20 celebrities who tried and failed to have music careers

Getty Images Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Phillip Faraone/Getty ImagesKim Kardashian, Robert Downey Jr., and Gwyneth Paltrow tried to launch music careers.

It’s not easy to break into a music career, even for already established celebrities.

Reality TV star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian West once released a song and music video, but she regrets it now. Super model Tyra Banks was hosting “America’s Next Top Model” when she released her first and only single. Even “Iron Man” himself, Robert Downey Jr., released an album. Then there’s NBA star Shaquille O’Neal who has four albums to his name. But for these stars, their musical aspirations fizzled out.

Here are 20 celebrities who once tried to have music careers.

Jennifer Love Hewitt was 12 when she released her first album, but it was originally only released in Japan.

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty ImagesJennifer Love Hewitt released four albums in her career.

Now known for acting in projects such as “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Ghost Whisperer,” Hewitt first tried to make it as a singer. She signed with Atlantic Records and released two albums between 1995 and 1996. Both failed to hit, so she was dropped from the record label.

Years later, she signed with Jive Records and released “BareNaked” in 2002. The album was her only one to chart and peaked at No. 37. Her only song to make it on the Billboard chars was “How Do I Deal,” which landed at No. 59. She’s since released a couple of other songs but has largely stayed away from music.

Listen to “How Do I Deal” here.

Kobe Bryant had a very brief rap career.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesKobe Bryant used to play for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

The retired Lakers player was part of a rap group called CHEIZAW, which was signed to Sony Entertainment. With his NBA career taking off, the label shifted the focus from Bryant and the group to just Bryant.

His debut album “Visions” was planned, and Bryant debuted his single “K.O.B.E.” at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game, along with Tyra Banks. The song rollout failed, the album was scrapped, and Bryant was dropped. Bryant then co-founded an independent label, but it folded within a year, and that was the end of that.

Model Tyra Banks unleashed her first and only single, “Shake Ya Body,” to the world in 2004.

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesTyra Banks is the creator, head and host of The CW’s ‘America’s Next Top Model.’

The super model’s short-lived music career included her turn on Bryant’s “K.O.B.E” and the song “Be a Star” from Disney’s “Life-Size.” As for “Shake Ya Body,” the music video starred contestants from “America’s Next Top Model” cycle two. And while the song was a bop, it wasn’t enough for a full jump into music.

Listen to “Shake Ya Body” here.

Lindsay Lohan had some bangers on her debut album, but her second album didn’t fare as well.

Slaven Vlasic/Getty ImagesLindsay Lohan starred in 2004’s ‘Mean Girls.’

Lohan showed her musical abilities in both “Freaky Friday” and “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” recording songs for the film’s soundtracks. She followed these songs up with her own album, “Speak.” Though not a critical hit, the album did peak at No. 4 on the Billboard charts and featured some popular songs.

Unfortunately, her second album, “A Little More Personal (Raw)” did not do as well, only reaching No. 20 on the charts. She released a single in 2008. But after that, her music career stalled and died.

Listen to “Rumours” here.

Scarlett Johansson has released two CDs and has been featured on a couple of soundtracks.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesScarlett Johansson played Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Johansson released two albums between 2008 and 2009 – one was a solo project and the other was a collaboration with Pete Yorn. Her debut album, “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” was mostly her covers of Tom Waits songs but featured collaborations with David Bowie and some members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

She hasn’t released any other albums since 2009, but has sang on other albums and soundtracks, including “The Jungle Book” and “Sing.” She also formed a group called the Singles with Este Haim from HAIM, but another band called the Singles issued a cease-and-desist.

Listen to “Song for Jo” here.

Robert Downey Jr. has been featured on a number of soundtracks, but he only released one album.

Paras Griffin/Getty ImagesRobert Downey Jr. played Iron Man in the ‘Avengers’ franchise.

The “Iron Man” actor has appeared on multiple soundtracks including “Chaplin,” “The Singing Detective,” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” His cover of Joni Mitchell’s“River” on TV show “Ally McBeal” was popular, as well.

But the 2004 release of his debut album, “The Futurist,” wasn’t a commercial success and he never released another album.

Listen to “Man Like Me” here.

Brie Larson was 16 when she released her debut album, “Finally Out of P.E.”

Jon Kopaloff/Getty ImagesBrie Larson portrays Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Before she was an Oscar-winner, Larson put out her album and went on tour with Jesse McCartney. She also recorded songs for some of her movies, including “Hoot” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

Listen to “She Said” here.

Kim Kardashian West stepped into the music ring with one single in 2011.

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesKim Kardashian West is married to rapper and producer Kanye West.

Kardashian didn’t have plans for an album when she dropped “Jam (Turn It Up)” and the corresponding music video in 2010. Proceeds from the song went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In 2014, Kardashian told Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live” that she regretted releasing the song.

“It’s definitely a memory and it was a fun experience. We gave the proceeds to a cancer organisation,” she said. “But if there’s one thing in life that I wish I didn’t do … I don’t like it when people kind of dabble into things they shouldn’t be. And that I don’t think I should have. Like, what gave me the right to think I could be a singer? Like, I don’t have a good voice.”

Listen to “Jam (Turn It Up)” here.

Tom Hardy was once signed as a rapper.

Tristan Fewings/Getty ImagesTom Hardy portrayed Eddie Brock/Venom in 2018’s ‘Venom.’

In 2011, the “Dunkirk” star admitted to being a rapper in his teens.

He told the BBC, “I started out rapping when I was 14 or 15. Because I come from a nice middle-class neighbourhood, it was a very hard sell…I used to be with the guy who managed Leela James and Lauryn Hill, Pras, the Fugees and all that…I’ve recorded loads of stuff but it’s never been released.”

Thanks to the internet, an old mixtape was shared on Reddit in 2018. It featured DJ Eddie Too Tall (real name Ed Tracy) and Tommy No. 1 (actually Hardy). Unfortunately, the mixtape has since been taken down.

“The Hills” star Heidi Montag released her self-funded debut album in 2010, but it was an instant flop.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesHeidi Montag stars in 2019’s ‘The Hills: New Beginnings.’

The reality TV star spent nearly $US2 million dollars over the course of three years to release her debut album, “Superficial.” Before the independent release, she performed one of her songs at the 2009 Miss Universe pageant, but her performance was met with a lot of negative criticism.

She told Entertainment Weekly that she had lofty music goals in 2010.

“This is the first album, and I think the possibilities of where this is going to go is going to be infinite,” she said.

She also said that regardless of how the album performed, she would still pursue music.

“I have a million Twitter followers and they’re all very excited. So that’s at least a million people right there,” she said. “I don’t expect it to be instant. Maybe it’s the biggest album in a couple months? Maybe it’s the biggest album in a year? But I will never stop music. This is the first album of many to come.”

It wasn’t. “Superficial” sold just 1,000 copies in its first week. She hasn’t released a full album since.

Listen to “Higher” here.

Ryan Gosling formed a rock duo with his friend.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesRyan Gosling is a Canadian actor.

Gosling and his friend Zach Shields formed a group called Dead Man’s Bones. Their one and only album came out in 2009. And while the spooky self-titled album showcased their talents, nothing really came from it. The group toured but hasn’t released another album since.

The actor did, however, show off his musical chops in the Academy Award-winning film, “La La Land,” in 2016.

Listen to “In The Room Where You Sleep” here.

Bruce Willis released two albums in the ’80s.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesBruce Willis played a harmonica during a 2017 benefit concert.

The “Die Hard” actor released his first album, “The Return of Bruno,” in 1987. The R&B album featured musicians including The Pointer Sisters and The Temptations. It was accompanied by an HBO mockumentary also starring Willis as his own fictitious alter ego named Bruno Radolini.

The album reached No. 14 on the Billboard charts. Willis followed the album up with another in 1998, but it didn’t chart.

Listen to “Under the Boardwalk” here.

Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t released any albums, but she has had a couple of singles.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesGwyneth Paltrow portrayed Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Paltrow first released two singles that were covers of other artists back in 2000. Then in 2010, she used her vocals for the movie “Country Strong” and during a short stint on “Glee.”

Listen to “Country Strong” here.

Eddie Murphy had two hit singles in his career, but released his last album in 1993.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesEddie Murphy voiced Mushu in Disney’s 1998 animated movie, ‘Mulan.’

The comedic actor has released five albums in his career, two of which were comedy albums and three that were studio albums. His debut studio album, “How Could It Be,” peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard charts. It became his most commercially successful album and featured his classic “Party All the Time.”

Later in his career, he lent his voice to the “Shrek” movies where he played Donkey. In 2013, he was working on an album titled “9.” It wasn’t released, but in 2015, he had a song land on the Billboard reggae charts.

Listen to “Party All the Time” here.

“Charmed” star Alyssa Milano has four albums to her name, but she released them in Japan.

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesAlyssa Milano starred on Netflix’s ‘Insatiable.’

She signed a four-album deal with a Japanese record label and was an international sensation, but she wasn’t interested in pursuing an American music career.

“A lot of actors who release albums here are laughed at,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not interested in crossing over. I’d much rather have it released where it’s appreciated than laughed at.”

Her final album was released in 1992.

Listen to “Look in My Heart” here.

Russell Crowe has been making music since the ’80s, but none of it has been a huge success.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesRussell Crowe portrayed Javert in 2012’s ‘Les Misérables.’

Crowe first performed under the name Russ le Roq back in the ’80s. Later, he and his friend formed the band Roman Antix, which then became 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. They released three albums, the last in 2003, and went on a few tours before the group disbanded in 2005.

This was followed by another band: Russell Crowe and the Ordinary Fear of God. In 2012, Crowe sang in the movie adaptation of Broadway musical “Les Misérables” as Inspector Javert. He is now part of a band called Indoor Garden Party.

Listen to “Sail Those Same Oceans” here.

Shaquille O’Neal had a semi-successful music career when he released four albums in five years — all while still playing basketball.

Joe Scarnici/Getty ImagesShaquille O’Neal released six albums from 1993 to 2001.

A man of many talents, O’Neal first hit the rap scene with his first album, “Shaq Diesel” in 1993. It landed at No. 25 on the Billboard charts. Over the years, he worked with rappers including The Notorious B.I.G and A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg. O’Neal had a fifth album planned, but it was scrapped in 2001.

That same year, he told Billboard that having a music career wasn’t a joke.

“I take this music-business stuff very seriously,” he said. “I don’t do it for the money or the publicity.”

The former basketball star dropped a couple of diss tracks in 2017. One was aimed at LaVar Ball, the father of NBA player Lonzo Ball. He then got into a rap beef with comedian Michael Dapaah, who sometimes goes by Big Shaq.

Listen to “(I Know I Got) Skillz” here.

Naomi Campbell released her one and only album in 1994.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty ImagesNaomi Campbell is an English model and actress.

The supermodel was slammed by critics when she came out with “Baby Woman.” The pop album only sold 175 copies in the first two weeks of its release but was popular in Japan, according to The Guardian.

Since then, she’s continued to star in music videos alongside Madonna, Jay Z, and Duran Duran.

Listen to “Baby Woman” here.

Emma Roberts released an album during her Nickelodeon “Unfabulous” days.

Evan Agostini/Invision/APEmma Roberts starred on FX’s ‘American Horror Story.’

The “We’re the Millers” actress released “Unfabulous and More” back in 2005. Although the album peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Kids Albums chart she hasn’t released any new music since then.

Listen to “Unfabulous and More” here.

Jada Pinkett Smith was the lead singer of nu-metal band, Wicked Wisdom.

Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM)Jada Pinkett Smith is the host of ‘Red Table Talk’ on Facebook Watch.

They released one self-titled album in 2006 – with some executive producing from Pinket Smith’s husband, Will Smith. The group is made up of Pinkett Smith, Pocket Honore on guitar, Rio Lawrence on bass, Cameron Graves on guitar and keyboards, and former Fishbone band member Phillip Fisher on drums.

Early on in their career, they dealt with a lot of backlash from metal fans, and the mother-of-two even told Metro she received death threats.

It began when they played at the 2005 Ozzfest (an annual music festival founded by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne). “The Matrix” actress told Billboard that she understood the confusion from fans, but she’s always been a heavy metal fan and grew up on rock music.

“Yes, it’s been difficult, but it’s also been one of the most gratifying experiences to just knock people’s socks off, because what I’m doing is so unexpected,” she told Billboard in 2005.

They toured in 2013 and had some shows in 2018, but there hasn’t been more news about any new albums in the works.

Listen to “Wicked Wisdom” here.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.