I have brought this up more than a couple of times at dinner parties when the conversation lags: "Can you name any actors or actresses in the last, say, thirty years who have successfully transformed themselves into good singers, musicians or songwriters?"
Most people are at a loss to come up with anyone.
Or, they come up with confusing answers like "Jamie Foxx." But was he a comedian, an actor or a musician first? I went on Wikipedia, where all the secrets of life can be found, and discovered that he studied music at Julliard. So Jamie doesn't count. He's a cool throwback to the days when actors had to also be song-and-dance men, like Sinatra.
It's easier to answer the question the other way around, musicians to actors: How about Tom Waits, Kris Kristofferson, Bjork, Ice Cube, Cher, Mos Def, John Doe and Mark Wahlberg, to name a few (Madonna not included).
But when I think of actors-turned-singers, I think of Bruce Willis, Eddie Murphy (with "My Girl Likes To Party"), Keenu Reeves (Dogstar), David Hasselhoff, and my favorite…Steven Seagal. And don't forget the tabloid-celebs-with-record-deals: Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton.
Okay, my friend Michelle has just reminded me of one actor-turned-musician whose music career has eclipsed her acting one: Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley).
I know there are more. Can you all help me?
For fun, I'll leave you with a quote from Steven Seagal:
"I don't consider any actors to be real musicians… I'm probably going to get in trouble after saying that. I think Jeff Goldblum is the only good musician."
Michelle’s note: This post hits a little close to home for me. In my day job as a songwriter-for-hire I’ve actually worked with quite a few of the “celebs-with-record-deals.” Maybe I’ll write about that for our next post? Also, some recent examples I thought of… Mini Driver, Juliette Lewis, Billy Bob Thorton and Jared Leto. Oh, and I LOVED Lyle Lovett in The Player.
Jill: Michelle, will you please tell that story of the unnamed but obvious starlet with drug problems?