10 actors who turned to music
Kiefer Sutherland is back, but this time it’s to soothe our souls rather than save the world.
The actor, best known for his role as Jack Bauer in the spy series 24, swapped the gun for a guitar with his new album Blooor Street.
Released on Friday, it’s a smooth, intimate collection of folk rock, featuring Sutherland’s deep, grizzled baritone.
If the album’s self-titled lead single surprises you with its decent sound, it might be down to the low standards we have for music released by famous actors, because Sutherland is actually quite good.
Often, they work like collections of indulgent waffles that we have to patiently endure before the star feels inspired enough again to get back in front of the camera and do what she does best.
However, examples also abound where the actors did so well in their new musical career that it became their full-time gig.
Here are 10 celebrities, in no particular order, who have taken their talents from the big screen to the music studio with varying results.
“This kid from High Degrassi?”
It was one of many barbs thrown at the superstar rapper when he entered the hip-hop game over a decade ago.
While Degrassi: the next generation (2001-2015) has now become a cult favorite – no doubt because of Drake’s post-show appeal – the series was admittedly lame.
Perhaps Drake knew there wasn’t much to do playing Wheelchair character Jimmy, so towards the end of his run on the show he began to live an artistic double life.
During the day he would shoot episodes of the show, while the nights were spent making unannounced visits to quiet Toronto music venues and performing spoken word poetry on instrumentals.
The methodical approach extended to his studio work.
Drake built his buzz by releasing a string of mixtapes, so by the time his game-changing debut album thank me later arrived in 2010, the scene was ready to crown its new star.
2. Jennifer Lopez
An ongoing debate among J-Lo fans is whether her career began in music, before big movie roles.
While her storied career began in the late 1980s on stage as a backup dancer for MC Hammer and New Kids on the Block, Jennifer Lopez’s first major acting credits came with the comedy sketch series. In living color in 1991 and the 1994 sitcom central south.
Only after racking up a number of major film credits, including starring in the 1997 biopic Selena and 1998 Out of sight alongside George Clooney, that she launched her musical career.
Such was the success of his critically acclaimed debut album in 1999 On the 6th, with the blows If you had my love and waiting for tonight, Lopez had the music industry and Hollywood at her feet.
3. Jared Leto
A common reason actors turn to music is that it allows them to portray a different personality than they do on the big screen.
Not so for Jared Leto, as he brings the intensity of his acting work to the studio with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars.
The trio have released five epic rock albums that often feature Leto’s jaw-dropping screams.
The move worked, with Thirty Seconds To Mars scoring a string of hits, including Capricorn (a brand new name), The Murder and A beautiful Lie.
4. Russell Crowe
The Oscar-winning actor deserves full marks for his resilience, as the barrage of stark reviews thrown at his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, would have forced any comedian to stick to his day job.
It’s not that the band is horrible, it’s just that they’re so relentlessly ordinary that you can’t say they’re led by one of the best actors of his generation.
To be fair to Russell Crowe, music is not a passing interest for the Kiwi.
In fact, it was his first love that started with the band Roman Antix in the 1980s before he formed 30 Odd Foot of Grunts in 1992.
Although active with occasional live performances, the band’s last album was in 2003. Other ways of speaking.
5. Keanu Reeves
By the time he co-founded the grunge-rock trio Dogstar in 1991, Keanu Reeves was the buzz of Hollywood.
That year, he released three acclaimed films: Breaking point, Bill and Ted’s fake trip and My own private Idaho.
Considered a talent with the Midas touch, expectations were high with news of Reeves’ arrival in the studio as the band’s bassist and backing vocalist.
Unfortunately, Dogstar was a breakfast dog and the band disbanded in 2002 after a few disappointing albums.
6. Lindsay Lohan
When Lindsay Lohan entered the studio to record her debut in 2004 Speak, she was the Hollywood star of the moment and the idol of teenage girls thanks to the blockbuster films The parent trap and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
Speak, however, was a bit dated at the time, sounding more like a compilation of abandoned Britney Spears tracks.
That said, Lohan is heavily involved in her musical work and has even conducted Confessions of a Broken Heart, the first single from his 2005 album A little more personal (raw).
The dull reviews didn’t permanently remove Lohan from the studio.
After the release of the 2020 comeback single back to me, she confirmed that a new album is in preparation, to the press.
7. Zooey Deschanel
Her musical career began almost in tandem with her acting work. Two years after making his film debut in 1999 in Mumford, Zooey Deschanel formed the live jazz cabaret duo If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies, with actress Samantha Shelton.
She then joined the recording studio after meeting singer-songwriter M Ward to form the band She & Him in 2006.
The folk-rock duo, with Deschanel and Ward sharing lead vocals, released six albums which were mostly acclaimed by the independent music press.
Deschanel remains an active musical collaborator and has appeared on albums by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and contributed to some of his own films, including 500 days of summer and Your Highness.
8. Eddie Murphy
In a 1993 interview with an American newspaper The Baltimore Sun, Eddie Murphy declared himself a musician “blessed to make films for a living”.
This was in response to the comment that his previous three albums and his 1985 hit single party all the time were not serious efforts.
Although he hasn’t released another album since, Murphy has demonstrated his musical savvy throughout his career.
He showcased his fiery voice while playing musical director Jimmy Early in the 2006 drama dream girls as well as singing several tracks in the Shrek films, including covers of The Monkees’ I am a believer and that of Ricky Martin Living the crazy life.
In 2013 Murphy collaborated with Snoop Dogg on the reggae single Red light, with Murphy at the time confirming that it will be part of the as-yet-unreleased album 9.
9. Johnny Depp
Long before donning the eye patch as Captain Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Johnny Depp played guitar.
Prior to his nearly four-decade acting career, Depp was highly adept at playing the instrument and, with his rising profile, continued to express himself on tracks with rockers Oasis, Iggy Pop and Marilyn Manson.
After forming the short-lived act P, in 1993, Depp announced himself as a serious musician with Hollywood Vampires in 2012.
The super group, made up of Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, has released two albums and toured the world.
Expect more star-studded collaborations from Depp.
In 2020, he released a cover of John Lennon Isolation, the first of what he promised would be a number of new works with guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck.
10. Juliet Lewis
Hearing the first chords of You speak my language, you knew Juliette Lewis’ band, Juliette and the Licks, was serious.
This 2005 debut single set the stage for the band to become a darling of the rock press, with the quintet releasing a few well-received albums and performing alongside rock royalty Foo Fighters, Motorhead and Chris Cornell.
After their first disbandment in 2009, the band tweeted in 2018 that they were back in the studio.
One reason we haven’t heard from since might be because of Lewis’ acting career coming back into the limelight with recurring roles on drama series. Camping and holy lies, in addition to joining the main cast of 2021 Yellow jackets.
Updated: January 21, 2022, 7:32 p.m.