Entertainment, Music

6 Hollywood Actors with a Music career as a side gig

The good, the bad, and the pizza.

words by: Alee Kwong
Aug 9, 2022

These days, having a side gig is pretty much a must-have. Talk to anyone for more than 10 minutes and they will most likely mention what they have going on outside of their actual job. Relying on your day job to keep you afloat during these volatile times is putting too many eggs in one basket, and for many creatives, it stifles their opportunities to turn their passions into career options. It’s not just average joes who have side gigs, by the way. Your favorite celebrity probably has something going for them apart from their punchcard.


A lot of actors in Hollywood just so happen to dabble in the musical arts, but most of the time we don’t get to see that talent on-screen. Whether it’s by choice (to create a distinct line between their job and their hobby) or by the simple fact that there hasn’t been a musically-inclined role open for them just yet, there are a handful of actors blowing up Spotify queues almost as much as television streaming queues.


1. Basically all of the Stranger Things cast

stranger things


Believe it or not, the cast of the horror/sci-fi Netflix series is made up of really musically talented people. Gaten Mattarazzo, Sadie Sink, and Caleb McLaughlin started out on Broadway, Maya Hawke is a solo artist, Charlie Heaton is the drummer for the band Comanechi, Finn Wolfhard is the guitarist for the band Calpurnia, Jamie Campbell is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the English punk rock band Counterfeit, and Joe Keery is the frontman (in a wig) for the band Djo.


2. Scarlett Johansson


Sure, we’ve heard Johansson showcase her vocal talent in films like Lost in Translation and the animated film literally titled Sing. But did you know she’s put out albums? Not only has she performed at Coachella, but she’s also produced an album of Tom Waits covers and frequently collaborates with artist Pete Yorn.


3. Steve Martin


It’s weird how often we forget that Steve Martin is a Grammy-winning artist. We know him best as a Saturday Night Live alum and comedian, but OG Steve Martin fans know that this man as an icon posing with his banjo. He has multiple albums under his belt and his album The Crow won the aforementioned Grammy Award in 2009 for Bluegrass Album of the Year.


4. Robert Downey Jr.


Yes, this universe’s Tony Stark variant is much more than acting accolades and iron suit. RDJ released an album in late 2004 titled The Futurist, a jazz/folk album that landed itself #121 on the Billboard 200. The album got mixed reviews, but it’s still interesting to think about him making a whole jazz album.


5. Macaulay Culkin


The star of childhood-defining films like Home Alone and My Girl has mostly stepped out of the limelight and has since taken on more musical ventures. His comedy rock band, The Pizza Underground, parodies songs from the 1960’s band The Velvet Underground with pizza-themed song titles and lyrics.


6. Jeremy Renner


I don’t know why but Jeremy Renner’s music career haunts me. This man has just about done everything under the sun (former makeup artist, former app owner, current actor, current music artist), and yet this career path is unsettling. Renner’s brand of music unapologetically gives off Chevrolet car commercial energy. If you’re interested in hearing his music outside of that backroad context, I recommend checking out his song “House of the Rising Sun” in The Umbrella Academy episode titled “Kugelblitz” (S3E4).


On the subject of music, next time you check out a classic movie, keep a look out for these classic composers.


Photos via Getty, Netflix