8 Actors Who Have Crossed Over Into Music Stardom

By: Diane Cho
Image via Scott Gries/Getty Images
  TAGS:   Article

In the days of instant connectivity and entrepreneurs, celebrities are more and more likely to flow between a variety of different worlds, rather than stick to one career path. For example, it’s not unusual for actors to be bitten by the music bug. After all, if you have the opportunity to leave Hollyweird for a chance to perform sold out shows all over the world, you’re going to take it. Do you think Drake misses his acting days as he gets ready to headline Governors Ball and posts up next to Nicki Minaj in her music videos? Doubt it. So, with that in mind, get to know these eight megastars who took a break from show business to shake up the music industry.

For a chance to catch musical former actors like Drake at Governors Ball, and The Pretty Reckless at Rock In Rio USA, download the 7-Eleven® app and scan it every time you buy a Slurpee®.


INDIO, CA - APRIL 12:  Singer Drake performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival  at The Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2015 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)

Image via Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images


Before Drake got us all wrapped up in our feelings and started headlining massive festivals like Coachella and Gov Ball, he was Aubrey Graham, a Canadian actor who played Jimmy Brooks (a.k.a. Wheelchair Jimmy) on Degrassi: The Next Generation. You know the memes. Today, Drake has solidified his spot at the top of the pack as one of the best rappers of 2015 after he released his 17-track mixtape on iTunes. The collection, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, with no warning or promotion. Drake made such an impact in music today that it’s easy to forget his acting roots. His stints hosting the ESPYS and Saturday Night Live were reminders that Drake has the rap game in the palm of one hand and acting in the other.


Donald Glover

<> at TODAY Plaza on October 31, 2014 in New York City.

Image via Taylor Hill/Getty Images


Donald Glover wears many hats. He’s an actor, comedian, writer, and rapper who goes by the name of Childish Gambino. Gambino dropped his first studio album Camp in 2011 which was initially met with lukewarm reviews—could Troy from the sitcom Community really spit bars? It seems the world just wasn’t used to him yet. All that changed two years later when he released his second album Because the Internet—music nerds were blown away, staying up all night blogging about how the project was refreshingly original. Gambino not only made major splashes at SXSW, and won over the hip-hop community with that LP but he also received his first Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.


Miley Cyrus

HANNAH MONTANA - "Song Sung Bad" - When Miley convinces Lilly to record a song as a gift for her mom's birthday, it doesn't come out quite like Miley thought it would.  To keep from hurting Lilly's feelings, Miley fixes Lilly's voice in the recording booth to make it sound perfect.  There's only one problem. Lilly thinks she has a great voice - and challenges Amber to a karaoke sing-off, on "Hannah Montana," airing SUNDAY, JULY 29 (8 p.m., ET) on Disney Channel. (DISNEY CHANNEL/JOEL WARREN) MILEY CYRUS - BEHIND THE SCENES

Image via Disney Channel/Joel Warren/Getty Images


Before the infamous pixie cut, Miley Cyrus was best known for her role as The Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, a normal school girl who happened to lead a double life as a pop star. This soon-to-be iconic role would prepare and inspire Cyrus to become the eccentric pop star she is today, albeit the less-PG version. Cyrus’ wild live shows, like her iHeartRadio Music Festival performance have sparked worldwide conversation—but don’t get it twisted, this girl can sing. Controversy and all, Cyrus created her own lane in pop music and she doesn’t show any signs of stopping.


Demi Lovato

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 22:  Demi Lovato performs onstage during 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball 2014 at Amalie Arena on December 22, 2014 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Image via Alexander Tamargo/iHeartMedia/Getty Images


Powerhouse vocalist Demi Lovato is another Disney expat who started her career as a leading lady in tween films like Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2. However, Lovato shed her Disney image with four studio albums and numerous singles like “Really Don’t Care” and “Heart Attack” that took turns living at the top of the charts. At only 22, this young star’s empowering persona and inspirational songs speak to the mature woman she has become. After opening up about struggling with depression and weight issues, Lovato is stronger than ever. Her music has documented the highs and lows of her personal journey and her singing career has only just begun.


Selena Gomez

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE - "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex" - The Russo family and friends travel to Tuscany, Italy, to meet their long lost relatives... but when Alex (Gomez) tries to prove she's more than a seemingly carefree young Wizard, she inadvertently conjures a spell that creates a Good Alex and an Evil Alex. When Evil Alex gets roped into a charming young wizard's foreboding plan to take over the world, Good Alex must find a way to save her family and humankind, which leads to a monumental battle between the two versions of herself - all atop the Tower of Pisa. (DISNEY CHANNEL/ERIC MCCANDLESS)SELENA GOMEZ

Image via Eric McCandless/Disney Channel/Getty Images


Silver-screen darling Selena Gomez starred as Alex Russo on, you guessed it, Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Just like Cyrus and Lovato, Selena was a Disney “It” girl with the potential to have a massive career in film and music. She piggybacked off her success as a teen actress to start her own band called Selena Gomez & the Scene and got signed to Hollywood Records. Under Hollywood Records, she released three albums with her band and a solo album called Stars Dance, which included her smash hit “Come & Get It.” Gomez took a bit of a hiatus to deal with her breakup from Justin Bieber (heard of him?) but she’s back now and signed to Interscope records. She’s already working on a second solo album with producer and rumored new boyfriend, Zedd.


Taylor Momsen

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 27: Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless performs an acoustic set for competition winners at the Gibson Guitar Lounge on November 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images)

Image via Neil Lupin/Redferns/Getty Images


Taylor Momsen ditched her perfect gold locks for some bleach and serious black eyeliner when she left her role as little Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl to become the frontwoman of rock group, The Pretty Reckless. As a child star who nabbed roles like Cindy Lou Who from How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the President’s daughter in Spy Kids 2, Momsen hit a crossroads during her teen year during her teen years and decided to stick to her first true love—music. Download the 7-Eleven app and scan it every time you buy a Slurpee® for the chance to win a trip to catch The Pretty Reckless at Rock In Rio USA.


Ariana Grande

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 8:  Ariana Grande in concert at the Air Canada Centre.        (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Image via Andrew Francis Wallace/ Getty Images


Ariana Grande got her start as the dimwitted, but loveable Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s television series Victorious. Once Victorious came to a close in 2013, she jumped into the show’s spin-off called Sam & Cat which ended only after a year, just as her debut album Yours Truly shot up the charts. Grande’s incredible voice has created such an enormous buzz people might not recall her child actress past. After two successful studio albums that resulted in multiple awards, two Grammy nominations, and a headlining slot at Ultra Music Festival, this petite songstress can say goodbye to supporting roles and hello to the spotlight.


Zooey Deschanel

NEW GIRL: Zooey Deschanel in the "Teachers" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

Image via FOX/Getty Images


Zooey Deschanel is Hollywood’s favorite quirky girl next door. She’s won people over in films like Elf and 500 Days of Summer and perfected her signature character as Jessica Day on Fox’s New Girl. It makes sense for a stunning, unique looking beauty who also happens to be dorky and totally approachable at the same time. In addition to her on-screen charm, she has a beautiful voice in real life. In 2008, after meeting and bonding on the set of a film called The Go-Getter, Deschanel and musician M. Ward debuted their first indie-folk album, Volume One, as the musical duo She & Him. Since then, they’ve released four more albums, including a Christmas album (shouts to her memorable singing in the shower scene in Elf). It’s baffling how one person can be so effortlessly good looking and talented. It’s almost as if she’s not really acting, but just playing herself.