Are you dreaming of a music career, but worried that you're too old to start?
Age is just a number, and when it comes to pursuing your passion for music, there's no such thing as ‘too late’.
In fact, starting your music career later in life can bring unique advantages. With years of life experience under your belt, you bring a depth and richness to your music that younger artists can only aspire to. Your lyrics and melodies are infused with the wisdom and perspective that come from living, loving, and learning. And with modern technology, it's easier than ever to produce and distribute your music on a global scale. From recording software to social media platforms, the tools you need to create and share your music are at your fingertips.
But perhaps the greatest benefit of starting your music career late in life is the joy and fulfilment it brings. There's nothing quite like the thrill of creating something that moves people, and when you pursue your passion for music, you tap into a wellspring of creativity that can enrich every aspect of your life.
Here are nine famous musicians who prove that it's never too late to chase your dreams. Read on to learn some lesser-known facts about their journeys and find inspiration to follow your own musical dreams.
Charles Bradley: Known as the "Screaming Eagle of Soul", Bradley didn't release his first album until he was 62 years old. He spent most of his life working odd jobs and performing as a James Brown impersonator. He was discovered by Gabriel Roth, the co-founder of Daptone Records, while performing as a James Brown tribute artist under the name "Black Velvet. Bradley's debut album, "No Time for Dreaming," was released in 2011. Despite facing obstacles like poverty and homelessness, Bradley's passion for music never wavered. He is one of the many beloved figures in the soul and funk scene. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2016, continued to perform and record music throughout his treatment, and passed away on September 23, 2017. His music lives on. Charles Bradley - Why Is It So Hard
Sharon Jones: Jones didn't become a full-time musician until she was in her 40s. She worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison and sang backup vocals for various artists before finally being discovered by, again, Daptone Records. She went on to front the popular funk and soul band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings until her death in 2016. Her dynamic voice and stage presence earned her the nickname "The Female James Brown." Sharon gained a dedicated following and performed on stages around the world, including at major festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings "100 Days, 100 Nights"
Seasick Steve: This blues musician didn't release his debut album until he was 65 years old. Before then, he worked as a session musician and lived a nomadic lifestyle, travelling and performing wherever he could. Steve has released over a dozen albums, and his music has been featured in films and TV shows, including "Breaking Bad" and "Sons of Anarchy." He has collaborated with a number of other artists, including Jack White and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.
In 2011, Seasick Steve was awarded the MOJO magazine award for "Best Breakthrough Act." His unconventional instruments, like a one-stringed guitar made from a hubcap, earned him a dedicated fanbase. Seasick Steve - Summertime Boy
Leonard Cohen: Before becoming a legendary singer-songwriter, Cohen was a successful poet and novelist. He didn't release his first album until he was 33 years old, but his introspective lyrics and deep, gravelly voice made him an instant icon. Despite struggling with depression and financial difficulties throughout his life, Cohen continued to write and perform until his death at age 82. Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
Margo Price: Price didn't release her first album until she was 32 years old, but her raw, honest lyrics and throwback country sound quickly earned her critical acclaim. Before then, she worked as a bartender and lived in poverty, but never gave up on her dream of making music. Margo Price - Charge of Heart Bill Withers: Withers didn't start his music career until he was 32 years old, after serving in the Navy and working as an assembler for Boeing. His soulful voice and timeless hits like "Lean on Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine" made him a legend in the music industry. He went on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 and received numerous other honours throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards. Withers' music has been covered by a wide range of artists, from Michael Jackson and Sting to John Legend and Billie Eilish.Withers' songs are known for their simple, heartfelt lyrics and soulful melodies, and his music has been described as a bridge between the worlds of folk, soul, and R&B. Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
Susan Boyle: Boyle, the Scottish singer became an overnight sensation at age 47 after auditioning for "Britain's Got Talent." Her powerful voice and unexpected rise to fame inspired millions around the world. Before then, she had never performed professionally and had been caring for her elderly mother for years. Susan Boyle's First Audition 'I Dreamed a Dream' | Britain's Got Talent
Andrea Bocelli: The Italian tenor didn't start seriously pursuing music until he was in his thirties, but has since become one of the world's most famous and successful classical musicians. He made his professional debut in 1992, performing the role of Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème at the Teatro Comunale di Cagliari in Italy. Bocelli's breakthrough came in 1994 when he recorded a duet with Italian pop star Zucchero. The song, "Miserere," became a hit in Italy and helped Bocelli gain wider recognition.Bocelli has collaborated with a range of artists, from pop stars like Celine Dion and Ed Sheeran to classical musicians like Plácido Domingo and Yo-Yo Ma.In 1999, Bocelli performed at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II and has since performed at several other important events, including the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006. He has sold over 90 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Andrea Bocelli, Matteo Bocelli - Fall On Me
So don't let age hold you back from pursuing your dream of a music career. Embrace the opportunities and advantages that come with starting later in life, and let your music take you to new heights. Pick up that instrument, write that song, and let your passion for music shine. And if you need assistance, reach out to Taaqademy ;-)!