For some entertainers, choosing just one career path is sufficient. After all, having to balance their jobs along with catering to fans and maintaining relevance can be a lot to handle. But for others, there’s no such thing as doing too much.

It’s not uncommon for musicians to have minor guest appearances on sitcoms or pop up in a movie every now and then. However, it sometimes comes as a shock when those who are mainly praised for delivering tear-jerking scenes and starring in highly anticipated films decide to put down the script and pick up the microphone.

Below is a list of actors and actresses who are so passionate about the arts they decided to expand their portfolios. Whether their alter ego is a hardcore rapper or a heavy-hitting rockstar, these talented individuals know how to captivate an audience in more ways than one.

1. Jamie Foxx

Renowned for starring in heartfelt depictions of real-life events like Ray and Just Mercy, as well as infusing humor into films like They Cloned Tyrone and Held Up, Jamie Foxx’s versatility cannot be questioned. But he’s not just undeniable on screen, he’s also unstoppable on the mic. Dating back to the early 2000s, the Texas native has aided top hits such as “Gold Digger” by Kanye West and “Slow Jamz” by Twista. Not content with just being a collaborator, Foxx has topped charts with records of his own like “DJ Play a Love Song” and “Unpredictable.”

2. Idris Elba

Born in the United Kingdom, Idris Elba shocked thousands with his ability to speak like an American in films. What’s even more shocking is that the well-known actor is also a musician. Whether he’s crafting beats for others, spinning tracks in clubs all around the world, or spitting rhymes and singing his own tunes, Elba deserves the title of music connoisseur. His musical expertise is heavily influenced by African heritage and reggae culture, which both shape his distinctive sound.

3. Tatyana Ali

One of the most memorable young faces from the ’90s, Tatyana Ali’s role as Ashley Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” made her a standout star and launched the trajectory of her career in more ways than one. Ali’s character harbored a passion for singing, so it did not come as a surprise when she chose to pursue the career in real life. She typically released upbeat R&B music that catered to the topic of love and relationships. Her first, and only album, Kiss the Sky, was released in 1998. The single “Daydreamin’” spent seven weeks on the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B chart.

4. Eddie Murphy

Perhaps one of the most seasoned comics and actors, Eddie Murphy has been a powerhouse in the entertainment industry for decades. From dishing out comedic gold on “Saturday Night Live” to doing voiceover work on Shrek, Murphy has greatly contributed to the advancement of television and film. Aside from acting, however, he also has an ear for music. From the early ’80s to the early ’90s, the New York-born star released four albums. While on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Murphy admitted that the late comedian Richard Pryor bet him $100,000 that he wouldn’t release music with no jokes. “He never paid me,” Murphy admitted. In 1985, his hit “Party All the Time,” which was written and produced by the legend Rick James, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for three weeks.

5. Terrence Howard

One can’t portray Lucious Lyon, the CEO of a record label on the drama “Empire,” or DJay, an aspiring MC on Hustle & Flow, and not go on to have a music career of their own. In 2008, Terrence Howard released his album Shine Through It. Equipped with 11 songs, the project featured Hip Hop sounds, smooth R&B and even blues. The entertainer didn’t “concern himself with genres” and worked “outside his range,” as the album described.

6. Jada Pinkett Smith

In the early 2000s, well into her established career as a talented actress, Jada Pinkett Smith took a surprising detour and created a nu metal band called Wicked Wisdom. Pinkett Smith referred to herself as Jada Koren while in the group. The band consisted of four other members: Cameron “Worm” Graves, Rio, Phillip “Fish” Fisher and Pocket Honore. Together, the musicians gained an abundance of recognition and even went on to open for Britney Spears on her “Onyx Hotel Tour,” per MTV News. “I always wanted an opportunity to get out there and rock out,” she told the media outlet at the time.

7. Will Smith

Will Smith is celebrated for his ability to immerse himself in the characters that he plays and deliver gut-wrenching scenes. But before he became one of the best actors to grace the big screen, he had dreams of being a rapper. Smith started releasing music in the ’80s alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff. In 1989, they went on to win the first Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Following this, he delivered one of the best theme songs to exist for “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The anthem not only stuck in viewers’ heads, but it also marked the beginning of his iconic television career.

8. Maya Rudolph

Daughter of the late singer Minnie Riperton, Maya Rudolph has always had the love of music running through her veins. Her father, Richard Rudolph, produced hundreds of songs over the years for acts like The Temptations and Chaka Khan, according to People. While comedic acting takes center stage in her career, Maya has used her vocal abilities while starring in films like Disenchanted and Strange Magic. She also has musical performances posted online.

9. Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell is a woman of countless talents: She’s been a fashion model, actress, designer and television host. Yet, there is one endeavor that often flies under the radar — her singing journey. In 1994, Campbell released Baby Woman, a pop album consisting of 11 tracks. Aside from creating a project of her own, the London native has appeared on the “Empire” soundtrack and also lent her voice to records by Quincy Jones and Vanilla Ice.

10. Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart has proven that his abilities are limitless. Has he made tens of thousands of audience members laugh hysterically? Of course. Can he effortlessly transform into a serious actor in drama-filled movies? For sure. Is he a skilled interviewer who has in-depth conversations with A-List celebrities? Indeed. But that’s not all — Hart’s also made it clear that he can use his comical wit to pursue a rap career. Going by the moniker Chocolate Droppa, he teamed up with Trey Songz to release “Push It On Me” in 2016. He also delivered a comedic freestyle during the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher.

11. Zendaya

Zendaya got her start as a Disney Channel star, playing lead roles in the sitcoms “Shake It Up” and “K.C. Undercover” as well as films like Frenemies and Zapped. Like many of the teenagers on the network, Zendaya soon started to dabble in music. Whether she sang the theme songs for shows or had solos in films, Zen showed she was multifaceted. In 2013, the young talent released her debut album, proving she had what it took to be a singer beyond her acting roles.

12. Zoë Kravitz

When your mother is actress Lisa Bonet and your father is musician Lenny Kravitz, choosing a career path might seem overwhelming. But for Zoë Kravitz, why choose one when you can conquer both? She has been acting for years, appearing in films like The Batman, Divergent and more. Additionally, she explored her musical talents by being in an R&B and electropop duo called LOLAWOLF. Together, Zoë and drummer Jimmy Giannopoulos worked with artists like Miley Cyrus and A$AP Rocky.

13. Tyra Banks

The iconic “Top Model” host has not just graced the runway but has paved the way for models and actresses alike. From hosting one of the top fashion competition shows of all time to guest starring in television series and movies across multiple networks, Tyra Banks knows how to collect a bag. Throughout her career, she also dabbled in music, creating fun, upbeat records that coincided with her bubbly personality. Her songs “Shake Ya Body,” “Bootyful” and “You Wanna Be On Top” all mimicked the energetic spirit that she has shown on television.

14. Tristan Mack Wilds

Best known for his roles in drama series such as “The Wire,” “90210” and “Swagger,” Tristan Mack Wilds has an undeniable talent that demands attention. Beyond acting, Wilds is also an R&B singer, songwriter and producer. According to Apple Music, his career began in the early 2010s under the name Mack Wilds. After releasing music with Sony, he became independent a couple of years later and released his second album. Wilds has partnered with well-respected artists like Wale, Dave East, Tink and more.

15. Mehcad Brooks

Actor and former fashion model Mehcad Brooks appeared in popular films such as A Fall from Grace and Nobody’s Fool by Tyler Perry, as well as Just Wright with stars Queen Latifah and Common. In 2018, the Austin, Texas native released his debut album, May 20TH, which consisted of 16 songs. As far as the name of the project, in a Facebook post, Brooks explained that on May 20, 2009, he survived a near-death experience while being hospitalized for a parasite. Exactly two years later, he survived a head-on collision that caused a multi-day coma.

16. Kel Mitchell

Kel Mitchell has been an enduring figure in Black culture since the 1990s. As a teen starring in “Kenan & Kel,” “All That” and Good Burger, Mitchell stood out by being the energetic — and oftentimes airheaded — character. Beyond creating catchy tunes for the series that he played in, the revered talent ventured into making music of his own. In 2022, he released a gospel rap song with nobigdyl and Scootie Wop called “Blessed Mode.” He kept the same infectious energy alive in 2023, dropping “Go Time,” a lively song that talked about his faith and encouraged others.

17. Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon is a media mogul who catapulted many of his successors into fame, an accomplished actor who starred in an assortment of films, and an artist who has had a love for music since he entered the industry. While acting has been at the forefront of his career, Cannon got his start in music at age 8 when his grandfather gave him his first instrument, according to Apple Music. Since 2013, Cannon has dropped records consistently, rapping on beats alongside Jeremih, Jacquees, Gucci Mane and countless others.