6 movie stars you didn’t know started as musicians

A lot of successful movie stars choose to pursue a career in music. After all, the traits that help them dazzle on screen often make an impact on the stage. Sometimes, however, those hopes don’t exactly work out – or their acting career simply overshadows their efforts as musicians. Here are six actors who you didn’t know started out as musicians.

Will Smith

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Described by "Forbes" as the most bankable star in the world, Will Smith has been a star of both the big and the small screen ever since “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” became a smash hit. His music has also done very well, with his debut solo album being certified platinum nine times.

However, despite finding success on screen at a young age, his music career started years earlier, when he was 17. He was the MC of the group DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. By the time Smith started on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the group had already won a Grammy for their song “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

Mark Wahlberg

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Another massive star who started in a hip-hop group, Mark Wahlberg started his career in show business as Marky Mark with his group, The Funky Bunch. While it may be hard to picture the action star as the leader of a hip-hop group, it was a natural first step for Wahlberg, whose older brother, Donnie Wahlberg, was in The New Kids on the Block.


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While Ice-T’s career as a major rapper in the '80s and '90s is well known, he has not released a solo album since 2006’s “Gangsta Rap.” As a result, those unfamiliar with his music are likely to be more aware of his acting career, such as his 19-year run as a detective on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the more than 60 movies he has been in.

Despite it having been over a decade since Ice-T has put out his own album, he has still been active as a musician. In 2017 his heavy metal band Body Count put out an album on which he sings lead vocals.

Ice Cube

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Just like Ice-T, Ice Cube had a huge career as a young rapper before he transitioned to focus on film. Ice Cube has enjoyed a prolific solo career but got his start as a member of N.W.A, a hip-hop group that also featured icons Eazy E and Dr. Dre.

He was praised for his acting career at a young age, having been featured in “Boyz n the Hood” before writing and starring in “Friday.” Both movies received wide acclaim and launched his prolific acting career.

Mandy Moore

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The popular actress had her first big acting role in 2001's “The Princess Diaries,” but by then, she had already released two pop albums. Her first album, 1999's “So Real,” had the hit single “Candy" and was eventually certified platinum.

It's been 10 years since Moore released a full album, but she does still make music today. She has recorded numerous songs for soundtracks related to the animated film "Tangled," for which Moore voiced the long-haired fairytale character Rapunzel. Moore has also contributed to the soundtrack for “This is Us," the mega-popular TV series for which she has earned many award nominations.

Barbara Streisand

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One of the most celebrated actresses in the world had a remarkable career in music before she began acting. Her career as a musician started in the 1960s, and she won her first Grammys for “The Barbara Streisand Album” in 1963.

She had an impressive entry into the world of film, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress with her film debut in “Funny Girl.” Her film career continued to match her career as a musician, and she went on to be nominated for four more Oscars, winning another in 1978 (for Best Original Song).