Inspiring Singers and Musicians That Made It Later in Life

Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” was woefully small-minded. For one thing, it’s totally possible to teach old dogs tricks, to roll over, or play dead. Secondly, the expression ignores all the people who made it later in life. Vera Wang’s first line didn’t come out until she was 40. Alan Rickman was 42 when he first graced the silver screen in Die Hard. The same is true in the world of music.

As much as the kid and teen musicians of YouTube charm the socks off us, we want to give it up for some of the inspiring singers and musicians that made it later in life.

Andrea Bocelli

Unless you’re one of the rad few who follows the opera scene, chances are you don’t know very many names in opera. But even if you don’t know Puccini from Gilbert and Sullivan, you’ve likely heard of opera tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Bocelli’s small-time career of singing in bars exploded after his stirring rendition of “Miserere” in the 44th Annual Sanremo Music Festival in 1994 at age 36. Since then, Bocelli has sold 90 million albums worldwide, including his Academy and Grammy award-winning hit “The Prayer.”

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow was also no stranger to music when she finally made it big. Her first career was as an elementary school music teacher while recording advertising jingles. She went on to sing back up for other musicians, from Michael Jackson to Sting.

But it wasn’t until the 1993 album Tuesday Night Music Club with the group of the same name that she received individual acclaim at age 32. Now, she’s won multiple Grammys and American Music Awards. The lesson here: respect your elementary music teachers.

Leonard Cohen

The song “Hallelujah” has been covered hundreds of times, appeared on the soundtracks of everything from The West Wing to Shrek, and has been used to help drum up support for a plethora of world disasters. So, it’s a little surprising that the person who composed it didn’t start his career as a musician.

Although Leonard Cohen was involved in music from a young age, his focus was initially on writing poetry. But when his poetry career didn’t take off, he started setting his beautiful words to music. And in 1967—when Cohen was 33—he released his debut album “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” and the rest is history.

Susan Boyle

Anyone who was around in 2009 has to remember seeing the video of sweet, unassuming Susan Boyle walking onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent and blowing everyone’s mind with her soulful rendition of Les Misérables’ “I Dreamed a Dream.”

After America’s Got Talent, her debut album became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time in the UK, solidifying her place as one of the more popular singers who made it later in life.

It’s never too late to chase your dream. And whether you’re a puppy or an old dog, our Portland singing lessons will teach you some new musical tricks to help you reach your goals.