Famous actors who worked in radio and music
Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube are just some of the many famous musicians who successfully made the jump from the airwaves onto the big screen.
Celebrities choosing to go the other way, from film to radio, often do so with a much more muted approach than those going into movies. Still, there are a few who you may have heard on the radio, noticed in music videos, or heard about being a talented musician.
So, here’s a collection of famous actors who have dabbled in the music industry as well as what
they’re up to now.
Probably the most high-profile, regarding their music outings, in this assortment of celebrities, Idris Elba has starred in music videos, directed music videos, produced records, rapped, DJed, performed live, and even has his own record label now. Some of his most notable music outings include starring in Mumford and Sons’ Lover of the Light, co- producing Jay-Z’s American Gangster album, and featuring on the Wiley track Boasty in 2019.
In 2014, he took over the BBC Radio 2 airwaves with his own series, Journey Dot Africa with Idris Elba. The radio show spanned three hour-long episodes during which Elba played his top picks of African music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s.
Despite recently opening up his own label, Elba is still active on-screen, set to feature in the upcoming Concrete Cowboy movie and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
Jean-Claude van Damme
A retired martial artist turned movie star, Jean-Claude van Damme has done just about everything and is often hired for his instant recognisability. While the Belgian hasn’t been one to perform himself, from 1992 to as recently as this year, JCVD has featured in nine music videos. He was in Megadeth’s 1999 music video Crush ‘Em and Kiss My Eyes by Bob Sinclar, which reached 67th in the UK chart.
Still consistently appearing in movies each year and featuring in the Never Alone music video by Emmanuel Kelly this year, Van Damme has also become the face of his country’s most popular casino brand, 777. JCVD is not just a pretty face, either, with the famous actor picking out his favourite games to mark as suggested plays for users of the online platform. On the legend’s recommendation, The Ruby shot up the popularity rankings.
Now a superstar of the big screen, Scarlett Johansson has dipped into music at several points in her career, which has amounted to two studio albums and four EPs. Her 2008 album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, reached 64th in the UK, with her follow-up album of 2009 not breaking the top 150.
While people not looking to find Johansson’s singles likely haven’t heard them before, most people will have heard Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around… Comes Around, for which she starred in the music video.
While her time in and out of the music scene wasn’t overly fruitful, Johansson’s acting career continues to go from strength-to-strength. Not only was she a main character throughout the run of the MCU’s Infinity Saga, but she also earned two Academy Award nominations last year for her parts in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, being put up for the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards.
There you have it: perhaps you forgot, or maybe their efforts completely passed you by, but these major movie stars have all dipped into the music scene in one way or another.