6 Artists That Got Their Big Break after 30

Some people say that music is a young person’s game.

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When a musician gets their big break, they are often on the younger side for many reasons: the label wants to mold them, the powers that be think they will appeal to a younger audience who are more likely to buy tickets, and/or reality sets in for aspiring musicians and they give up on their dream of making it big by the time they hit 30.

Nevertheless, a few older musicians stay for the course and accept their big break with open arms whenever it comes. These are the artists on the docket of discussion today.

From Debbie Harry to Sheryl Crow, these artists skyrocketed into fame after the age of 30 and went on to have enduring careers.

[RELATED: 10 Songs That Rocketed Artists to Stardom]

1. Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry tried her hand at a few professions before she stepped behind the mic as the frontwoman of Blondie. She was a secretary for the BBC in New York, a dancer, and even a Playboy Bunny prior to fame.

Blondie released their first record in 1976 when Harry was 31. Even then, it took a little while for the group to gain traction, making her 33 before they began to garner a significant reputation in the post-punk scene.

2. Chris Stapleton

Before Chris Stapleton became a household name with Traveller in 2015, he was a much-sought-after songwriter in Nashville and appeared in two bluegrass/rock outfits – The SteelDrivers and The Jompson Brothers.

Though these endeavors earned the Kentucky native a merit-able amount of success, they didn’t launch his name onto the world’s stage in the same way his solo efforts have.

It took Stapleton a while to kick-start his solo career. He was 37 by the time he got around to sharing his cinematic and thought-provoking debut record.

3. Willie Nelson

When Willie Nelson started his career in country music, he was trying to adhere to the glitzy, sugar-coated style that was ubiquitous around Nashville. While Nelson’s crooner phase certainly spawned a number of recognizable tracks, it wasn’t until he moved back to Texas and adopted a harder edge that he found fame the world over.

The first album to feature his newfound outlaw style, Shotgun Willie, was released in 1973 when Nelson was 40.

4. Sia

At the start of her career, Sia made her way around the music scene in Australia for years, playing in a band called Crisp and releasing a host of solo projects. Those solo projects did little for the singer other than give her the opportunity to write songs for other artists.

Sia finally broke into the public consciousness with “Chandelier” in 2014 when she was 39 years old.

5. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen started his career as a poet and writer in Canada. In the late ’60s, he realized the potential profit he could glean from adding a melody to his poems, moved to the U.S., and started his journey to becoming one of the most applauded lyricists of all time.

His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was shared in 1967 when he was 33. Despite getting a late start, Cohen had a lengthy career, creating music up until his death at 82 in 2016.

6. Sheryl Crow

Though Sheryl Crow had been in the music industry for quite a while before she made it big, her work was mostly sequestered to playing shows sporadically and singing backup for Michael Jackson.

In 1992, Crow started working on her debut project. She finished up the album but was later told to scrap it by her record label, who deemed it not good enough for release. A little while later, she released her official debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, featuring the timeless hit “All I Wanna Do.”

With the release of that record, Crow officially made her breakthrough into the music industry at the age of 31.

(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

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