The Quick Report

10 Actors with Failed Music Careers

Acting isn’t easy. There’s a lot of specialized training that goes into being able to successfully translate the dialogue and action in the script to something believable in front of a camera. Making music is also tough—and just because you’re good at one doesn’t mean you’re good at the other. Here are ten actors who couldn’t break into the recording industry.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

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While she’s now better-known for acting in Ghost Whisperer and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jennifer Love Hewitt put out a few albums in the 90s and early 00s. She was signed with Atlantic Records briefly, with whom she dropped two records, and put out an album with Jive Records in 2002. They’re all pretty terrible!

Ryan Gosling

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Interestingly enough, Ryan Gosling and friend Zach Shields released a surprisingly good album in 2009 under the name Dead Man’s Bones. While the two never pursued further careers in music, Gosling’s singing was showcased again in 2016’s excellent La La Land and 2023’s iconic Barbie.

Tyra Banks

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America’s Next Top Model was essential TV back in the 00s, and the host, supermodel Tyra Banks, tried to parlay her rising star into a successful music career, too. Her one single, “Shake Ya Body,” failed to shake up the charts in 2004. It’s a fun song, but it wasn’t enough to give Banks a second career as a pop star.

Eddie Murphy

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No list of failed actor music careers would be complete without briefly dunking on Eddie Murphy for “Party All the Time.” While the song got some play on the radio, its repetitive structure and perceived low quality have led to many of Murphy’s fans encouraging him to release comedy albums, not studio albums.

Tom Hardy

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Tom Hardy was signed as a rapper once. And while he may have adopted the trappings of hip hop, other artists were born in it, molded by it! They didn’t hear guitar tones until they were old enough to—you get the idea; you’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises. Thankfully, none of the rap songs Hardy recorded when he was 14 or 15 have been commercially released. The actor has publicly acknowledged that picturing a middle-class kid rapping was just a tough sell, leading him to abandon the project.

Lindsay Lohan

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Some people might have forgotten that Lindsay Lohan recorded songs for a few of her movies, like Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. She also released two albums, the first of which was pretty good! Her second album flopped, though, and her acting career sputtered out around the same time.

Kim Kardashian

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Kim Kardashian, a celebrity who is described as “famous for being famous,” once tried to give her notoriety some actual foundation with a single released in 2011. The song, “Jam (Turn it Up),” isn’t great. On the bright side, proceeds raised by the song were donated to a cancer organization, so it’s hard to hate on it too much.

Scarlett Johansson

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Fans probably know Scarlett Johansson best as Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or from one of her many starring roles from throughout the 2010s. However, in the late 00s she released two albums. While neither one took the charts by storm, they’re pretty solid and even include some collaborations with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and David Bowie.

Read More: 11 Female Singers We Lost Too Soon

Robert Downey Jr.

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Another MCU actor with a very unknown foray into music, Robert Downey Jr. has appeared on a number of film soundtracks. His singing voice is surprisingly good, and he’s not overdubbed when he appears in musicals. His one album, 2004’s The Futurist, didn’t exactly catapult him to a successful recording career, though.

Read More: The 20 Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

Brie Larson

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The MCU is just full of former singers, it seems! Fans of Brie Larson likely already know that she has some serious pipes—that’s her covering “Metric” in the Clash at Demonhead scene in Scott Pilgrim vs the World. She actually released an album, Finally Out of PE, when she was 16 and went on tour with Jesse McCartney back in 2005.

Read More: Unforgettable Beats: The 10 Best Movie Soundtracks in History