18 Former Musicians Who Left The Industry To Work Totally “Normal” Jobs

I guess Hannah Montana was wrong about the whole “best of both worlds” thing.

The fame and fortune that often come with making it big in music can be life-changing for a lot of people. However, the stress of constantly touring or being tied to a label isn’t always worth it, so some musicians end up stepping away from the spotlight to pursue a quieter life.

Here are 18 former musicians who went on to have “regular” jobs:


Rapper MC Hammer was ordained in the Church of God in Christ and became a pastor at Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose.

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He told the Los Angeles Times that several “wake-up calls,” such as bankruptcy and the death of his friend Tupac Shakur, “triggered a rediscovery of faith.”


After the failure of her second single, “I Wanna Be Bad” singer Willa Ford became an interior designer.

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“A lot of people don’t realize this, but my second single was released on Sept. 11, 2001,” she told Billboard, “Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still, as it should have. My second single didn’t do well because anything that launched that day kind of got canned.”


Steely Dan’s founding member Jeffrey Allen “Skunk” Baxter’s interest in recording technology led him to become a counterterrorism expert for the US Department of Defense.

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The guitarist told the Wall Street Journal, “My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at.”


After leaving Chumbawamba, Alice Nutter became a successful playwright and screenwriter.

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She told the Guardian that she became a writer because “I’d been planning it, in my head, all my life.”


After leaving the Supremes, Cindy Birdsong followed her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

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She also worked as a secretary and a minister.


Rapper Vanilla Ice flips houses on the DIY Network show The Vanilla Ice Project.

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He has more than 15 years of hands-on experience in home improvement.


Russell Senior, who played guitar and violin in Pulp, became an antiques dealer and novelist.

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He told the Guardian that he left the band because the record label seemed to care more about lead singer Jarvis Cocker than the other members. He said, “I think the band were relieved, to be honest, because the atmosphere had become so poisonous — although treating my departure as if they had lost a plectrum was a bit hurtful.”


After a motorcycle accident left him hospitalized for a month, Public Enemy DJ Terminator X relocated to North Carolina to become an ostrich farmer.

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He was inspired by the UK’s boom in ostrich farming after a mad cow disease scare affected the country’s beef industry.


After leaving Faith No More, guitarist Jim Martin became a competitive giant-pumpkin farmer and property manager.

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He told the East Bay Times, “Growing these [pumpkins] isn’t all that different than what I used to do in music. If you want to be good, you have to give it what it needs.”


After the boyband JLS split up, JB Gill purchased a farm and began raising turkeys and pigs.

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He also taught young viewers about farm life and the outdoors on the UK show Down on the Farm.


Drummer Bill Berry left R.E.M. to become a hay farmer in Georgia.

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After two brain aneurysms caused him to collapse onstage in Switzerland, he decided that he was ready to lead a quieter life.

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He first learned about watchmaking from his grandfather, who was an antiques dealer. He later won a scholarship to a prestigious watchmaking course.


After leaving Sons and Daughters, bassist Ailidh Lennon moved to the Isle of Iona, off the Scottish coast, to become a weaver and chef.

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She told NME, “I’ve always been a frustrated art-school type, so working with textiles was a no-brainer.”


After leaving the Rakes, singer Alan Donohoe became a software engineer.

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He told NME, “I’d enjoyed writing music that people connected with, but this work provides an intellectual challenge that music lacked.”


Lloyd Dobbs, former bassist for the Paddingtons, is a manager at the charity Goodwin Development Trust.

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The organization works to better the community in his hometown of Hull in the UK.

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She creates under the name Miss Pokeno.


Singer and guitarist Benedict Gautrey left the Cooper Temple Clause to pursue a degree in occupational psychology and now works at Great Place to Work UK.

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He told NME, “Being in the Cooper Temple Clause was an amazing experience and we’re still friends, but I don’t miss it because I prefer being a positive influence in people’s lives instead.”


And finally, Elliot Lurie, the lead singer of Looking Glass, became a music executive at Twentieth Century Fox after a failed solo album.

Bobby Bank / Getty Images

The “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” singer started his second career after relocating to Los Angeles in 1984.

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