Musicians Who Found Success Later In Life

by | Feb 27, 2024

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The mainstream music scene has left many of us believing that if we don’t make it before 25, we might as well throw in the towel. So, we’re here to remind you that if you’re passionate about music, you should keep making it for as long as you can, no matter your age. This list of musicians who “started late” but found success proves that you’re in good company, even if you’re pursuing a music career in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. 

2 Chainz 

2Chainz rapper who started later in life

After signing a solo recording contract with Def Jam Recordings at age 35, Georgia-native 2 Chainz released his debut album the following year. “Based on a T.R.U. Story” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum. Since then, the rapper has released multiple albums and EPs, started his own independent record label, and guest starred on TV shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and 2 Broke Girls. This 46-year old, Grammy winner has accomplished quite a bit in the decade since his big break. 


Sia pop star who started late performing

While ageism is an issue in the music industry at large, it seems more prominent in certain genres. Pop stars tend to make their debut in their teens or early 20s, yet Sia defied this when she released “Chandelier” at age 39. While she’d had a successful songwriting career for many years prior, the hit song has her first to as a solo artist to appear on the Hot 100, and is arguably still her most recognized song. At age 48, Sia remains one of the most powerful voices in pop music. She is proof that even in one of the most rigid arenas of the industry, there is still space for talent to defy the industry’s trivial limitations. 



“When I wrote ‘Fight Song,’ I was in a particular low point. I needed to remind myself to not give up, that I still believed in myself and that I still had fight left.” 

Rachel Platten 

Rachel Platten artist who made it later in life

At 34, Rachel Platten signed to Columbia Records and released “Fight Song.” It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 100 and charted worldwide. The singer-songwriter spent many years working odd jobs while she pursued a career in music. Platten has said that “When I wrote ‘Fight Song,’ I was in a particular low point. I needed to remind myself to not give up, that I still believed in myself and that I still had fight left.” Clearly a lot of people related to the artists’ struggles, and it seems serendipitous that “Fight Song” was the single that launched her career. A married mom of two, Platten has been vocal about her struggles balancing her career and family life, but continues to release music.  

Sharon Jones

Sharon Jones musicians who started late

Soul and funk singer Sharon Jones received her first Grammy nomination at 58 years old. Her band, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings collaborated with Mark Ronson, served as a backing band on Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” album, and released eight of their own studio albums. The band also appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street. Jones worked at Rikers Island as a corrections officer for many years. She released her first album with the Dap Kings in 2002 at 46 years old. Jones sadly passed away in 2016, but accomplished a great deal in her music career despite being a musician who started “late.”

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley musicians who started late

Soul singer Charles Bradley spent many years working as a James Brown impersonator, balancing a part-time music career with many odd jobs. He released his debut album at 62 and followed it up with two records in 2013 and 2016. A documentary made about his life, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, was featured at South by Southwest in 2012. Nicknamed “the Screaming Eagle of Soul,” Bradley had to overcome stage fright to become the captivating performer he grew to be. Bradley died at 68, but continued to perform up until a few weeks before his death. Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes” is the theme song to the Netflix comedy show Big Mouth, which ended in 2024


Bay Eight staff front desk

Those of us who are passionate about music know that it’s a lifelong pursuit. There is no reason to stop being creative just because you are older. While some of the gatekeepers of the industry may make you feel like you’re too old to pursue a music career, your audience is going to disagree, so keep working on finding your people! We hope this list of musicians who started late has inspired you to keep going, no matter what age you are. If you’re interested in recording your first project, Bay Eight Recording Studios Miami is happy to help. 


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