When it comes to declaring a college major, the process can be rather daunting. For many students, the first thought that comes to mind is, Does this decide my career path for the rest of my life?. While some students switch majors, others end up landing a job that’s totally unrelated to their studies – and sometimes, that job is being a musician. There are a number of successful musicians that went to college for a subject unrelated to music. It just goes to show you that a degree does not have to dictate your career path.
Chris Martin – Major: Greek & Latin
Before winning a Grammy and generally being uber successful with his band Coldplay, Martin graduated with honors from the University College London, with a degree in Greek and Latin. Ironically, while studying at UCL, Martin met fellow Coldplay band members Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman.
Childish Gambino – Major: Dramatic Writing
Before pursuing a rap career, Gambino attended New York University and graduated with a degree in Dramatic writing. His academic efforts proved to be worthwhile, as Gambino went on to be writer for NBC’s hit sitcom 30 Rock, work for which he won a Writers Guild of America award.
2 Chainz – Major: Psychology
While attending Alabama University on a basketball scholarship, Tauheed Epps, a.k.a. 2 Chainz, pursued a major in Psychology. None the less, he never graduated and instead found success in a rap career.
Diplo – Major: Film Studies
Even one of the most popular DJs in the world went to college to study something that does not concern DJ-ing— let alone music. Thomas Pentz, better known as Diplo, received his DIPLOma (sorry, had to) in Film Studies from Temple University.
Lana Del Ray - Major: Philosophy
Del Ray studied a branch of philosophy, Metaphysics, while at Fordham University. When asked about why she chose her major, Ray said, “it bridged the gap between God and science.”
Ice Cube - Major: Architectural Drafting
Hip-Hop royalty, O’Shea Jackson, Sr., more commonly known as Ice Cube graduated from Phoenix Institute of Technology with a very unexpected degree – Architectural Drafting. In other words, had his rap career not worked out,
Vance Joy – Major: Liberal Arts & Law
Vance Joy made one epic career shift following his education. Joy graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. However, despite plans of becoming a lawyer, Joy instead decided to pursue a music career and was the supporting act on Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour.
Hoodie Allen – Major: Marketing & Finance
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing and Finance, Allen landed a sought-after job with Google, before quitting in order to pursue music. Allen even paid ode to his college days through one of his singles called “UPENN Girls.”
M.I.A - Major: Fine art, Film, and Video
M.I.A. studied Fine art, Film and Video at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London before her musical beginnings; However, her studies did not go to waste. She would later go on to write treatments for her music videos, as well as film a documentary.
Pete Wentz – Major: Political Science
Before reaching success in the music industry with rock band Fall Out Boy , Wentz fell just one semester short of graduating from DePaul University with a degree in politics dropping out to focus on his music career.
Lil Wayne – Major: Psychology
Lil Wayne briefly studied Psychology at University of Houston, eventually dropping out due to scheduling conflicts with his existing music career and later transferring to take online courses.
Mark Volman – Major: Masters degree Fine Arts
In 1992, at age 45, Volman started his bachelor’s degree at Loyola Marymount University. He was an active undergraduate member of the choir and a Founding Father of the California Chi chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Volman graduated with a B.A. degree in 1997 Magna cum Laude and was the class valedictorian speaker. Volman went on to earn a Master’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in screenwriting in 1999, also from Loyola. Since that time, he has taught Music Business & Industry courses in the Communications and Fine Arts department at Loyola. He has also taught courses in the Commercial Music Program at Los Angeles Valley College. He is currently an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Entertainment Industry Studies Program at Belmont University, in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and conducts seminars about the music industry for various academic institutions from junior high school to University level. In 2017, Kaylan and Volman celebrated their 52nd year, touring and performing more than 60 concerts a year, billed as “The Turtles … Featuring Flo & Eddie” with their Happy Together Tour, a classic revue-format show featuring some popular bands of the mid-to-late 1960s musical era. They are active members of Harpeth Presbyterian Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, where they both invest their time as Youth Advisors.