40 Famous Actors You Probably Forgot That Are Musicians Too

40 Famous Actors You Probably Forgot That Are Musicians Too | Society Of Rock Videos

via AdmiralNeeda / Youtube

You know how they say, “Actors want to direct movies”? Well, some actors actually dream of becoming rock stars instead! It’s pretty cool to see how many actors from TV and movies have also tried making music. They want to entertain us in more ways than one. In this list, we’re talking about actors who you might not know also tried singing in bands or making their own music albums.

But before we jump in, let’s remember that some actors are already famous for their music stuff, so we won’t mention them here. We’re skipping acts like the Blues Brothers or Spinal Tap, and not talking about songs that got super popular for a short time, like Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time” or Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg’s “Good Vibrations.” People like Jennifer Lopez, Barbra Streisand, Machine Gun Kelly (who’s also called Colson Baker), and Kris Kristofferson have done well in both acting and music.

You probably know Rick Springfield and Ricky Martin more for singing now, even though they used to be on a soap opera called General Hospital. And then there are folks like Taylor Momsen, Jared Leto, Johnny Depp, Jack Black, Jenny Lewis, Juliette Lewis, and Zooey Deschanel, who are famous for music as well as acting.

Also, remember those actors who started in Disney shows? Well, lots of them tried music too. Like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Hilary Duff, and Lindsay Lohan. They did pretty well with their music adventures.

Now, this list goes a bit deeper to show you some actors who aren’t so obvious about their musical side. Check out the list below to find out which actors, who you might not remember as musicians, gave music a shot!

1. Keanu Reeves
In reality, Keanu Reeves really played in a genuine band; Wyld Stallyns was only a forerunner to that. Reeves made an attempt at music, playing bass for the alt-rock band Dogstar during the mid-1990s and the early 2000s. Before breaking up in 2002, the trio put out two albums, Our Little Visionary and Happy Ending. They did, however, perform at Glastonbury and serve as David Bowie’s opening act during their time together.

2. Kevin Bacon
When you include his musical endeavors, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” becomes a bit more intriguing. Yes, the Footloose actor is a seasoned musician who performs with his brother Michael as The Bacon Brothers. The duo has been around long enough to issue a “best of” collection and a live album in addition to their 1997 debut album, Forosoco. They released The Way We Love album in 2020.

3. Ed Helms
Did you know that Ed Helms, the actor from The Office, isn’t just about funny stuff? He’s also a musician who plays the piano, banjo, and guitar. Just like his character on the show, he’s into music.

When he was in college at Oberlin College, he joined his friends Ian Riggs and Jacob Tilov to form a bluegrass band called The Lonesome Trio. They even performed at Bonnaroo and released an album called The Lonesome Trio in 2013.

4. Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis became a TV pitchman for Seagram’s Wine Coolers at the height of his ’80s success for the TV show Moonlighting, frequently singing the jingle in his commercial commercials. This happened at the same time that Willis developed his vocal skills further and issued his debut album, The Return of Bruno, in 1987.

The album, which leaned heavily on R&B and Motown classics, produced a smash rendition of The Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. His subsequent albums, 1989 and 1991, weren’t as successful, but he did contribute his vocals to the soundtracks for the movies Hudson Hawk and The Whole Nine Yards.


5. Don Johnson
Johnson gained popularity in the music industry throughout the 1980s owing to Miami Vice, most notably by reaching the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 with the title track from his 1986 album Heartbeat. Together with his then-girlfriend Barbra Streisand, he also had a Top 40 success with “Till I Loved You” in 1988. His musical output consisted of two albums, with Let It Roll, released in 1989, not performing as well as its predecessor.

6. Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland, star of the television series 24, debuted his debut album, Down in a Hole, in 2016. Jude Cole, a singer-songwriter with a string of hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Sutherland collaborated closely on his country-tinged album.

While promoting the album in 2016, he even made an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Since then, he has published a second album, Reckless and Me, and along with Cole, he also shares ownership of the Ironworks Record Label.

7. Maya Rudolph
In addition to playing Beyonce alongside Prince on Saturday Night Live, the actress and comedian also fronted a Prince tribute band named Princess with Gretchen Lieberum. She has deeper musical origins because she is the offspring of singer Minnie Riperton from the 1970s and composer Richard Rudolph.

Rudolph, who is most recognized for her humorous endeavors, backed up The Rentals in the 1990s, an alt-rock band founded by Matt Sharp.

8. Josh Radnor
Do you know Ted’s musical background? Most people are familiar with Radnor as How I Met Your Mother’s charming Ted Mosby, but once the show ended, he focused on music. He and Ben Lee collaborated on the album Radnor and Lee, which they published in 2017. In 2020, they released Golden State as their follow-up. In 2021, Radnor also released a solo album titled One More Then I’ll Let You Go.

9. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada began playing in the metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s, however she is most recognized for her acting appearances. The band was established in 2002, their self-titled first album was published in 2006, and they even participated in an Ozzfest tour. Despite the band’s success at Ozzfest, their career was brief; their final record was released in 2006.


10. Scarlett Johansson
The first indications of her singing career were in 2006 when she sang “Summertime” on the album Unexpected Dreams. She then recorded a Tom Waits tribute album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, in 2008 after making a high-profile guest performance with Jesus & Mary Chain at Coachella in 2007. When she collaborated with singer-songwriter Pete Yorn on the album Break Up in 2009, she produced some of her greatest work.

11. Brittany Murphy
Prior to her passing in 2009, Murphy, who was most recognized for her cinematic appearances, also dabbled in music. Her biggest singing achievement came in 2006 when she sang on DJ Paul Oakenfold’s song “Faster Kill Pussycat.” She also covered Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland” for the film Happy Feet. She formed a band called Blessed Soul in the early ’90s with actor Eric Balfour.

12. Leighton Meester
Leighton Meester, who played Blair on Gossip Girl, left Constance Billard in 2009 and immediately began a career in music. Her first record as a featured artist was “Somebody to Love,” which had a cameo from Robin Thicke; she also made an appearance on the Awesome New Republic song “Birthday” before scoring her first smash singing on the Cobra Starship song “Good Girls Go Bad.” Heartstrings, her lone and final album, was released in 2014.

13. Penn Badgley / Ed Westwick
Some multitaskers were on the Gossip Girl cast. In addition to the previously mentioned Leighton Meester having some radio success, two of her on-screen lovers from the popular TV program also developed a love for music.

Penn Badgley, who portrayed Dan in the show and most recently appeared in Netflix’s You, is a member of the indie pop band MOTHXR and sings and plays keyboards in it. 2016 saw the release of Centerfold, their debut album. The British punk band The Filthy Youth formed in 2006, and Ed Westwick, who plays Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, was a part of that group. More recently, Westwick is the vocalist of the band For You.

14. Adam Brody
Despite his popularity on The O.C., Brody continued to pursue his passion for music, much like his on-screen persona. Bret Harrison, a member of the band Reaper, joined him in starting the group. Brody played drums for the band Big Japan when they released their debut album, Music for Dummies (later renamed an unnamed effort), in 2005.

15. Michael Cera
It wasn’t that far-fetched to cast Michael Cera as Sex Bob-Omb’s eponymous bassist in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Alongside fellow actor Clark Duke, he was a member of the band The Long Goodbye. In 2010, he began playing bass for the indie rock band Mister Heavenly. He released True That, his debut solo album, in 2014.

16. Finn Wolfhard
When he joined the band Calpurnia as the main vocalist and guitarist after first becoming famous as a kid actor in Netflix’s Stranger Things, Finn showed he had musical skills as well. Wolfhard’s band The Aubreys, which provided the music for his most recent film The Turning, was founded more recently.

17. Tyler Posey
Over the years, the former star of MTV’s Teen Wolf has been highly active in the music industry. For the band Lost in Kostko, which became Disappearing Jamie between 2011 and 2013, he first played guitar and sang. He later restarted his musical career, performing with the pop-punk group PVMNTS, whose Better Days EP was published in 2018. In 2019, he and his boyhood buddy Kyle Murphy founded the band Five North. Scumbag, their debut EP, was made available in 2020.

18. Ezra Miller
Actor Ezra Miller, who starred in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was anything but a wallflower growing up. He began training as an opera singer when he was six years old, putting those pipes on show at an early age. Later, he would perform drumming and vocals with the band Sons of an Illustrious Father. In 2019, the group debuted a video for their rendition of “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls.

19. Chris Mintz-Plasse
Mintz-Plasse, the breakthrough star of SuperBad, has dabbled in music throughout the years. Between 2007 until 2015, he played drums with The Young Rapscallions before helping to start the band Bear on Fire, when he switched to bass.

20. Zoe Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, Zoe, pursued music as her acting career flourished. She performed at South by Southwest with Elevator Fight, her band, as well as The Citizens Band, a cabaret group. By 2013, she had started the band Lolawolf, who put out their self-titled first album the following year. Then came the 2020 album Tenderness. She has also contributed vocals to tracks by Janelle Monae, Drake, Will.i.am, and Rae Sremmurd.

21. Steven Seagal
The action hero from the 1990s experimented in music in the 2000s, putting out his debut album Songs From the Crystal Cave in 2005. His debut album, which also featured collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Lady Saw among others, was heavily influenced by the R&B and blues sounds he loved. The soundtrack to Seagal’s 2005 movie Into the Sun also featured some of his own songs, and a second CD named Mojo Priest was later made available.

22. Billy Bob Thornton
Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, Billy Bob Thornton has been highly active in the music industry. He launched his musical career in 2001 with the country-influenced album Private Radio.

Prior to joining the band The Boxmasters, he would record a total of four albums throughout the first ten years of the twenty-first century. The more rock-oriented Boxmasters, who spent 12 years with Thornton, put out 10 albums, including a holiday CD.

23. Robert Pattinson
Over the years, the Twilight and Tenet actor experimented with music, and his work frequently appeared in his movies. Though his job is in acting, he began playing the piano and guitar when he was just four years old.

Three more of his original songs—”Never Think” and “Let Me Sign”—were added to the How to Be album. Two of his songs—”Never Think” and “Let Me Sign”—appeared on the Twilight soundtracks. Additionally, he played guitar on the Death Grips song “Birds” and co-wrote the song “Willow” for the High Life soundtrack with the band Tindersticks. When Pattinson appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers, he also joined the band Haim.

24. Macauley Culkin
With his comic rock band The Pizza Underground, the Home Alone actor briefly entered the music industry. In the band that largely mimicked Velvet Underground songs with lyrics about pizza, Culkin played kazoo, drums, and sang. They made a demo in 2013, put out their debut video a year later, but by 2018, they had broken up.

25. Michael Shannon
Although the Boardwalk Empire and The Shape of Water actor haven’t frequently displayed his musical talent on television, he has been active in the music industry ever since he founded the folk-rock band Corporal in 2002. Shannon performs with the ensemble on guitar, keyboard, and vocals. In 2010, they released their sole studio album under that name.

26. Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase played with some Rock and Roll Hall of Famers while he was a college student, though he probably wasn’t aware of it at the time. His SNL castmates John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd created the Blues Brothers and had the opportunity to perform with some renowned artists.

Chase played in a collegiate jazz group called The Leather Canary with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who would later establish Steely Dan. In addition, he played drums for the rock group Chamaeleon Church, which split up in 1969 after recording an album for MGM.

27. Jeff Goldblum
The jazz community has welcomed Jeff Goldblum with open arms. He has spent a significant chunk of the past ten years becoming more immersed in music after joining the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra for a weekly performance.

The Capitol Studio Sessions was published in 2018 thanks to a recording deal the trio had with Decca Records. In 2019, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, another album, was released. Goldblum has also made appearances at a few events.

28. Craig Robinson
In Hot Tub Time Machine and Dolemite Is My Name, Robinson showed off some of his musical prowess, but he has also performed live. The Nasty Delicious, a band that includes Robinson’s brother Chris Rob, is named. The Office also included the band in one of their episodes.

29. Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid caught the music bug after performing on stage with Harry Dean Stanton’s band. He later started Dennis Quaid & The Sharks as a result. Quaid and his band have largely performed in the L.A. area, playing a fusion of rock ‘n’ roll, country, and soul. club circuit, with the actor occasionally adding original music to the soundtracks of some of his movies. Out of the Box, the group’s long-awaited album was released in 2018.

30. Gary Sinise
Since receiving praise for his performance as the disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the Forrest Gump movie in 1994, actor Ian Sinise has capitalized on the attention surrounding that role by launching the Lt. Dan Band, which has played over 400 concerts and is frequently invited to play on U.S.O. tours for service members. Their performances include rock and pop, and they frequently raise money for veterans’ charities.

31. Steve Martin
Steve Martin sometimes included a banjo in his comedy shows. However, his banjo playing is quite impressive. Martin started learning the guitar when he was 17, and his love for it has continued to grow. In 2001, he contributed to the music of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” which later won a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance.

In 2009, he released his first music album and even appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Over the last decade, he has progressed in his music career by touring and performing with the Steep Canyon Rangers, releasing several successful bluegrass albums.

32. Jensen Ackles
In 2018, the Supernatural star made the decision to launch the band Radio Company with longtime partner Steve Carlson. Before choosing to establish the band, the two had been composing and performing together for about 15 years. They had also co-written the song “Different Town,” which served as the basis for a rockumentary. In 2019, the group’s debut album was released.

33. Lucy Hale
Hale began her shift from television to music in 2014 when her country album, Road Between, was released. In addition, two soundtrack CDs for Katy Keene and two songs for A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song included the Pretty Little Liars actress.

34. Fred Armisen
A frequent drummer for Late Night With Seth Meyers’ 8G House Band, the former Saturday Night Live and Portlandia performer has continued to display his musical prowess behind the drum kit. While performing with the punk rock band Trenchmouth in the 1980s and 1990s, he also occasionally added backup drums from The Blue Man Group.

His musical origins, however, date back much further. Albums with Matthew Sweet, Les Savvy Fav, and Wandering Lucy are among his other recordings as a drummer.

35. Kevin Costner
In the realm of entertainment, Kevin Costner has pretty much done it all. Since 2007, he has also released music with his country-rock band, Kevin Costner & Modern West. Untold Truths, the group’s first country album, was released in 2008. The trio has put out four studio albums, one of which was influenced by the infamous Hatfield and McCoy rivalry.

36. Russell Crowe
Although Russell Crowe is best known as an Oscar-winning actor, he has also kept music in mind throughout the years. He first cut a song called “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in the 1980s while recording as Russell Le Roq. He created the rock group Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts in 1992 after deciding to give it a go. He sang and played guitar in the group.

By 2005, he had gone on to a brand-new venture with Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea called The Ordinary Fear of God. His most recent musical endeavor, Indoor Garden Party, was formed in 2017 alongside Doyle and actor Scott Grimes.

37. Jack Wagner
In the 1980s, he portrayed rock star-turned-WSB agent Frisco Jones on General Hospital and saw radio success with the number-one single “All I Need,” which benefited from the soap opera’s sizable ’80s fanbase. Wagner continued to perform and finally landed on Fox’s Melrose Place. Throughout the years, he also recorded six studio albums.

38. Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie, a star of the television series House, began learning music at a young age and has since mastered the piano, drums, harmonica, and saxophone. In 2010, he finally made the leap and released the blues album Let Them Talk. He has frequently found ways to incorporate his musical talent into his roles. Didn’t It Rain, the second album, was released in 2013. Both records outperformed those made in the United States. Blues Graph.

39. Jason Schwartzman
Rushmore, which he starred in, was Schwartzman’s breakthrough picture, although he was also seeking a career in music. From 1994 until 2003, he played drums for the alt-rock hitmakers Phantom Planet. After quitting the band, he carried on recording under the name Coconut Records.

40. Adrian Grenier
The Entourage star has a history with bands, but in recent years, his interest in music has taken a new turn. After playing drums for the band The Honey Brothers and singing in the band Kid Friendly, he made the decision to start the Wreckroom music incubator and studio in 2012. Music showcases have been held at Wreckroom, and they have assisted musicians in getting their music out there.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.