A surprising number of A-list actors are also musically inclined. In live theater this is almost a requirement, but there’s a dearth of musicals in movies lately so there’s not much opportunity to show off the mad music skills. But these stars are not only living the double dream, they’re doing pretty well at it.
In her copious free time as an Avenger, she has managed to release a solo album, “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” consisting of mostly Tom Waits covers, in 2008. She upped the ante in 2015 when she started a band influenced by The Bangles and the Go-Go’s and other’80s girl groups. Her band, the Singles, features Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, Julia Haltigan, and Este Haim. However, an existing group from Detroit called The Singles filed a cease and desist against Johansson’s group; the matter has not yet been resolved.
Star of “The Matrix” and the “John Wick” movies, he also had an alt-rock band called Dogstar, which he actively played bass for between 1991 and 2002. They released two studio albums and went on numerous tour dates. He no longer has time to tour since becoming a franchise-carrying A-lister, but he did make people hope otherwise briefly in 2014 when he was photographed with a bass guitar whose design was decidedly Matrix-like.
While he doesn’t have a band, he does excel at the guitar, and is proficient enough vocally that he sung not one but two songs for the “Twilight” soundtrack and, more recently, on his rom-com “Damsel.” But what really surprised fans was the revelation that he contributed guitar riffs on a song by the band Death Grips. While he has drifted away from music in recent years, in 2010 Pattinson won the “Hollywood’s Most Influential Top Unexpected Musician” award. Which is apparently a thing.
Naturally the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet is both an actor and a musician; it’s practically in her DNA. But she has an actual band, Lolawolf, with two Brooklyn pals, drummer Jimmy Giannopolous and keyboardist James Levy. Kravitz memorably noted that acting was her day job, and music “is what I choose to do with my free time.” The band’s sound is an R&B/electro-pop fusion and their name comes from a portmanteau of Kravitz’s two younger siblings’ names.
Robert Downey Jr.
The second Avenger on this list, oddly enough, plays piano and also was a prolific songwriter. He released one studio album in 2004, a jazz/folk fusion called “The Futurist,” featuring mostly original compositions. One record was enough, though; he said he’d rather spend time with his family than in a recording studio, and has not produced any more material.
Yes, you can play the Kevin Bacon game with musicians, too! He and his brother Michael have had a band, appropriately named “The Bacon Brothers,” that have been recording and releasing albums since 1995. They have a country/rock blend going, and Kevin not only provides vocals and writes songs, he also plays a wicked guitar. Kevin claims that his wife, actor Kyra Sedgwick, is the first audience for each new song the Bacon Brothers compose.
You know Will Smith started as a musician before he turned to acting, but his wife is equally doubly gifted. She is lead singer and lead songwriter for Wicked Wisdom, a metal band, since 2002. The band opened for Britney Spears a few times in 2004. But it was Ozzfest 2005 that got them worldwide attention. Though invited by Sharon Osbourne herself, metal fans thought the band wasn’t genuine… until they played. By the end of the week, Wicked Wisdom had won the fans over.
You know him from movies like “Apollo 13” and shows like “CSI: NY” but he has had a band since 2004. “Lt Dan Band” is named after the character he played in “Forrest Gump,” and spends most of its time playing for USO shows and other benefits for active and veteran military, especially disabled veterans. Though they perform covers, “from Adele to Stevie Wonder to Bruno Mars,” the band has had had over 400 performances for charity. Oh, and Sinise plays bass.
Yes, the Dude (from “The Big Lebowski”) abides on the music scene too. No surprise, since he played a mean piano in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and an Oscar-earning guitar in “Crazy Heart.” But he’s been actively recording and releasing since 2000. He has released four albums to date and has a fairly intense fanbase. But that’s just, like, our opinion, man.
Martin started out as a comedian on stage and screen, earning accolades for movies like “The Jerk,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and “The Three Amigos.” But his true passion is the banjo. While he played during comedy stand up routines, no one took him seriously until he began to record; he has two comedy Grammys but three awards for music. He also wrote an award-winning musical with collaborator Edie Brickell, “Bright Star,” which ran on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. His genre is bluegrass and he is very keen to preserving the music for future generations.