15 Actors Who Are Also Musicians
These amazing actors rock not just the big and small screens but also the stage. From great tunes to electric performances, these talented folks prove there's more to them than what meets the eye in terms of talent.
Get ready to groove as we uncover the awesome world of actors who also love and play music.
Birthdate: Sept. 2, 1964
Bottom Line: Keanu Reeves
"John Wick" and "Matrix" A-lister Keanu Reeves showcases a different side of his artistic talents as a member of the band Dogstar. Formed in the early 1990s, Dogstar is an alternative rock band that consists of Reeves (on bass), Robert Mailhouse (drums) and Gregg Miller (lead vocal and guitar.)
Dogstar managed to secure a dedicated fan base and even released two albums, "Our Little Visionary" in 1996 and "Happy Ending" in 2000, and then called it quits soon after. But they're back in 2023 with a new record, "Somewhere Between the Power Lines and the Palm Trees," and are currently touring.
Birthdate: Nov. 12, 1980
Bands: Dead Man's Bones
Bottom Line: Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling blew fans away with his depiction of Ken in the "Barbie" movie, particularly his show-stopping tune, "I'm Just Ken," which even made it to No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Rock & Alternative Songs. What people don't realize is how musical Gosling is — he got his showbiz start on the Disney Channel's "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the mid-1990s, which involved plenty of singing and dancing.
In 2009, he released a very un-Ken-like record (think LoFi gothic folk) with friend Zach Shields in the form of Dead Man's Bones, which also features the children's choir from Los Angeles' Silverlake Conservatory. The album was the band's only release thus far. But perhaps, as Keanu Reeves did, Gosling will come back to music in the wake of his "I'm Just Ken" success.
Birthdate: Feb. 9, 1943
Bands: Joey Dee and the Starliters
Bottom Line: Joe Pesci
You know Joe Pesci from his tough guy roles in films like "Goodfellas," "Raging Bull," "Casino" and "The Irishman," among countless others, but his first love has always been music. Pesci played guitar for Joey Dee and the Starliters, known for their hit single, "Peppermint Twist," in 1961. (Jimi Hendrix was also a guitarist for the band at a different time.)
After the Startliters, Pesci was a solo artist under the name of Joe Ritchie, whose debut, "Little Joe Sure Can Sing!" was released in 1968. He focused on movies for about the next 25 years before releasing "Vincent Laguardia Gambini Sings Just for You," music from his "My Cousin Vinny" persona.
With the exception of 2019's "The Irishman," Pesci has retired from the silver screen, but he still manages to put out music on occasion. His last album, "Pesci... Still Singing,"wasreleased the same year.
Birthdate: June 26, 1980
Bands: Phantom Planet
Bottom Line: Jason Schwartzman
Jason Schwartzman is best known for his roles in several Wes Anderson films, such as "Astroid City," "The French Dispatch," "The Darjeeling Limited," "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Rushmore," among others.
He's also had a very successful stint in music. He was the original drummer for the band Phantom Planet, who were best known for their hit single, “California,” the theme song for "The O.C." Schwartzman also released music under the moniker Coconut Records — his album, "Nighttiming," came out in 2007 and had guest appearances by Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst.
Plus, he still occasionally composes music for films.
Birthdate: Dec. 26, 1971
Bands: Thirty Seconds to Mars
Bottom Line: Jared Leto
Jared Leto is the frontman for Thirty Seconds to Mars, which he formed with brother Shannon Leto in 1998. His foray into music is by far the most successful on this list.
The band's second album, "A Beautiful Lie," sold 5 million copies, and they've been topping the alternative charts ever since. They are currently on tour in support of the album, "It’s the End of the World but It’s A Beautiful Day," set for release in September 2023.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Birthdate: Sept. 18, 1971
Bands: Wicked Wisdom
Bottom Line: Jada Pinkett Smith
You already know Will Smith was one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Price, but did you know his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was the frontwoman for a metal band called Wicked Wisdom?
Founded in 2002, Wicked Wisdom's sound blends elements of nu-metal and alternative metal, and their energetic performances earned them spots on major music festivals and tours. In 2021, Wicked Wisdom reunited for a special Mother's Day episode of "Red Table Talk," with Willow Smith, Jada's daughter, on lead vocals.
Birthdate: July 27, 1972
Bands: The Rentals
Bottom Line: Maya Rudolph
Maya Rudolph is music royalty — her mother was none other than singer Minnie Riperton who had a massive hit in 1975 with "Lovin' You."
Rudolph went into comedy via "Saturday Night Live," but music was always close to her heart. In the 1990s, she was a member of the The Rentals, an alternative band started by the one of the members of Weezer.
Currently, she's one of the vocalists for a Prince tribute band, Princess.
Birthdate: Jan. 17, 1980
Bands: She & Him
Bottom Line: Zooey Deschanel
Zooey Deschanel's music career showcases her talents beyond acting. In collaboration with M. Ward, she formed the folk duo She & Him in 2006. The duo's albums have been well-received for their catchy melodies and Deschanel's soulful, quirky delivery.
Aside from their albums of original music, She & Him released a few successful Christmas albums as well as "Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson" in 2022.
Birthdate: July 8, 1958
Bands: The Bacon Brothers
Bottom Line: Kevin Bacon
Alongside his brother Michael, Kevin Bacon formed folk-rock band The Bacon Brothers in the mid-1990s.
Their most recent album, "Erato," was released in 2022. Proceeds from their latest single, "Philly Thing," benefit Rock to the Future, a nonprofit that supports student-driven music programs for Philadelphia children.
Birthdate: Nov. 22, 1984
Bands: Pete Yorn, solo artist
Bottom Line: Scarlett Johansson
Before getting into acting, Scarlett Johansson trained to be a singer. She released her debut album, "Anywhere I Lay My Head," in 2008, which featured mostly her interpretations of Tom Waits songs. Her subsequent album, 2009's "Break Up," was a collaboration with indie darling Pete Yorn and explored themes of love and heartbreak.
In 2015, she formed the all-girl, new wave-influenced band The Singles. As there was another band going by that name, Johansson's band changed its name and reformed as Sugar for Sugar with essentially the same sound.
Birthdate: Aug. 7, 1974
Bottom Line: Michael Shannon
Michael Shannon has been known to play intense characters, and at least two — Conway Twitty and Kim Fowley — were real-life musicians. (Fowley was also The Runways manager.) But Shannon didn't have to go too far for inspiration, as he is also a musician.
In 2002, Shannon formed the alternative band Corporal, which released its self-titled debut album in 2010. Shannon also gets a group of musicians together periodically to play albums in their entirety. He's covered The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead," Bowie's "Scary Monsters" and most recently R.E.M's "Murmur."
Birthdate: Aug. 14, 1945
Bands: Steep Canyon Rangers
Bottom Line: Steve Martin
Steve Martin often uses the banjo in his stand-up, but the "Only Murders in the Building" actor and comedian is actually quite a serious and accomplished banjo player.
He's won five Grammys, including Best Bluegrass Album in 2010 for "The Crow: New Songs for the 5-string Banjo" and Best American Roots Song for the 2013 track "Love Has Come For You" (with Edie Brickell and The Steep Canyon Rangers).
In 2010, he created the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass — the winner of the yearly award gets $50,000.
Birthdate: Dec. 4, 1966
Bottom Line: Fred Armisen
"Saturday Night Live" comedian and actor Fred Armisen often showcased his musical talents on the show. He co-founded the post-punk band Trenchmouth and created the fictional Blue Jean Committee, a '70s yacht rock band, with Bill Hader for their show "Documentary Now."
He also demonstrates his musical prowess on various late-night talk shows and even released a stand-up special focused on drumming, "Standup for Drummers," on Netflix in 2018.
Birthdate: Oct. 22, 1952
Bands: Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Bottom Line: Jeff Goldblum
The charismatic star of "Jurassic Park," "The Fly" and "Independence Day," Jeff Goldblum is also the leader of a jazz band, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.
The band's performances often feature Goldblum on piano, where he skillfully improvises and interacts with both his fellow band members and the audience. He and the orchestra also occasionally perform on late-night TV and tour the U.S.
Birthdate: June 25, 1961
Bands: Seona Dancing
Bottom Line: Ricky Gervais
Believe it or not, Ricky Gervais was in a new wave band, Seona Dancing, in the 1980s, serving as a very competent lead vocalist.
The band's synth-pop sound was reflective of the era, and they released a few singles, including "More to Lose" and "Bitter Heart." Seona Dancing had hits in the Philippines, but they did not achieve significant commercial success.