Musicians leaving their music careers to pursue an acting career is nothing new, wether it be a temporary transition or for good. We see it happen all the time, more often than the way around. Still not all their moves are successful. Some of these musicians made the shift and became big award winning actors.
In this list are 20 musicians turned actors for better or for worse, meaning that not all the moves were successful.
Ice Cube was first known for being a member of the controversial rap group, N.W.A. With classics from their 4x Platinum debut LP ‘Straight Outta Compton’ (Ruthless/Priority, 1989), including the title track, “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Express Yourself”.
After breaking up with his group in 1989 he began filming his first movie, ‘Boyz N The Hood. His franchise of the classic ‘Friday’ took his acting career to new heights. The rapper starred in multiple movies like, ‘Next Friday,’ ‘Barbershop,’ ‘Anaconda’ and ‘All About The Benjamins.’ Ice Cube also has a recurring role on ‘Are We There Yet’ on which he’s also an executive producer.
In 1983 Madonna released her self-titled debut album on Sire Records. She has since released a series of successful albums, of which herGrammy Award winning ‘Ray of Light’ (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). She accumulated different chart topping records, including “Like a Virgin”, “Into the Groove” and “Papa Don’t Preach.” In 1985 Madonna entered mainstream films with an appearance as a club singer in ‘Vision Quest’.
Madonna appeared in several other movies, ‘Shanghai Surprise’, ‘Dick Tracy’ and ‘A League of Their Own’. Even though Madonna won a Golden Globe for her performance in ‘Evita’, she has appeared in several box-office flops and films with negative reviews.
Nick Cave’s music career started in 1973 when he formed the band Boys Next Door, that was later renamed The Birthday Party. In 1983 he formed Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, who have since successfully released a string of hit albums. Nick’s first film was ‘Die Stadt’ in 1983 after that he has written and appeared in several movies including ‘Johnny Suede’ with Brad Pitt and ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’.
David Bowie was a struggling artist till his breakthrough in 1969 with the song “Space Oddity.” He appeared in several films, but his first major one was ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. His music career was on a decline while his acting career was on track, culminating in his acclaimed performance in ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’. David Bowie went on to star in several movies including ‘The Hunger’, ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Basquiat’.
At a church camp, Jessica Simpson met the founder of Proclaim Records, a Gospel music record label. She recorded an album, ‘Jessica’, but she was later dismissed after the ael went bankrupt. She was later signed to Columbia Records after Tommy Motola heard ‘Jessica’. After that she started to record her ‘Sweet Kisses and Irresistible’ album which went 2x platinum. With a couple of multi-platinum albums under her belt, Jessica Simpson went the acting direction. She made her movie debut in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ (2005) as Daisy Duke, a role that was more about her in short shorts than with her acting skills. The year after that she appeared in ‘Employee Of The Month’. She also made several cameo appearances i ‘The Master of Disguise’, ‘The Love Guru’ and more.
Mariah Carey had beautiful career in music debuting her first self-titled album in ‘Mariah Carey’ in 1990. The album went multi-platinum followed by four consecutive number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Mariah kept making hits till that one day she made a song for and acted in ‘Glitter’, her second movie after ‘The Bachelor’. The song and the movie ‘Glitter’ were both criticized to the point that Mariah suffered a breakdown. Several years later she admitted that her failed acting career almost caused her death. She made cameo appearances in ‘Death Of a Dynasty’ and ‘You Don’t Mess With The Zohan’ and played in 2009’s ‘Precious’.
Dana Owens better known as Queen Latifah is a rapper, actress and singer. Starting as a beatboxer for the hip-hop group Ladies Fresh, she released her debut album ‘All Hail the Queen’ in 1989. She had some appearances on ‘The fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and was the main character playing Khadijah James in ‘Living Single’ from 1993 to 1998. Queen Latifah has also starre in several movies including, ‘Jungle Fever’, ‘Jouse Party 2’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Scary Movie 3’ and ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ (as teh voice of Ellie) and much more. She also received ` Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards and a Grammy Award.
Snoop Dogg was discovered by Dr. Dre and worked on Dre’s debut album, ‘The Chronic’. ‘Doggystyle’, his 4x platinum debut album came in 1993. Snoop appeared in several movies starting with ‘Murder Was The Case’ in 1994 as himself, ‘Training Day’, ‘Starsky and Hitch’ and ‘Soul Plane. he also lend his voice to characters in ‘Old School’, ‘Futurama’ and ‘Turbo’.
The King of Rock and Roll expanded his fame from music to include movies as well. His first movie being the western ‘Love Me Tender’. He went on to make a total of 31 movies in his career, including ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘G.I. Blues’, King Creole’ and many more.
Yoakam released three consecutive No. 1 albums, getting his first country hits from his third album. In 1996 he portrayed Doyle Hargraves in the oscar winning film, ‘Sling Blade’. Yoakam later appeared in ‘Panic Room’,’Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Four Christmases’.