Actors That Became Music Stars 

We all know of singers that have been bitten by the acting, bug but equally important are actors that have been bitten by the singing bug? (Is the singing bug a thing?) For many actors, acting can be an easier path to their musician dreams. Stars like Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lopez, as well as Olivia Rodrigo had musical aspirations well before their acting dreams.

Let’s dive into a compilation of stars who are double, even triple threats in the entertainment industry.


Jennifer Lopez performing.

JENNIFER LOPEZ: Lopez started her Hollywood career as a back up dancer. She toured around the world, danced in music videos, and on TV Shows. Her first professional acting role came in 1994 as a small recurring role on the TV Show South Central. In 1997, Lopez got her first leading role as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. The actress took a step in the musical direction in 1999. After Selena, she missed the “excitement of the stage,” Her debut album On the 6 came out the same year. “If You Had My Love”, her debut single, topped the charts at number 1 for five weeks. Ultimately, the songstress has released 7 albums since her debut including This Is Me…Then(2002), Como Ama una Mujer(2007), and Love?(2011). Her next album This Is Me…Now is set to come out sometime this year.

JOHNNY DEPP: Technically, Depp started as a musician prior to acting but gained notoriety as an actor first. He originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career with his band but the band broke up shortly after the move. Nicolas Cage helped him get an audition for Nightmare on Elm Street which would become his first role. In 1990 came Edward Scissorhands which earned the actor his first Golden Globe nomination. In 1994, he got his first musical credit for guitar on the song “That Woman’s Got Me Drinking” by Shane MacGowan and The Popes. He has guitar credits for several artists. He’s been in multiple musical movies including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Into The Woods. In 2012, Depp formed a band called The Hollywood Vampires. They released two albums. In July 2022, Depp release an album with musician Jeff Beck called 18.


Selena Gomez in the recording studio.

HILARY DUFF: If you grew up watching Disney Channel then you know who Hilary Duff is. Duff got her start in the late 90’s earning her first starting role in 1998 as Wendy in Caspar Meets Wendy. In 2000, the young actress became the lead in the Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire. The show skyrocketed Duff to teen stardom. Between 2001 and 2002 Duff began recording songs for Disney. Her first album, Santa Claus Lane peaked at 154 on the Billboard 200. In August of 2003 the singer released her second studio album Metamorphosis. It hit number one the Billboard 200. In 2004, Duff released her third album titled Hilary Duff. Most recently, in 2015, the singer & actress released a new album, Breathe In. Breathe Out., after several years of no music.

SELENA GOMEZ: Selena Gomez began her acting career in 2002 on the set of Barney & Friends. In 2007, she landed the role as Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place which she played until 2012. This role shot her to stardom. As many Disney stars do, Gomez began making music while working with the company. She released three albums with her band Selena Gomez & the Scene. Those albums include Kiss & Tell (2009), A Year Without Rain (2010), and When The Sun Goes Down (2011). In 2013, she started her solo career and released albums such as Stars Dance and Revival. In 2020, she released her album Rare. The lead single from this album, Lose You To Love Me, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, Gomez’s first single to do so. Most recently Gomez released the single My Mind & Me to go with her documentary of the same title.


Olivia Rodrigo on stage.

MILEY CYRUS: Miley’s first role was a recurring role on the TV show Doc which starred her father, Billy Ray Cyrus. In 2006, she continued to act with her dad when they landed the lead father/daughter duo in Hannah Montana. Playing the role of a pop star meant Cyrus actually had to be a pop star. The double album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus came out in 2007, marking Cyrus’ first release that was not solely Hannah Montana related. In 2008, the singer released her second studio album as Miley Cyrus titled Breakout. Can’t Be Tamed came out in 2010. Bangerz came out in 2013. Her last release was Plastic Hearts in November of 2020. Her next album will be coming out on March 10th 2023 titled Endless Summer Vacation.

OLIVIA RODRIGO: In 2015, Rodrigo started her acting career. She moved to Los Angeles when she landed that role as Paige Olvera on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. In 2019 she got her breakout role as “Nini” in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The young actress showed her musical ability on the show, even writing and performing the song “All I Want”. Rodrigo began posting snippets of her singing on her Instagram. After garnering a lot of excitement on social media, the actress released her first single “Driver’s License” in January 2021. Her debut single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 8 weeks in a row, cementing Rodrigo as a star. In May of 2021 she released her first studio album Sour which spent 5 non consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200. 


Sabrina Carpenter on the emails i can’t send Tour.

HAILEE STEINFELD: Hailee Steinfeld started acting at the age of 10 and has continued to build a career for herself since then. When she was 13 she got the role of Mattie Ross in True Grit earning her first Academy Award nomination. In 2015, Steinfeld had a costarring role in Pitch Perfect 2 as Emily Junk. Her singing in that movie scored her a record deal with Republic Records. Her first EP Haiz was came out in November of 2015 and debuted at number 57 on the Billboard 200. The singer has released several songs with big name musicians like DNCE, Zedd, and Florida Georgia Line. Most recently she has released a song called “Coast” featuring Anderson .Paak.

SABRINA CARPENTER: Sabrina Carpenter started acting in 2011. In 2013, she landed her breakthrough role as one of the lead characters on Disney Channels Girl Meets World. She released her single “Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying” in 2014. She released an EP of the same name that April. The singers debut album Eyes Wide Open was released in April of 2015. In October of 2016, Carpenter released her second studio album Evolution. In July of 2022, the starlet released her newest album emails i can’t send. Her third single off of the album “Vicious” went viral on TikTok and caused much excitement for the release of the album. emails i can’t send debuted at 23 on the Billboard 200. Carpenter toured in the fall for this album & will be continuing the tour this coming spring.

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