They Can Do It All: Musicians Who Also Act

Did you know that Dolly Parton is also a star of the silver screen? Find out which other musicians have taken their talents to Hollywood!

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SiriusXM Editor
February 7, 2023

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

We all know and love musicians like Dolly Parton and Harry Styles for their catchy tunes and hit songs, but have you ever seen them on screen? From starring in blockbuster movies to making guest appearances on our favorite TV shows, these celebs have shown they can shine in any arena.

Read on to discover six great singers who have also graced our screens in the world of film and TV!

1. Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson is a global superstar known for her best-selling music and show-stopping performances. As the youngest of 10 kids in the Jackson family, Janet was surrounded by music and entertainment from a young age. In 2019, she was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! But have you seen her as a star on-screen? While Janet made her acting debut in her younger years with several TV appearances, her big break came in 1993 when she starred in the film Poetic Justice. She went on to appear in a variety of film and TV projects, including Why Did I Get Married? (2007) and The Last Summer (2019).

Find out more about Janet Jackson’s musical influences in this SiriusXM interview:

2. David Bowie

Born in Brixton, London, David Bowie’s impressive career brought us iconic songs like “Space Oddity,” “Rebel Rebel,” and “Heroes.” However, this isn’t where the sensational singer’s talent ends. David also had a successful acting career, appearing in over 30 films, television shows, and theatrical productions. You might know him as the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986) or as a British soldier in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983).

If you’re a Ziggy Stardust fan, check out this rare 1998 interview where David opens up about his family background and mental illness:

3. Taylor Swift

Country-turned-pop sensation Taylor Swift made her acting debut all the way back in 2009 in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. This was the year of her dramatic VMAs scandal with Kanye West, but that didn’t stop her from shining. Since then, she’s released eight more albums and expanded her acting experience, joining the star-studded casts of Valentine’s Day (2010), The Giver (2014), and Cats (2019). She’s even added voice acting to her repertoire with the 2012 movie of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax! 

If she wasn’t a music star, though, acting wouldn’t be at the top of Taylor’s list. Instead, she hinted at a furniture career in this throwback interview with SiriusXM:

4. Beyoncé

With a whole range of best-selling bangers under her belt, Queen Bey’s filmography is pretty extensive, too. Making her film debut in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), she went on to star in Dreamgirls (2006), The Lion King (2019), and more. Turns out, all this acting also paid off in her music. Her portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, for which she received a record-setting six GRAMMY Awards in 2010!

Listen to Beyoncé and more on The Heat (Ch. 46).


5. Harry Styles

Starting out in the boyband One Direction, Harry Styles went on to become one of the biggest pop stars of our time as a solo artist. You’ve probably danced around to “Watermelon Sugar” and heard “As It Was” all over your TikTok feed, but have you ever seen him star in a movie? He made his acting debut in the 2017 war drama Dunkirk and recently starred in the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling (2022).

Luckily for us, Harry’s blossoming on-screen career hasn’t stopped him from making music. Here’s Harry giving it his all in a live performance for SiriusXM:

6. Dolly Parton

Queen of country Dolly Parton has provided us with so much love and laughter throughout her decades-long career. Her hit single “9 to 5” is a classic, but did you know that she wrote it for the 1980 movie of the same name? This comedy was also her film debut, and since then she’s been in movies like Steel Magnolias (1989) and even Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009). On top of that, Dolly’s hit “I Will Always Love You” was re-recorded by Whitney Houston for the soundtrack of her own film debut, The Bodyguard (1992).

Here’s Dolly talking about the first time she heard Whitney’s version of her song:

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