Somehow nobody discusses these following celebrities having made it later in life. While to a 60-year-old being 30 sounds like being a teenager, to the rest of the world and industry at large, if you didn’t make it before 22, you’re wasted goods. Or are you? Welp, we think the young musicians’ managers invented this stigma to discourage the much more talented mature people from entering the competition. And also because a grown man or woman will not blindly sign away his masters at 30. So it’s bad for business to be smart AND talented. Read below to find out who are the top 10 famous musicians who made it in their 30s!
Note: We’ve classified the artists based on their current level of fame.
10. Debbie Harry
Born in 1945, Deborah Ann Harry is known as the lead singer of Blondie. Little did we know that she actually started out as a secretary for the BBC, a professional dancer, and even went to be a Playboy Bunny. She co-founded Blondie in 1974 in New York City, when she was 29 years old and barely in 1978 with the release of Parallel Lines, did they start getting industry recognition and commercial acclaim. That makes Debbie 33 years old at the time of her initial success.
9. Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper was born in 1953. This girl was bullied, ridiculed, and even had stones thrown at her for her sense of fashion in school. She also had to run away from an abusive home, move to another country, do odd jobs, then transition to singing covers, then losing her voice due to damage on her vocal cords, then going broke, and FINALLY in 1983, her debut album, She’s So Unusual, brought her the much-coveted fame and financial freedom. That got tiring just reading it out loud, but going through it sounds like a complete nightmare.
8. Sheryl Crow
Born in 1962, Sheryl Crow was initially a music teacher with live band gigs during the weekends. She started getting serious industry connections when she was picked as a back vocalist for Michael Jackson’s 1987–1989 Bad tour. She only got to start working on her first project in 1992 with Sting’s producer, Hugh Padgham. She was exactly 30 years old. But… the label decided the album was not good enough and the whole thing got scrapped. A year later she debuted Tuesday Night Music Club and it finally put her name on the map. Sheryl Crow was 31 years old when the commercial success embraced her work.
7. Robin Thicke
Born in 1977, Robin Alan Thicke was 36 years old when he finally got famous with Blurred Lines in 2013. While his mother was a singer and his father an actor, the family connections didn’t prompt Thicke to the limelight. Actually, his father refused to pay for his studio sessions when the guy was in a vocal group wanting his son to focus on school instead. Hm… Safe to say that the father knew how unstable the entertainment industry was and wanted a more peaceful path for his progeny.
6. Billy Ray Cyrus
Born in 1961, Billy Ray Cyrus first became famous at 31 years old with Achy Breaky Heart. Truth be told, millennials knew him as Miley Cyrus’s dad and generation Z know him as the guy who sung Old Town Road with Lil Nas X. The funny part is that the guy managed to keep his name in mainstream pop culture over decades now albeit for different reasons each time. As for his body of work, it’s truly massive: 16 studio albums and 53 singles since 1992.
5. 2 Chainz
Born in 1977, Tauheed K. Epps initially went by Tity Boi and albeit going through several deals and numerous projects, none of them brought fame or major success. After a complete rebranding process, 2 Chainz put out T.R.U. REALigion in 2011 at 34 years old. The mixtape established his first solo commercial acclaim. His first hit song was No Lie feat. Drake in 2012, when he was 35.
4. Sean Paul
Born in 1973, Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques (is he a royal?), did the whole circuit of open mics, dropping demos, hitting the studios repeatedly, and engaging in local performances. His first album, Stage One, only peaked at number 98 for the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number 2 for Top Reggae Albums. Needless to say, it’s not what made him Sean Paul. He was 27 at the time. Get Busy is when he started making it. That was in 2003 at exactly 30 years old. And he truly cemented his fame with The Trinity, in 2005 at 32 years old.
Akon was born in 1973 just like Sean Paul. He spent most of his childhood in Senegal where he picked up 5 instruments. According to Wiki, Akon rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of Locked Up (featuring Styles P), the first single from his debut album Trouble (2004), followed by the second single Lonely. That makes Akon 31 years old when he got to know fame. He became an international star with Smack That in 2008 which means he was 35 years old at the time.
Born in 1975, Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (thank God for stage names!) was a singer in the acid jazz band Crisp in the mid-1990s in Adelaide, Australia. The band dissolved, the singer moved to Australia and released multiple solo albums except they didn’t bring her worldwide acclaim. The albums did however set her up for penning multiple records for numerous, much more famous artists. It was Some People Have Real Problems that brought the singer more appreciation than the first three albums. It was released in 2008 which means Sia was 33 years old. Many still didn’t know her though. She became the famous Sia in 2014 with Chandelier at 39 years old.
1. Jennifer Lopez
To the surprise of many, J Lo actually made it later than many of her counterparts in the music business. Born in 1969, Jennifer Lynn Lopez juggled acting and music, becoming successful in both fields. Lopez commenced her path into the music industry with her debut studio album On the 6 (1999), at exactly 30 years old. Granted, she built her connections and budget from her movies before entertaining the idea of a professional musician.
Please support the independent artists we’ve discovered across the world by streaming the playlist below. A little of your time is one step closer for at least 20 artists in the direction of their dreams.