Switcharoo: 10 Artists Who Tried Other Genres

Cyndi MB Aug9.jpg
Photo by Marc Brubaker
Cyndi Lauper sings the blues at House of Blues, August 2010
Have you ever bought an album of an artist you were familiar with and thought, "wow... that's different?"

In fact, many artists try out other genres than the one where they originally became popular as a way for them to grow as artists. But a big question remains: Will the audience grow with them and be won over? Either way, it's a risk for both the artist and their record company.

But sometimes it can also be a good thing. For example, when Alison Krauss teamed up with Robert Plant in 2007 to record their critically acclaimed Raising Sand album, they created an often sublime mixture of rock and bluegrass that practically swept the 2009 Grammys and became a left-field commercial smash, eventually going platinum. Bluegrass records almost never go platinum.

They weren't always quite always as successful as Plant and Krauss, but these artists were similarly unafraid to stick their necks out.

Wilson Phillips' Chynna Phillips sings the good Lord's praises

When Wilson Phillips split in the '90s, Chynna Phillips recorded a solo project, Naked and Scared. The album flopped. Then, when her brother-in-law, actor Stephen Baldwin, became a Christian, she saw the changes in he and his wife's lives and decided to become one too in 2003.

Shortly after Wilson Phillips reunited in 2004, she teamed up with Vaughan Penn and, as Chynna and Vaughan, released a Contemporary Christian album entitled One Reason in 2009. Most recently she reunited with Wilson Phillips and recorded Dedication, an album covering the songs of their parents' groups, the Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys. They also made a cameo appearance in the hit comedy Bridesmaids.


Madonna, from punk drummer to pop singer

Before she was mega-pop star, Madonna was actually an active member of the New York punk scene as drummer of the Breakfast Club, a band that included her then-boyfriend Stephen Bray. She later became the lead singer for another punk band called Emmy and the Emmys.

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