Ariana, Zooey, J-Lo, Miley! When Actresses Become Songstresses

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There seems to be a special musical buzz in the entertainment business at the moment reserved for screen actresses who are wanting to spread their wings in their career - and maybe earn some more money too. Whether it's Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande blowing everyone away with her stunning vocal range as she gears up to release her second album this summer, or indie favourite Jenny Lewis becoming ever more successful with her solo singing career after a good three years fronting a band, it appears that some actresses just can't resist testing their pipes in the recording studio. Even Hollywood sensation Scarlett Johansson dipped her toes in musical waters back in 2008 with her well-praised debut 'Anywhere I Lay My Head'.

While we're half expecting Keira Knightley to release a record any day now after singing on her latest drama 'Begin Again', we look at the film world's biggest female musical successes.

Jenny Lewis promoJenny Lewis: Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis this week released Voyager, her critically acclaimed third studio album. Although best known for her time fronting indie favourites, Rilo Kiley, music wasn't actually Lewis's first career choice, instead the Vegas native was intially known as an actress. Her early showbiz experience mainly consisted of TV roles, with small parts in the likes of 'Baywatch', 'Brooklyn Bridge' and 'The New Twilight Zone' in the 80s and early 90s as well as film stints on 'Troop Beverly Hills' and 'The Wizard'. Her last major acting venture came with 1995's black and white drama 'Don's Plum' alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire before she formed Rilo Kiley with then-boyfriend Blake Sennett.

Jennifer Lopez promoJennifer LopezThe Jenny from the block, who would eventually become J-Lo, actually started her showbiz career as a dancer, on comedy series ‘In Living Colour’. Lopez’s dancing skills were impressive enough to land her a job touring with Janet Jackson in 1993, but she declined instead deciding to give acting a shot. Lopez’s early acting career included small roles in films such as My Family and Money Train, before she landed her big break, starring as tragic pop star Selena in the 1997 biopic. A year later she starred alongside George Clooney in thriller Out of Sight. Lopez then set about conquering the music world in 1999 with the release of her debut album On the 6 and she hasn't looked back since. Although Lopez still occasionally acts, she is arguably best known now for her musical talents which she displayed most recently with new album 'A.K.A.', released in June and once again landing her a space in the US chart's top 10.

More: Cool Thing Of The Week: Jenny Lewis' "Just One Of The Guys" Video, Featuring Anne Hathaway

Miley Cyrus promoMiley CyrusMiley might have come from a musical family, (well Billy Ray Cyrus is her father), but the famous twerker actually started out as an actress. Cyrus's first acting role came on medical drama 'Doc', where she acted alongside her father in three episodes, she also had a small role in Tim Burton's Big Fish. But Miley's big break came in 2006 when she starred in Disney series' Hannah Montana'. In the show Cyrus played a normal girl who moonlighted as a pop star, a role which would help her transition into the music business. Miley's first musical release was the soundtrack to Hannah Montana's first season, but Cyrus quickly became regarded as a singer in her own right and she released her first album a year later. Nowadays Hannah Montana is long over and Miley Cyrus has become a household name, leaving her Disney alter-ego well and truly behind. While she might've followed in the footsteps of Hilary Duff, who starred in Disney Channel's 'Lizzie McGuire', it seems Miley has encouraged plenty of other teen TV stars in their ambitions with 'Wizards of Waverly Place' actress Selena Gomez kicking off her music career in 2009 and 'Camp Rock''s Demi Lovato also making her mark around the same time. Even Lindsay Lohan hit the studio several years before that. It seems Disney is the new platform for broadening ambitions.

Kylie Minogue performingKylie MinogueIt’s easy to forget that Kylie Minogue wasn't always the pint-sized queen of pop. Way back in the mid 1980s, before Pete Waterman got hold of her, Kylie was an actress starring in Australia’s biggest soap opera, 'Neighbours'. Minogue played the role of Charlene, a school girl turned mechanic whose love interest was another future pop star, Jason Donovan. After performing covers of ‘I Got You Babe’ and ‘The Loco-motion’ during a charity event in 1987, Minogue was offered a recording contract with Mushroom Records. A year later Kylie’s musical career was blossoming both at home and in the UK and she made the decision to say goodbye to acting. Since then the now 46 year old has sold over 70 million records worldwide and has become a member of Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame.

Next: Which other star had no 'problem' transitioning to music?

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Tags: Jenny Lewis - Miley Cyrus - Kylie Minogue - Zooey Deschanel - Ariana Grande - Scarlett Johansson - Juliette Lewis - Taylor Momsen - Jennifer Lopez - Hilary Duff - Selena Gomez - Demi Lovato - Lindsay Lohan - She & Him - Juliette And The Licks - The Pretty Reckless

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