Julian is a filmmaker and photographer. He received his M.A. in Communication from Wichita State and currently works for Yale University.
10 Actors with Surprising Musical Abilities
Have you ever seen video of your favorite actor (or actress!) outside of any of their roles and been blown away by what they were doing? It could be something as small as talking about a hobby or as big as showing off a talent you may not have known they possessed. The reason this can be so surprising is likely because we're used to seeing them play a specific role on screen and not necessarily be who they really are. We've always seen them purposefully set apart from the personal interests and passions (aside from acting, maybe).
To help break these barriers we so often find between ourselves and the perceptions we have of our favorite on-screen talent, enjoy this list of 10 actors who have surprising musical abilities!
10. Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) isn't Nearly as Terrifying as a Musician
It's sometimes a little jarring to see actors, playing characters we've come to know and love (or in this case really, really despise) on the big screen, when they're themselves outside of the show. One such case, if you're familiar with Game of Thrones, is actor Iwan Rheon who played the terrifying and evil Ramsay Bolton.
And while it might be odd to see him singing in his music video, it's amazing and refreshing to have another reminder that our favorite actors are people outside of their roles, with passions and personalities we could never glean from their time playing roles in our favorite shows!
And he's not our last Game of Thrones cast member on this list, either!
9. Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) is a Trained Opera Singer
You likely know Mike Rowe best from his time hosting the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. You might not know that he happens to be trained in opera singing and even spent time singing for the Baltimore Opera.
It's really interesting that Rowe's television career focused on the dirty and unglamorous roles people take in certain jobs. It's the complete opposite of the theme you might think of, or even encounter, when going to the opera.
It's crazy to think what kind of talent someone possesses when they don't actively promote it, and it can be seen that Mike has incredible talent when he's asked to sing opera spontaneously on a CNN broadcast.
Or when he was nominated as an honorary lifetime member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
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8. Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things) is in a Rock Band
For those familiar with Gaten Matarazzo's career, they'd probably know that he got his start on Broadway, so it should come as no surprise that he's able to sing. However, for those who were first introduced to him through his performance as Dustin in the Netflix series Stranger Things, many were surprised when he sang in the NeverEnding story scene in season three of the series.
He's a surprisingly good vocalist (based off our pre-determined notion of who he is based on his Stranger Things character), and he has such a distinctive voice that it's just as easy picturing him singing as part of his alternative rock group Work in Progress!
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt can Tear it up on the Drums
This one might be one of the least surprising entries on the list, since Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been asked to play drums a number of times on a variety of late night shows. Nonetheless, I was blown away by how impressive his drumming actually was. I was anticipating him being more of a beginner on the set, but it turned out it was something he's obviously dedicated a lot of time and effort into learning!
Not to mention the fact that he's self-taught makes it even more impressive. Plus, what's more humanizing than seeing a self-produced drum cover video done by Gordon-Levitt himself, in his own home and barefoot?
6. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) was Part of a Punk Band in the 90's
Peter Dinklage, who played the Game of Thrones fan-favorite character Tyrion Lannister, actually spent some time in a punk band called WHIZZY during the 90s! He was the band's co-frontman and even played the cornet for the group. Through some rare photos of WHIZZY in concert, we can confirm that a young Peter Dinklage was in fact right there rocking out on stage.
While it's been reported that the group recorded and released a demo while they were active, there unfortunately aren't any full copies available online for our listening pleasure. But, while their demo has potentially been lost, there does exist a portion of one of their songs, titled "Get", that actually really slaps. While it's only a minute and a half of the track, it's what we'll have to make due with until the rest of their demo resurfaces!
5. Joe Keery (Stranger Things) Plays Psychedelic Rock When He's Not Stomping the Demogorgon on Stranger Things
So first of all, if you haven't watched Stranger Things yet, stop reading this list right now and watch it immediately. All three seasons are available on Netflix. Don't have an account? Snag the credentials from a friend, family member, coworker, acquaintance or their dog. You'll seriously be doing yourself a huge favor.
I don't mean to spoil things for you, but Joe Keery's character, Steve Harrington, is easily one of my favorite Stranger Things characters, largely in part to his great redemption arc and growth as an individual. He's certainly a fan favorite of the show, too, and honestly, I wasn't surprised to find out he was part of a rock band outside of his obligations for the Netflix series.
When he's not taking a modified baseball bat (with nails protruding from it) to the Demogorgon (one of the show's antagonists), Keery can occasionally be found on stage performing with psychedelic rock band Post Animal, who recently released their album "Forward Motion Godyssey".
And in case you're wanting to see Joe perform with the group, check out this live music video of the group performing "When I Get Home."
4. Keanu Reeves Used to Play Bass for DOGSTAR
Keanu Reeves' career has been a pleasure to watch unfold, from his rise to fame as Neo in The Matrix to his resurgence starring in John Wick and his subsequent ascension to the internet's list of most beloved individuals. While most of us probably know Reeves as a gun-wielding badass who warps time and avenges dead dogs, years ago he also used to play bass for the group DOGSTAR.
Check out this clip of him performing with the group on Jay Leno:
And digging even further back, you can find a performance Keanu put on performing a song called "Isabelle" around 1995:
3. Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones) Produces Amazing R&B
Most probably know Jacob Anderson from his role as Grey Worm, the ruthless and loyal leader of The Unsullied army in HBO's Game of Thrones. This character's backstory involves ritual castration and a life of enslavement to the wealthy who owned his army. After being freed, Anderson's character is understandably a man of very few words.
However, as a man of few words while in character, Anderson has quite a bit to say when he's producing music as Raleigh Ritchie! Seeing him in his music videos, and hearing him sing, is such a complete 180 from his role in the show, it's mind-blowing!
2. Bruce Willis Released R&B Albums in the 80's
Bruce Willis, while on screen, is usually a no-nonsense, ass-kicking machine. At one point, he had a softer side when it came to his musical career. He produced a couple pop-blues albums in the late 1980s, where his single "Respect Yourself" even featured the Pointer Sisters!
Watching him perform live is a blast, too. He genuinely looks like he's enjoying the performance, which really takes you into the set.
1. Ryan Gosling Performs Under the Alias "Baby Goose" in the band Dead Man's Bones
Gosling's musical side project might be another of the more well-known acts on the list, but it doesn't change the fact that I was blown away when I found out he was part of an indie rock outfit called Dead Man's Bones. I'd never heard of them before, but I was familiar with Gosling's work on-screen and had never pictured him as a musician before, and was taken aback when I listened to his music and was really impressed.
A rock duo with his friend Zach Shields, Dead Man's Bones has a considerably streaming presence on Spotify with their music videos reaching millions of people, but they've only released one album.
Their work is sometimes haunting, and I'm hoping they someday release more work together.
Julian Liby (author) from Connecticut on April 09, 2020:
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on April 09, 2020:
Nice compilation. Good work. Keep in touch.