Lights! Camera! Action! From the red carpet and the basketball court to the music arena or the stage, some of the world’s favorite celebrities have attempted to branch out from their careers to pursue other talents in the industry. Whether it’s an actor going into modeling or an athlete trying his hand at acting, celebrities often look to spread their wings and try their talents elsewhere. Why not?
One of the most interesting and most common transitions that celebrities often make is when they go from acting, modeling or athletics into the world of music. While actors and models have on-stage presence and athletes have great skill, it’s often hard to watch these celebrities gain their footing in the harshly critical world of music where perfection is key. Yet, many celebs have proven they are up for the challenge.
However, just because you’re one of the highest paying celebs or most awarded athletes doesn’t mean you can carry a tune. After all, not everyone is like Jim Belushi or Jeff Bridges, both of whom have been praised for their crossover careers in music. Instead, the majority end up as quite the opposite: complete disasters, duds, flops and failures. Don’t believe us?
Stay tuned because we found 20 celebs who failed miserably while trying to launch their music careers. From former Olympic athletes and Golden Globe winning actresses to sci-fi icons and comedians, these celebs and their terrible musical misadventures are sure to entertain!
#20 – Scarlett Johansson
Landing her first major film role at just 10 years old in the 1994 hit North, Scarlett Johannsson has gracefully transitioned from a child star to an international sex symbol known for her incredible talent and stunning beauty. With roles in blockbuster hits such as Lost in Translation, The Other Boleyn Girl and the Marvel franchise including The Avengers and Iron Man 2, Johannsson is easily one of Hollywood’s favorite leading ladies.
Taking her award-winning film and Broadway performances to a new venue, Johannsson surprised her fans by trying her hand at a music career. Releasing a total of three albums including Anywhere I Lay My Head and Break Up, the albums had absolutely terrible reviews and only gained minor fame in France and Belgium, barely even reaching the Top 200 charts here in the United States. Thankfully, it’s been six years since she released her last album and we’re hopeful it’ll be 60 or more before she releases the next!
#19 – William Shatner
Considered a god amongst men in the world of science fiction, William Shatner is best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek television series. Since his early days on the USS Enterprise, the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner has proven his talent in other hit television series including T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, The Practice and Boston Legal. But, did you know the Captain could sing?
In the midst of his Star Trek days, Shatner launched his musical career in 1968 much to the delight of his fans. A far cry from actual “music”, Shatner’s music library consists mainly of spoken word lyrics that are exaggerated reinterpretations of hits including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”. With four studio albums and a concert tour, Shatner’s 1978 performance of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” is a fan favorite. Needless to say, Shatner is an actor whose music career is more of a parody than a smash hit.
#18 – Eddie Murphy
Ranked #10 of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, Eddie Murphy has had an incredible career as a comedian and actor. First debuting as a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s, Murphy has easily become one of the biggest names in comedy with memorable roles in hits such as Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs., and The Nutty Professor.
Murphy’s 2006 role as a soul singer in the musical drama Dreamgirls wasn’t too far-fetched for Hollywood’s funnyman. In the 1980s, Murphy showcased his musical talent by releasing two albums – Eddie Murphy and Comedian – that featured classic tunes like “Boogie in Your Butt”. Teaming up with the legendary Rick James, Murphy later released Top 40 hits including “How Could it Be”, “Party All the Time” and “So Happy”. With lyrics as deep as a kiddie pool for his early hits, we’re anxious to see what Murphy’s next album, 9, has in store for fans.
#17 – Bruce Willis
Live free or die hard! Perhaps best known for his role as John McClane in the Die Hard series, Bruce Willis first launched his career off-Broadway and on television long before making it on the silver screen. Since his first television appearance on Miami Vice in 1984, Willis has starred in over 60 films including Pulp Fiction, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense, Sin City and The Expendables 2.
America’s favorite award-winning “tough guy”, Willis also has a pretty decent voice. Appearing on a few different soundtracks over the years, he released his first album, The Return of Bruno, in 1987. Reaching number 14 on the Billboard 200 charts, the album surprised many especially when “Respect Yourself” reached number five on the singles charts. His 1989 album, If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger didn’t have nearly the same amount of success but that didn’t stop Willis who continues to show his softer, more musical side.
#16 – Shaquille O’Neal
Standing at over seven feet tall and weighing well over 300 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most imposing basketball players in NCAA history at Louisiana State University. Drafted as the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft to the Orlando Magic, O’Neal’s award-winning career spans the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.
On top of the world in the 1990s, Shaq tried to branch out from basketball with a career in acting and music, a move that made many of us cringe. Releasing four studio albums and nine rap singles, Shaq’s debut album – Shaq Diesel – was his biggest hit reaching number 10 on the R&B charts and selling over 850,000 copies. Thankfully for his basketball fans, each album proved worse than the previous, making his 1998 album, Respect, the end of his music career.
#15 – Kobe Bryant
What is it about basketball and music? Former teammate to Shaquille O’Neal on the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant was drafted straight out of high school in 1996 to the Lakers where he has built an incredible 20-year career. A 17-time All-Star with five NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals, the MVP is often considered one of the top players in the NBA and is easily a fan favorite.
Like Shaq, Bryant tried his hand at music early in his basketball career. First joining a rap group while in high school, Bryant and the band signed with Sony just as Bryant went pro. Shortly after, the rest of the group was dropped and Sony focused on launching Bryant’s solo album, Visions, in 2000. That was, until, the first single, “K.O.B.E.” featuring Tyra Banks, debuted at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game to a critical bloodbath, leaving Sony with no other choice but to scrap the entire album. Bryant, who refused to give up, tried to start his own label to release the album but even that folded within a year.
#14 – Milla Jovovich
Hailing from the Soviet Union, Milla Jovovich was only five years old when her parents came to the United States. Launching her modeling career at just 12 years old, Jovovich landed her first acting role just a year later in Train to Kathmandu and Two Moon Junction. Known today for her roles in various science fiction and action flicks, she has appeared in notable movies including The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil series.
Named by VH1 as the “reigning queen of kick-butt”, Jovovich has proven to be quite the musician as well thanks to her numerous appearances on movie soundtracks like The Million Dollar Hotel, Dummy and Underworld. So, why exactly haven’t we heard much of Jovovich’s own music? Releasing her first album, The Divine Comedy, in 1994 and her second, The Peopletree Sessions, in 1998, the albums never actually reached American charts, leaving Jovovich’s fans here in the States deaf to her seemingly hidden musical talent.
#13 – Russell Crowe
New Zealand native and Australian raised Russell Crowe was a relatively unknown actor until 2000 when he landed the role of a lifetime in the epic film Gladiator. Winning an Academy Award for his Gladiator performance, Crowe went on to score leading and award-winning roles in blockbuster hits including The Insider, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Man of Steel.
A mainstay in Hollywood since 2000, Crowe’s music career started in the early 1980s when he formed a band first known as Roman Antix, who later renamed themselves in the 1990s as 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. As Crowe rose to fame in Hollywood, the band did as well with fans paying top dollar for tickets to their American tour featuring hits from the band’s three albums. Not everyone, however, loved Crowe’s music, not even the guys from South Park who took to their series to parody Crowe as a rock star wannabe. Needless to say, Crowe’s music career was treated a lot like Kenny and creatively killed.
#12 – Joey Lawrence
“Woah!” Catching his first major break in 1983 on the series Gimme a Break!, Joey Lawrence landed an even bigger role in Blossom, where he quickly won the hearts of American teens and earned instant fame for his catchphrase, “Woah!” Today, after placing third on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the 39-year-old has wrapped up filming with fellow 1990s star Melissa Joan Hart in their series Melissa and Joey.
Using his fame to launch a career in music, Lawrence got off to a decent start in 1993 with the release of his self-titled album, which reached number 74 in the United States. His hit single, “Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix”, even saw international fame after reaching number 19 in the States and number 13 in the United Kingdom. With his fame already beginning to fade, the 1997 release of his second album, Soulmates, fell on deaf ears as fans had already moved on, “like whoah!”
#11 – Leonard Nimoy
Having visited Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, we now turn to William Shatner’s costar, Leonard Nimoy, who is better known as the illustrious Mr. Spock. Spending his early 20s as an acting teacher in Hollywood, Nimoy landed the role of a lifetime in 1964 when he was cast as Spock in the pilot episode of Star Trek. With recurring roles in television, film and video games as Spock until 2013, Nimoy is a beloved icon whose death in 2015 was a huge loss in the science fiction world.
Much like his Star Trek costar, Nimoy tried his hand at launching a music career outside of the sci-fi series. Releasing a total of five albums including a few spoken-word albums, Nimoy always stayed true to himself and his character by featuring sci-fi themed songs performed as Spock. While none of the albums were big hits, Nimoy had long established a cult following who was especially thrilled with Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space and, perhaps the even stranger, The Touch of Leonard Nimoy. Either way, we salute you, Mr. Spock.
#10 – Jennifer Love Hewitt
Once named the “Sexiest Woman on Television”, it seems like the 36-year-old Jennifer Love Hewitt has been in Hollywood for quite some time. Rising to stardom after appearing on Fox’s Party of Five from 1995 to 2000, Hewitt had a modest career in film until finally returning to television with hit shows including Ghost Whisperer from 2005 to 2010 and The Client List from 2012 to 2013.
Long before Americans ever knew her name, however, Hewitt was a pop star in Japan. Releasing her first studio album, Love Songs, in Japan at just 12 years old, Hewitt’s upbeat and perky music was an instant hit. Unfortunately, the same wouldn’t hold true for her following albums, Let’s Go Bang and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Not yet willing to give up, Hewitt released her fourth album, BareNaked, six years later, which has seen moderate success in the Top 40 in both the United States and Australia. With Entertainment Weekly giving the album a D+ along with widely critical reviews, we’re happy to report that Hewitt has hung up the mic for now.
#9 – Jamie-Lynn Sigler
HBO took the world by storm in 1997 with the debut of The Sopranos, a crime drama following Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and his family. Cast as Tony’s daughter, Meadow, Jamie-Lynn Sigler spent the next decade in the role of a lifetime until the show’s finale in 2007. Since then, Sigler has appeared in other television shows including How I Met Your Mother and Entourage.
Young and famous, Sigler tried to parlay her newly discovered fame into a music career by releasing her debut album, Here to Heaven, in 2001. Despite receiving widespread promotion, the album flopped in a huge way leaving critics to call it the worst album of the year, if not the entire decade. Six years later, in 2007, Sigler finally admitted that she was embarrassed by the album and that it was nothing more than a marketing ploy to lure new fans to watch The Sopranos. Seems like a few more commercial promos would’ve have been a little cheaper and far less embarrassing if you ask us!
#8 – Deion Sanders
The only athlete to ever play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series, Deion Sanders is a former football and baseball star who is known for his flashy playing style in MLB and the NFL. Starting both his professional careers in 1989, Sanders has since traded in his cleats for a suit and tie as an analyst for CBS Sports and the NFL Network.
By 1994, Sanders was one of the most famous athletes in the world and had enough confidence to attempt a career in rap music. He released his Prime Time album under M.C. Hammer’s record label, but not even Hammer’s name was enough to make the album a critical success. However, the album somehow managed to make it to number 70 on the top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums Charts without the single, “Must Be the Money” ever seeing the light of day. In it to win it, Sanders tried (and failed) once again in 2005 when he released “The Encore Remix” which proved to be an even bigger flop. For someone who hates to lose, that must’ve hurt!
#7 – Naomi Campbell
First becoming a model at the age of 15, Naomi Campbell quickly became known as one of the most recognizable and in-demand models of the 1990s. Recognized by the fashion industry as a “supermodel”, the British native has gone on to appear on realty television shows and has had memorable relationships with superstars including Mike Tyson and Robert De Niro.
“Supermodel” wasn’t the only titled linked with Campbell, however. Without YouTube to discover new talent in the 1990s, Campbell and other stars cross-marketed themselves as musicians to branch out into other careers. Sometimes it worked and, as with Campbell’s 1994 release of Baby Woman, sometimes it didn’t. With dozens of negative reviews and only commercial success in Japan, the supermodel’s flop inspired the “Naomi Awards” for terrible pop music. Perhaps the album wasn’t a complete loss, after all!
#6 – Alyssa Milano
As the daughter of a fashion designer and film-music editor, Alyssa Milano had her hopes on a career in film as soon as she could walk and talk. Cast in 1984 at just 12 years old as Tony Danza’s daughter in Who’s the Boss?, Milano went on to appear in Melrose Place and Charmed, having since starred in the ABC drama Mistresses as well as a judge on Project Runway.
In the midst of her career, Milano released four studio albums between 1989 and 1992. Why, then, haven’t we heard them? Since Japan loves all things Western, especially celebs, Milano released the albums to Japanese audiences with the exception of a few singles that debuted in France and the United States. Japan especially loved Alyssa and Locked Inside a Dream, both of which reached the Top 20 on the charts. This doesn’t say much, however, since even bad music can be a hit in Japan just as long as a celebrity’s face is on the cover!
#5 – Tyra Banks
Much like Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks began her career as a model when she was just 15 years old. As the first black woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Banks established herself as a supermodel and media mogul who has gone on to become an actress, television personality, producer and host of hit shows like America’s Next Top Model.
With several appearances in music videos, including Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” and Lionel Richie’s “Don’t Wanna Lose You”, Banks decided to try her own hand at music with the 2004 release of her first single and music video, “Shake Ya Body”. Unfortunately for Banks (and fortunately for the rest of us), only those watching America’s Next Top Model on UPN saw the video as the single never got close enough to reach any music chart around the globe.
#4 – Lindsay Lohan
In the midst of her critical success and long before her public breakdown, Casablanca Records thought it would be a good idea to sign Lohan to five albums but, only managed to get two from the actress. Lohan’s first album, Speak, achieved critical success in 2004 and even reached number four on the charts, making Lohan a platinum selling recording artist. Her second album, A Little More Personal, might have been too personal for fans as Lohan’s life derailed and took the album along with it.
#3 – Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal has martial arts to thank for his acting career. Starting out in Hollywood as a martial artist, Seagal instructed actors on how to make fighting scenes look more authentic before he was finally put in front of the camera. Making his first film debut in the 1988 film Above the Law, Seagal achieved great success in Under Siege in 1992 and has since taken on more direct-to-video work.
As a self-proclaimed man of many talents, Seagal is a guitarist who showcases his musical talents in many of his direct-to-video movies. In 2005, Seagal released his first album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, to widespread criticism thanks to his bad guitar playing. The following year, Seagal released his second album, Mojo Priest, and first single, “Alligator Ass”, but no one seemed to care. Obviously living in his own delusional world, Seagal then went on tour with his band, Thunderbox, to showcase the album, but again, no one was really listening.
#2 – Paris Hilton
From socialite and model to heiress of Conrad Hilton’s hotel fortune, Paris Hilton first established herself as a model before becoming famous after an, ahem, sex tape was released featuring her and former boyfriend Rick Salomon. With a name that screams money, Hilton quickly found herself as a media sensation and reality television star who has since added singer to her resume. That’s right, brace yourselves.
Hilton gave the music world an astonishing one album before deciding music wasn’t for her and, for that, we’re grateful. Debuting in 2006, Hilton’s Paris album actually reached number six in the United States as well as in the top 10 in four other countries (how were we all fooled?). Hilton’s biggest hit was “Stars Are Blind”, which reached the top 20 across the globe. Having recently returned to music once again (and for who knows how long), Hilton has released three new singles with the 2015 hit “High Off My Love” reaching number 12 on the U.S. Dance Charts. Now, that’s hot!
#1 – Kim Kardashian
Are you keeping up with the Kardashians? Everyone knows who Kim Kardashian is whether it’s as Paris Hilton’s former best friend, from Keeping Up with the Kardashians or as Kanye’s better, prettier half (sorry, Kanye!). These days, the curvaceous television star stays busy with family life as she and Kanye will welcome their second child in December 2015.
In 2011, Kardashian released her first and thankfully her last and only song called “Jam (Turn It Up)” in collaboration with The-Dream and Tricky Stewart with all proceeds from the album donated to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Despite Kardashian’s fame and her good intentions, the song was anything but a hit and was only released on iTunes much to everyone’s embarrassment. With historically terrible reviews, not even the 10 million online downloads could persuade Kardashian to sing again. If we’re lucky, she’ll stick to lullabies from here on out.