5 Musicians You Didn’t Know Had Famous Parents

Musicians who come from famous backgrounds are not a new phenomenon, as many figures of the early pop and rock music industry navigated it with some help from their parents. Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, founding members of The Beach Boys, for example, are the children of Murray Wilson, a songwriter and producer in his own right. But one could argue that the Wilson children’s fame has overshadowed Murray Wilson’s own, and they have forged a legacy separate from him. Even beyond The Beach Boys, there’s no denying that many of these artists exhibit genuine talent of their own.

Videos by American Songwriter

1. Samia

Samia has been making waves in today’s indie rock scene. Active since 2017, the singer-songwriter released her first studio album The Baby in 2020 to positive critical reception, and likewise with her 2021 EP, Scout, and 2023 album, Honey. Her themes of coming-of-age, adolescence, and companionship resonate with millions, and she has captured the attention of fellow indie artists Maggie Rogers and Lucy Dacus.

Born in New York City, she is the daughter of actors Kathy Najimy and Dan Finnerty. Many may recognize Kathy Najimy as Mary from Disney’s 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus, and Mary Patrick from Sister Act (1992). Recently, to the delight of her original fans, she reprised her role as Mary in Hocus Pocus 2 (2022), when she and her sisters are summoned once again to Salem and cause disarray. Dan Finnerty is also a comedy actor, known for his roles in The Hangover and Old School.

Samia has embraced her status as a “nepo baby,” stating she’d rather not conceal her background. She told The Guardian in 2023, “There’s no part of me that doesn’t want people to know where I came from because that’s such a huge part of the reason I am the way I am.”

2. Elle King

Elle King, born Tanner Elle Schneider, is a country-rock singer from Los Angeles. Known for her husky yet soaring voice, she is a mainstay of both country and alternative rock. Her songs “Ex’s & Oh’s” and “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” were massive radio hits, with the latter topping the Billboard Country Airplay charts in 2022. “Ex’s & Oh’s,” a charged alternative rock and pop anthem about past relationships desperate for her love again, peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015.

She is the daughter of comedy actor Rob Schneider. He is known for his appearances in The Hot Chick, (2002) and The Benchwarmers (2006). Elle King didn’t want her identity to be conflated with that of her parents, as she long struggled with finding her own identity. She revealed to People in 2023, “I had to really fight to be OK as myself. So I didn’t want to be known as someone’s kid.”

3. Jeff Buckley

The late Jeff Buckley was a singer-songwriter known for his songs “Grace” and “Lover, You Should Come Over,” and his frequent covers of songs by artists like Leonard Cohen and The Smiths. His tragic passing took place in May 1997, just before recording his follow-up to Grace, where he unexpectedly drowned in Wolf River Harbor in Memphis after being swept underwater in a tugboat wake.

His father, Timothy Charles Buckley III, is also a singer-songwriter, specializing in folk while also tapping into genres like jazz and psychedelia. However, he did not maintain a relationship with his wife or Jeff, leaving them to pursue music in 1966. In his 1995 song “What Will You Say,” twenty years after his father’s death, Buckley expressed his anger at his father’s abandonment.

4. Lily Allen

Known for spunky, cheeky songs like her 2006 smash hit “Smile,” Lily Allen is a gem of mid-oughts pop and well-revered into this day. The London-based singer released her debut album, Alright, Still, in 2006 to massive acclaim, with Entertainment Weekly declaring it one of the best albums of the year, and predicting its crossover appeal from the UK charts.

Lily Allen’s father, Keith Allen, is an actor and director from Wales. He has appeared in projects such as The Others and Shallow Grave, directed Unlawful Killing (2011), and helped soundtrack Playing the Field and 24 Hour Party People. Lily Allen has been outspoken on the “nepo baby” controversy, defending their presence in the industry and calling them harmless. She tweeted in 2022, “The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics if we’re talking about real-world consequences and robbing people of opportunity. BUT that’s none of my business.”

5. Albert Hammond Jr.

Albert Hammond Jr., better known as the rhythm guitarist of The Strokes, inherited his name from Albert Hammond, also a prolific songwriter.

The Strokes are considered to be one of the most influential rock bands of the past twenty years, with the success of their album Is This It in 2001 and beyond. Their brand of garage and indie rock went on to influence now-international names like The Killers and Arctic Monkeys. They don’t show signs of stopping, either, with their 2020 album The New Abnormal scoring Best Rock Album at the Grammys in 2021.

Albert Hammond, in addition to his own soft rock, wrote for artists like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Chicago, Celine Dion, The Carpenters, and more. He got his footing in the industry in the 1970s, landing a record deal with Columbia Records and releasing his debut single “Down By The River” in 1972.

Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Leave a Reply

5 Standout Performances by Don Henley