Top 10 Singers Who Got Normal Jobs
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Singers Who Got Normal Jobs.
For this list, we’ll be looking at famous singers and musicians who took a step back from the limelight in order to pursue a normal career.
Which current artists could you see working everyday jobs, and what could you picture them doing? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Russell Senior
This artist was unafraid to rejoin the common people. Pulp guitarist and violinist Russell Senior had been with the Britpop group since 1983, seeing them through their mid-‘90s success. But after they broke out, in part thanks to frontman Jarvis Cocker’s colorful personality, Senior had, in his own words, “run out of juice.” He departed from Pulp in 1997, having had a strong aversion to their next lead single, “Help the Aged,” and wanting to end on a high note. Soon, he set his sights elsewhere. Senior told the Guardian in 2009 that he had become an antique glassware dealer and was also writing a book about Pulp’s glory days, which hit shelves in 2015 to relatively positive reviews.
#9: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter
His nickname may make you wrinkle your nose, but he’s got a pretty sweet side hustle. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter was part of multiple huge ‘70s and ‘80s groups back-to-back, and that isn’t even the most impressive thing on his resume. In 1995, Baxter was nominated chairman of an unlikely panel: the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense. While that may seem like a left-field endeavor, the former Steely Dan guitarist had long been primed for the gig. As far back as the mid-1980s, his experience with music tech crossed over to that of the military, and he passed his paper on to a friend in Congress. Today, Baxter is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and several research institutes.
#8: Ailidh Lennon
After more than a decade together, these sonic siblings went their separate ways. Scottish indie rock band Sons and Daughters announced their disbandment in 2012, following the release of their fourth album “Mirror Mirror.” That being said, former bassist Ailidh Lennon is still very much a creative, albeit in a different medium. Documented on her Instagram and official website, she has not one but two new careers. Living in the Isle of Iona (EYE-oh-nuh), she’s both a textile maker and, wait for it…runs a pizza business. Simply titled “Ailidh,” the business’s Instagram bio reads “A girl with an oven in the Hebrides.” (HEB-ruh-deez) Hopefully, Lennon is raking in the dough with both her designs, and, well, dough.
#7: Jordan Pruitt
From receptions to RVs, this singer is more than a nostalgic voice. Jordan Pruitt first made the rounds on Disney Channel in the mid 2000s, appearing on soundtracks and touring with the likes of the Cheetah Girls. She’d later resurface in 2012 on season 3 of “The Voice,” where she competed as part of Team Christina. After beginning a relationship with the show’s fellow alum Brian Fuente, they’ve started a new life in Nashville. Today, Pruitt and Fuente co-own two small businesses, The Aero Bar and Aero Build. The former offers espresso and bartending services for weddings and events, while the latter manufactures RVs and trailers for other businesses. And if you’re missing Pruitt’s voice? She still offers an occasional listen on social media.
#6: Bill Berry
Not only is Bill Berry an amazing drummer, he’s also a multi-instrumentalist and an instrumental part of R.E.M.’s legacy. In 1995, the musician experienced a brain aneurysm onstage during a show in Switzerland. While he tried to stick around following his recovery, Berry ultimately announced his retirement from the group in 1997 in favor of a change. Considering R.E.M. was one of the biggest bands in the country at the time, his new life on a hay farm certainly fit his profile. While Berry had already owned the rural Georgia property, it became his full priority and he never rejoined the band besides occasional reunions. As of 2022 Berry has finally returned to the industry, but having broken up in 2011, R.E.M. is long gone.
#5: Nikki Blonsky
She was once the new girl in town, but she ended up back at her old one — at least depending on who and when you ask. Although she never quit showbiz, “Hairspray” actress Nikki Blonsky supposedly began working at a salon in her hometown of Great Neck, Long Island. But here’s where things get hairy: while a few different sources and Blonsky’s official Twitter account both confirmed her employment in 2011, she would later deny it in a 2013 interview. Blonsky went as far as to say she was just a customer at the salon and the earlier story circulated after she was spotted putting makeup on her friend. Regardless of the truth, there’s no shame in taking a day job — especially one so befitting of your big break.
#4: MC Hammer
Contrary to the early ‘90s rumors surrounding him, this rapper was truly “2 Legit 2 Quit.” While MC Hammer never retired from the music industry, he has ventured outside of it. Years after toying with religious themes in songs like “Pray,” he went full steam ahead with his faith in the latter part of the decade. In 1997, Hammer publicly reclaimed his Christianity, which he had previously grown up with. Not only did he become the go-to ordained preacher for celebrity weddings, but he hosted a Christian TV show titled “M.C. Hammer and Friends” — rebranding the “M.C.” to stand for “Man of Christ.” Hammer’s walk wasn’t a short-lived fluke either; he appeared in a 2010 documentary about Christian revivals in Asia where he was credited as a cultural icon.
#3: Cindy Birdsong
Not every musician wants to keep hanging’ on to their glory days. Cindy Birdsong, best known as Florence Ballard’s replacement in The Supremes, later left the group herself in the early ‘70s. But instead of following it up with a giant solo career like the group’s lead singer, Diana Ross, she tried a few out of the spotlight – though she later would return to a singing career. Birdsong has stayed pretty private over the years, but from what we know, she’s worked as a nurse, a minister, and even at Motown Records, the Supremes’s label. For what it’s worth, the Supremes weren’t the artist’s only brush with fame — she previously performed as Patti LaBelle’s backup singer. Given her varied resume, it’s safe to say she’s made her mark in music and many other areas.
#2: Willa Ford
Say the time and place, and she’ll liven up your space. Willa Ford is primarily known for her early-aughts pop hit “I Wanna Be Bad,” or in the case of the Backstreet Boys fandom, being Nick Carter’s ex. But, while her initial singing career, followed by some film and TV stints, was short-lived, she later reemerged as an interior designer. Ford launched her L.A. company W Ford Interiors in 2012 after auditions dried up, and eventually wound up back on TV with a familiar face to reality junkies — The Lord, aka Kourtney Kardashian’s ex, Scott Disick. Ford appeared on his 2019 series “Flip It Like Disick,” and made formerly bad houses look so, so good.
#1: Vanilla Ice
After experiencing some public legal, substance, and mental health issues throughout the ‘90s and 2000s, this controversial rapper turned things around for a surprising comeback. In 2010, Vanilla Ice debuted “The Vanilla Ice Project” on the DIY Network, which saw him renovating homes and investing in real estate. The unlikely venture was actually a longtime passion of Ice’s, who had been in the field way before cameras captured it. The show lasted a whopping nine seasons, showing a different side of the performer and rehabilitating his once-tarnished image. At one point, it even spawned the ridiculously-premised spinoff, “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.” Of all the musicians who changed careers, few have been this successful.