8 Famous Musicians with Famous Parents—From Miley Cyrus and Norah Jones to Natalie Cole

It can be hard to have a famous parent.

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Whether you’re the offspring of a famous writer, athlete, musician, actor, or some other field, it’s near impossible to follow in their footsteps, let alone outdo what they’ve done before you. Other times, it’s just a minor miracle to achieve your own life, your own genuine popularity on your own merits with your famous folks’ image looming over you.

Somehow, some way everyone on this list has succeeded despite these tall odds.

1. Miley Cyrus

Born Destiny Hope Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, as she’s better known, is the daughter of country star (and “Old Town Road” collaborator) Billy Ray Cyrus. Her mother is Tish Cyrus, who is also her business manager. Despite having an iconic country star as a father, the 30-year-old Miley rose up in the entertainment ranks as an actor first with the Disney show, Hannah Montana. Later, she achieved musical success with songs like “Wrecking Ball.” Today, she has one of the biggest singles of 2023, “Flowers.” To date, she’s also earned two Grammy nominations.

2. Nona Gaye

The 48-year-old Nona Gaye is a singer, model, and former actress. The daughter of legendary singer Marvin Gaye, Nona recorded songs and earned acclaim in the 1990s. As an actor, she portrayed the character Zee in the movies The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. As a singer, she boasts a smooth, soulful voice like her father and grandfather, jazz musician Slim Gaillard. Check out her song, “Things That We All Do For Love,” below.

3. Nancy Sinatra

While it’s practically impossible for anyone to have more hits than iconic performer Frank Sinatra, his daughter Nancy did an excellent job trying. She boasts all-time hit songs “Bang Bang” and “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” among others. Born in 1940, Nancy began her career in 1957 with an appearance on her father’s ABC television variety show. “These Boots Are Made for Walking'” was her first No. 1 hit, written by Lee Hazlewood, who worked with the now-82-year-old Nancy for years.

4. Natalie Cole

Daughter of Nat King Cole, who had one of the best singing voices of all time, Natalie Cole, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 65, did quite well for herself as a singer, songwriter, and actor. Natalie rose to popularity with her solo debut album, Inseparable, in 1975. She earned a Grammy Award not long after for Best New Artist. She was the first Black recipient of the award. She began her career as an R&B singer but later switched to pop in 1987 with her LP, Everlasting. Her album Unforgettable… with Love won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards and went seven-times platinum. She was the first Black woman to win Album of the Year. To date, Cole earned nine Grammy Awards and was even nominated for a Primetime Emmy. She sold 30 million records worldwide and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

5. Norah Jones

Blessed with one of the best and most recognizable singing voices, the 43-year-old Norah Jones, daughter of the acclaimed sitar player Ravi Shankar, is a legend in the songwriting and jazz communities. She rose to prominence in 2002 with her album Come Away With Me and she’s been one of the most accomplished names in music ever since. Her debut earned her five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. To date, she’s won nine Grammy Awards.

6. Femi Kuti

Son of iconic Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuta, Femi has followed in his father’s footsteps as an acclaimed musician. His son, Made, is also a talented artist, making three generations of standouts. The 60-year-old Nigernain artist Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti was actually born in London. He is the grandson of famed political campaigner and women’s rights activist, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. He began his career playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80. He started his own band Positive Force in 1986.

7. Robin Thicke

Son of iconic sitcom actor and sitcom theme song composer, Alan Thicke, and actress and singer Gloria Loring, Robin is a famous singer/songwriter. He rose to fame in 2013 with his song “Blurred Lines,” which has since garnered some controversy. Nevertheless, it remains one of the best-selling singles of all time. He’s earned Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. To date, Robin has worked with many big-name artists from Nicki Minaj to Christina Aguilera, Pharrell, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Brandy, Kid Cudi, Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, and more. The 45-year-old Thicke is currently a judge on the singing competition show The Masked Singer.

8. Redfoo

The 47-year-old Stefan Kendal Gordy, better known by his stage name Redfoo, is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and frontman for the musical group LMFAO. He is the youngest son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and Nancy Leiviska.

The group is known for its uber-popular songs “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.” The former has earned more than 2.2 billion streams on YouTube, alone. Redfoo also released a solo album in 2011, Party Rock Mansion.

Photo by Ovidio Gonzalez/Getty Images for MC

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