Source: weheartit

The band includes one of his best friends, Zach Shields, and since its inception in 2007, the band has released one musical album. The two of them met back in 2005, and released their first solo called ‘Put Me in the Car’. In the band, Ryan acts as a multi-instrumentalist, with having the expertise of playing numerous instruments like a guitar, piano, and bass. Not to mention, he is also the lead singer for the band.

John Wick Knows How to Sing – Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves is justifiably known as one of the nicest people from Hollywood due to his humble nature. He, however, is also known as someone who plays John Wick, a murderous assassin. What a lot of people do not know about him is that he was once part of an alternative rock group named Dogstar, which he co-founded with his friend Robert Mailhouse in a supermarket.

Keanu Reeves

Source: tonedeaf.thebrag.com

Keanu acted as the bassist for the band, providing backing vocals every now and then. The band started in 1991 and soon ended in the early 2000s as Keanu wanted to focus on his acting career. During the time it was active, the band released two albums. It is said that they were around longer because of how popular Keanu was.

A Hip-Hop Sensation – Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx is definitely one of the standout stars from this list, as he has not only won an Oscar, the biggest award in acting; he has also won the Grammy award, considered the biggest award in music. His musical genres include hip-hop, R&B, and pop, and he has produced four top-charting albums. Throughout his career, Jamie Foxx has collaborated with big names in the music industry such as Kanye West.

Jamie Foxx and Barbara Streisand

Source: EURweb

He was part of West’s song “Slow Jamz” and he released the song “Blame It” in 2009, which became the number two song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He even has a single featuring The Black Eyed Peas. Even if you think you don’t know his music, check it out. There’s a pretty high chance you’ve heard it before.

Tony Stark’s Musical Career – Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr was not always the household name of Hollywood as he is today. His journey of returning from drug abuse to being the most popular superhero for the biggest movie franchise in the world is nothing short of miraculous. Downey has also experimented with his vocal capabilities by releasing an album called the Futurist in 2004.

Robert Downey Jr

Source: Wire Image

The album however received mix reviews from audiences and critics alike. Furthermore, he has been part of the soundtrack of a handful of films including Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and has recorded a popular cover of the song “River”. After this album he said he was not going to release another album and he felt like the energy he put into the Futurist was not compensated, and he would rather be spending the time with his family.

A Die-Hard Passion for Music – Bruce Willis

Receiving critical acclaim for his role in the blockbuster Die Hard, a movie that now has a cult following among fans, Bruce Willis has also tried to entertain his fans through his musical career. He has been part of the soundtracks of various films, and he is a core part of the band The Accelerators.

Bruce Willis

Source: Daily Mail

Bruce’s passion for music is not newfound, as he released his first solo album called “The Return of Bruno” way back in 1987. This album was actually produced by the famous Motown Records. Booker T. Jones and The Pointer Sisters backed up Willis in the album. Also, The Temptations backed him up in this album, how crazy? He proceeded by releasing another album in 2001.

The Troubled Starlet – Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan’s attempt at a career in music did not really live up to her or anyone else’s expectations, but even then, she has been able to achieve a lot over the years. She released her first studio album in 2004, consisting of the hit single “Rumors” which ended up winning the MTV’s VMA nomination.

Lindsay Lohan

Source: Pop Crush

Up till now, Lindsay has released and produced six music videos and five singles along with two albums. Her albums have won gold certifications from Billboard, with some singles reaching the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts.

Kiefer Sutherland Goes Country – Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland is notably known for his role as Jack Bauer in the show “24”. Lasting for about a decade, the dedication to the show did not give Kiefer enough time to work on his other passion, country music. Soon after the show wrapped up, he released his debut album in 2016 called “Down in the Hole”.

Kiefer Sutherland

Source: Taste of Country

Kiefer has also toured throughout North America with his band. He recently released his second album “Reckless and Me”, which went on to top the UK Country Albums chart.

The Tale of the Modern West – Kevin Costner

A number of the actors on our list have a special love for country music. In 2007, Kevin Costner formed a country music band, Kevin Costner & Modern West, which then went on to tour globally. The band’s first album Untold Truths was able to peak to the 35th position in the Heatseekers chart and the 61st position in the top country albums chart.

Kevin Costner

Source: News Times

The band has not received global recognition and it does have much of a big fan following as well. Nevertheless, they released their second album in 2010 Turn It On, exclusively in Europe and another album a year later.

John Stamos and the Beach Boys – John Stamos

John Stamos, the talented actor who portrayed Jesse on “Fuller House” is also a talented musician who has covered the pop-rock genre through his solo act and along with his partnership with the Beach Boys. Stamos picked up the drumsticks as soon as he was four, and he has formed his own band as well.

John Stamos and Jimmy Buffet


He released an album titled “Shades of Blue” in 1994 and has performed at Broadway numerous times. He plays multiple instruments with the Beach Boys, and once even acted as the lead vocals for the fresh version of their song “Forever”.

Captain Marvel’s History as a Pop Star – Brie Larson

Before taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel, Brie Larson was a pop star who released her first album back in 2005 called “Finally out of P.E”. The lyrical content of the songs often depicted her frustrations and failed opportunities, with songs like “Invisible Girl” and “Whatever.”.

Brie Larson

Source: IMDb

Her musical career, however, was short-lived, as she began focusing on her acting career. In this short time span, she was able to tour with Jesse McCartney, and one of her singles became Billboard’s most-played videos in their weekly listing.

Hollywood’s Martial Artist – Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal is a martial artist, actor, and musician, a combination of professions not commonly found. His attempt at his musical creativeness has resulted in two albums, the first one called Songs from the Crystal Cave, while the other one titled “Mojo Priest”.

Steven Seagal

Source: Liverpool Echo

Apart from his albums, he has also lent his voice to various soundtracks of his own films and has collaborated with legendary names like Stevie Wonder. Covering themes of spirituality and relationships in his songs, his musical efforts were considered mediocre.

Juliette and the Licks – Juliette Lewis

Known for portraying characters in movies with dark themes, Juliette Lewis is an Academy Award nominee who initiated her musical career in 2003 by forming “Juliette and the Licks”. The rock band produced their first album in 2004, with another album releasing the year after that.

Juliette Lewis

Source: Westword

The band ran its course till 2009, and by that time, they had been successful in dropping hit singles such as “Hot Kiss”. Juliette proceeded as a solo artist after her band split, and the band reunited in 2015, going for a musical tour.

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Journey Towards Rock N Roll- Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, portraying a wide range of characters and doing justice to them all. Depp also has a deep-rooted passion for music. He was once the co-owner of a rock venue located in Los Angeles, and he himself has been part of two rock bands acting as a guitarist and providing backing vocals.

Johnny Depp

Source: Wirewag

Depp has been part of bands such as Hollywood Vampires and the Rock City Angels. Hollywood Vampires is a band that he himself formed in 2015, and since then the band has released two albums consisting of classic rock covers and some originals co-written by Depp.

A Teen IDOL- Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff rose to prominence through her breakthrough character, Lizzie McGuire, a character that became another one of Disney’s households’ name. She started her musical career through her first holidays themed album called “Santa Claus Lane” in 2002, and from then she has gone on to release a total of 5 studio albums.

Hilary Duff

Source: Marie Claire

She has been on the receiving end of great commercial success and critical acclaim. Many of her singles and albums have been certified as gold and platinum, with a number of singles topping charts and breaking records. Hilary has an expansive acting career in her resume too, starring in projects like “Younger”.

A Band for the Pizza Lovers – Macaulay Culkin

Who does not love Macaulay Culkin in the hit family movie Home Alone? His quirkiness won the hearts of millions of fans worldwide, and recently he formed a comedy rock band known as “The Pizza Underground” to express his musical talents.

Macaulay Culkin

Source: TV Guide

Macaulay Culkin played kazoo, percussions and provided vocals for the band, a band that gave out pizza boxes to their live audiences. His music adventure was a short one though, as the band only lasted for five years. Being a parody band, most of their work revolved around adjusting rock hits to the theme of pizza, something that was usually considered insulting by many rock fans.

A Pretty Little Musician – Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale’s journey into the music industry starts back in 2003 when she was one of the winners of the music competition “American Juniors”. She, however, shifted her energies on her acting career, leading to her landing roles such as Aria Montgomery on the hit ABC show Pretty Little Liars.

Lucy Hale

Source: Billboard

Even with her acting success, Lucy felt a void that she thought could only be filled by music. This is why she signed a music contract in 2012 and released her own country album two years later. The album consisting of the single “You Sound Good to Me” was met with positive reception from audiences and critics alike.

For the Love of Jazz – Hugh Laurie

Portraying everyone’s favorite doctor in the highly successful and long-running “House”, Hugh Laurie has outdone himself through his musical career. Hugh Laurie possesses the capability of operating a number of instruments, and he has an amazing voice, a combination of talents he has used for a charitable endeavor “Band from TV” as well.

Hugh Laurie

Source: Daily Express

His work primarily revolves around the blues genre, as he has released two solo albums under his name. He has a particular love for jazz music, especially the music of New Orleans, perhaps inspiring his own musical works too.

A Strong Vocal Range and Command – Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith began her career in music in 2002, when she formed the metal band Wicked Wisdom. Her inspirations include Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, as she released her first metal album in 2006, with her husband Will Smith acting as the executive producer of the project.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Source: tpepost

The album reached the 44th position of the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart, with many recognizing her strong command over her vocals and expressions. The band has also opened for a Britney Spear’s concert tour, and were able to blow away the audience in the Ozzfest of 2005.

A Gangster on the Stage – Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci is a Hollywood legend, appearing in numerous films during the late 20th century portraying dark and tough characters. His acting chops landed him to an Oscar award, but he did not receive the same level of praise and appreciation for his musical efforts.

Joe Pesci

Source: YouTube

He released a cover album in 1968, and thirty years later, he released his second album called “Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You”. The name of this album was derived from a character from one of his previous movies. The album explored serious themes with a big band jazz genre, and it was unanimously panned by critics.

A Pitch-Perfect Voice – Anna Kendrick

Starting off her career as a child actor, Anna Kendrick had her first big breakthrough the Twilight saga by playing Jessica. From then she has been part of many notable films including the Pitch Perfect series. Looking to complement her success from acting, she ventured towards the music industry.

Anna Kendrick

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Since then, she has enjoyed success in her music by releasing the hit single “Cups” and many other songs. Numerous movie soundtracks including Up in the Air, The Last Five Years and Trolls also include the voice of Anna Kendrick.

Voice of the “Donkey” – Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is a critically acclaimed actor and a comedian, who was the star of the blockbuster 80’s movie Beverly Hill Cops, the highest-grossing comedy of that time. Murphy carried his acting and musical career side by side, as to this date he has released three albums, which also consist of the hit single “Party All Time”.

Eddie Murphy

Source: Screen Rant

After releasing his last album in 1993, Murphy has been periodically releasing fresh music for his fans. Giving voice to the fan-favorite character Donkey from the extremely popular Shrek series, Murphy also provided vocals for some songs for the soundtracks of the movies as well.

A Poor Choice for an Album’s Name – Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt was the star of a number of television shows and movies in the late 20th century, such as Fox’s teen drama Party of Five. Her passion for music was evident from a very young age, as she released her first album at the age of 12. She then soon signed with a label to release two new albums in 1995 and 1996, with one of the album named “Let’s Go Bang”.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Source: Scribol

As one might expect from the name of the album, the album failed to strike a chord with the audiences, resulting in both of them being commercial failures. Her fourth shot at an album came in 2002 when she released “BareNaked”. To Jennifer’s relief, this album was able to get the job done, as it got listed in the Billboard 200 charts.

Straight from the Grand Budapest Hotel – Jason Schwartzman

Jason Schwartzman is popularly known for his memorable roles in Wes Anderson movies, such as the Grand Budapest Hotel, which appeared in the BBC’s poll of the greatest films since 2000. His music endeavors started as a drummer and songwriter with Phantom Planet in 1994.

Jason Schwartzman

Source: YouTube

He later went on to form his own band called Coconut Records, which covered the genres of rock and pop. The band has released two albums since 2007, including the hit single West Coast. He has also performed the score of a movie and produced the theme song for an HBO show.

The Pretty Reckless – Taylor Momsen

Taylor Momsen rose to prominence from the Gossip Girl, but she has been off from the current show biz scene ever since the show aired its last episode in 2012. Her efforts are now primarily focused on her music, as she has to lead her band The Pretty Reckless into releasing three albums since 2009.

Taylor Momsen

Source: NME

She acts as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the band, and the band’s first album peaked at number 6 in the UK. Additionally, her songs have been part of various TV shows and movies including the Vampire Diaries and Kick-Ass.

Tunes from the Black Widow – Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson has had a great share of success at Hollywood, with much of her fan base linked to her portrayal of Black Widow, in a number of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She did not experience similar success from her musical releases though, with her first cover album Anywhere I Lay My Head categorized as mundane.

Scarlett Johansson

Source: My Daily News

She, however, revived her musical career through the indie-folk album Break Up, which was positively received by the rock-loving audiences.

The Bacon Brothers – Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon is a prolific actor, who has been part of Hollywood for a long time. This extensive experience in the field has to lead him into making a number of connections in and out of the entertainment industry. Kevin Bacon has been working on his music alongside his brother in a country-rock band called the Bacon Brothers.

Kevin Bacon

Source: AARP

The band took off in 1995 and has released seven studio albums since then. The band continues to tour around the US and Europe to this date, with the band doing more than 40 shows in the summer of 2018.

The Gladiator – Russell Crowe

We all know Russell Crowe from the 2002 hit film Gladiator, which earned him his Oscar as well. Long before his major breakthrough, he performed under the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, serving as the lead vocals and guitarist for the band.

Russell Crowe

Source: YouTube

The band enjoyed great success, with it performing across the US in a sold-out tour. In 2005, the band dissolved and since then Crowe diverted his attention to a new band called The Ordinary Fear of God.

A Kickstarter Campaign Gone Wrong – Zosia Mamet

In her acting career, Zosia has been part of the HBO series Girls, playing Shoshana Shapiro, along with some other roles in TV shows like Mad Men. On the other hand, Zosia Mamet’s musical career revolves around her own band Chacha.

Zosia Mamet

Source: Buzzfeed

She was the target of great controversy and criticism when she partnered up with her sister as the Cabin Girls. The duo started a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund their music video, requesting a huge amount of $32,000. They however clearly failed to meet the target, as they could only gather up $3,000 from their campaign.

Sixties Influenced Rock N Roll – Billy Bob Thornton

Music has been part of Billy Bob Thornton since the time he was 10. An Oscar award winner, Billy Bob was part of small independent bands before the start of his illustrious career.

Billy Bob Thornton and James Taylor

Source: YouTube

His musical career is captured in the nine albums he has released as a solo artist and from his band the Boxmasters. The band started back in 2007, and their music is greatly inspired by the Rock n Roll of the sixties.

A Businesswoman, Actor and a Singer – Gwyneth Paltrow

A highly decorated actress with an Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award in her resume, Gwyneth Paltrow has done it all. Her set of talents extend towards singing as well, as even though she is not part of any band or has ever released an album, she has released a number of singles, with two of them classified as platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Source: Hello Magazine

The Goop founder’s singing has also been featured in different movies and television shows, such as Glee, and Duets and Country Strong.

Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski – Jeff Bridges

Bridges is an avid country music fan, and he released his debut album Be Here Soon in the year 2000. He learned how to play piano at a very young age, and was known to play the guitar between takes. He has recorded various covers of renowned songs, some of them even being part of a movie’s soundtrack.

Jeff Bridges

Source: Pinterest

He was also a part of the charity song “We are the world”, consisting of 80 musicians. In 2011, he went on to sign his first contract with a music label, soon after which he released a new album. Additionally, he released a spoken-word album in 2015 to support his charity that fights against child hunger.

A New Girl in the Music Biz- Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel is famously known for her lead role in the television series New Girl. Zooey has a deep-rooted attachment with music as well and has often presented her vocal capabilities in different movies and television shows. She duet-ted with Will Farrell in the movie Elf and she has established her own jazz cabaret act as well.

Zooey Deschanel

Source: Le Blow

Furthermore, Zooey collaborated with M.Ward in their musical duo She & Him, a combination that received outstanding reviews from audiences and critics. Zooey has also performed live on numerous events, such as performing the United States anthem before a World Series match.

The School of Rock’s Teacher – Jack Black

Jack Black has been a life-long fan of rock music, a passion that leads him to his musical career in rock n roll. In 1994, he formed the comedy rock band Tenacious D. with his best friend, releasing four albums since then.

Jack Black

Source: Paste Magazine

One of their singles “Tribute” has gone on to become a fan-favorite, boosting their popularity overseas too. Jack Black’s band was also the subject of a movie in 2006; however, it did poorly at the box office. The band continues to sell out stadiums and arenas, including the Maddison Square Garden, and they have won a Grammy award for the best comedy album.

The Banjo Player from Texas – Steve Martin

A banjo became a staple of Steve Martin’s stand-up routines, and he later went on to capitalize on his musical talents. Steve Martin is a multi-Grammy award winner, winning the award in the categories of Best Country Instrument Performance and Best Bluegrass Album.

Steve Martin

Source: YouTube

He won the Grammy for the bluegrass album in 2010 for his debut album “The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo”. Moreover, for recognizing others for their work on the Bluegrass genre and as banjo players, he launched the Steve Martin Prize in 2010.

The Childish Gambino – Donald Glover

Donald Glover is the artist behind the 2018 hit song “This Is America”, which not only peaked at number one in the Hot 100 list but also won four Grammy awards. Before he was a mainstream hip-hop artist, Donald Glover was an actor and writer, who started his acting career while he was a student in college, with the NBC sitcom 30 rock.

Donald Glover

Source: Slate

His musical career consists of three studio albums, four EP and a number of mixtapes. Additionally, he has collaborated with other artists and acted as a featured artist in multiple songs.

The Greatest Superhero/Showman – Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman is synonymous with the Wolverine, a fan-favorite superhero who he portrayed for a record 17 years. Other than his adventures consisting of shredding enemies with his claws, Hugh Jackman has also starred in numerous Broadway shows where he has shown off his singing talents.

Hugh Jackman

Source: Pop Sugar

He is currently on his debut concert tour in which he performs the songs from his movie The Greatest Showman, a movie for which he has won a Grammy award too.

Just Another Avenger Who Can Sing – Jeremy Renner

You may know Jeremy Renner as Hawk Eye from the Avengers franchise, a superhero who does not miss a single target from his bow and arrow. Similar to his character, Jeremy Renner also never miss a single note, as he has showcased his vocal capabilities on a number of film soundtracks.

Jeremy Renner

Source: Comic Book

Jeremy Renner is also a drummer, keyboardist, and guitarist, and he has appeared in the music videos of P!nk and Brother Saul.

30 Seconds to Mars – Jared Leto

An actor recognized for his method acting skills, Jared Leto took to the stage in 1998 when he started an alternative rock band called 30 seconds to Mars. Leto’s band received mainstream attention after their second album was released in 2005, after which they have gone to sell over 15 million albums.

Jared Leto

Source: Kyiv Post

Leto’s musical genius is also on display in some of the music videos he has directed, including the MTV award-winning video The Kill.

Portraying a Pop Culture ICON – Don Johnson

Don Johnson played the role of the notorious Detective Sonny, a pop culture icon, in Miami Vice, and the titular character of the show Nash Bridges. What a lot of people do not know about Don Johnson is that he was also actively working on his musical career alongside these major roles.

Don Johnson

Source: Commons.wikipedia

One of his singles called Heartbeat peaked at number 5 on the hot 100 singles chart. His musical achievements include two studio albums, both released in the 1980s, along with co-writing some songs.

From an Acting Career to Musical Stardom – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus was the idol of every young girl, as her character Hannah Montana had grown insanely popular. Her popularity from Disney catapulted her to a musical career in which she has sold more than 75 million records.

Miley Cyrus

Source: YouTube

She has released several hits in her career, which includes songs such as “7 things” and “Party in the U.S”. Miley is just about to release her seventh studio album, with the previous albums becoming the number one albums on US Billboard. Her list of accolades also includes nine top-ten entries on the Billboard Hot 100, including the massively popular “Wrecking Ball”.