In a perfect world it would be nice to see artists come to be household names based only on their merit and contributions as artists.  There are of course some, but the reality is that the industry is overrun with talentless, contrived and label created/driven material, Like many other professions, nepotism is rampant in the music industry. It has always existed and probably always will.

Perhaps it’s conditioning by the compliant media.  People are made to feel as though celebrities are inherently some kind of specialized royalty

Imagine if there was less nepotism, less cronyism and more talent in the industry.  Imagine if people had to actually earn or do something to deserve being in the spotlight. We would have better content across every channel of media and entertainment!

Here are a some music artists that got a leg up based on their heritage or “nepotism” (if you are inclined to take a more negative slant):

Willow Smith: Despite being more of a living punchline about the state of the music industry than a musician, the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith has managed to break into the charts with her song “Whip My Hair”.

Lenny Kravitz: His mom was one of the leads on “The Jeffersons”, his dad was a big-shot producer for NBC and his cousin is Al Roker. Lenny has passed on music to his daughter Zoe, who fronts her own band Lolawolf.

Lady Gaga: Her father owns a company called “Guest WiFi”. They have been supplying WiFi infrastructures to pretty much every hotel there is.

Stefan Gordy & Rockwell Gordy sons of Berry Gordy, the founder of the record label “Motown”.

Zach De La Rocha: (Rage Against the Machine): His father (Robert De La Rocha) was a well known artist.

Disney’s mouseketeers: Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron etc… Clearly a lot of “talent” in one place.

Carlos Santana’s daughter Stella is following in his musical footsteps — instead of rock, though, she has a sultry R&B sound.

Enrique Iglesias and his dad Julio Iglesias are both suave singers who have made big waves in pop and Latin music, and with notable duets.

Naz isn’t the first musician in his family to gain fame? Dad Olu Dara made a big name for himself in jazz.

Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie has not only had a career in music herself, but she was also married to Michael Jackson.

Sir Paul McCartney has two famous offspring: Daughter Stella McCartney is an acclaimed fashion designer and son James McCartney is a musician, just like his dad.

Soul and R&B legend Marvin Gaye was the father of singer/actress Nona Gaye.

Frank Sinatra: one of the most famous singers of the 20th century, was also the father of a pop star in her own right: Nancy Sinatra.

Rock legend Bob Dylan: passed his musical talents on to son Jakob Dylan, the lead singer-songwriter of The Wallflowers. The 45-year-old musician has also recorded solo albums since the late ’80s.

Beach Boy Brian Wilson: is the father of Wilson Phillips singers Carnie Wilson (center) and her sister Wendy Wilson.

John Lennon has two sons. First, Julian racked up praise for his 1984 album Valotte, then younger son Sean Lennon began a noted indie rock career in the ’90s.

Country veteran Roseanne Cash is the daughter of country icon Johnny Cash.

Singer and bandleader Nat “King” Cole: clearly passed on his vocal talents to daughter Natalie Cole.

Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is the father of drummer Jason Bonham, who has sat in with his late father’s famous band on occasion.

Both Waylon Jennings and his son Shooter are stars of the country scene — they even recorded an album together.

Jazzy pop pianist and singer Norah Jones is the daughter of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar.

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle also known for his acting skills, is the father of singer-guitarist Justin Townes Earle.

Bassist Wolfgang Van Halen grew up to be in a band with his guitarist dad, Eddie Van Halen. Conveniently, that band is named…Van Halen.

Folk singer Loudon Wainwright III: (himself the son of a famous writer) is the dad of singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright.

Three generations of the Hank Williams name have made their mark on country music: Hank Williams (pictured in black and white), his son Hank Williams Jr., and his son Hank Williams III.

Run-D.M.C’s “Rev. Run” Simmons is the dad of teen rapper Diggy Simmons.

Rapper Lil Wayne’s teen daughter Reginae Carter is already in the music game herself. She’s a singer and part of the group the OMG Girlz.

Reggae royalty Bob Marley passed his musical genes on to his sons, Stephen, Ziggy, and Damian.

Band leader (and actor) Ozzie Nelson and his son, ’50s and ’60s pop heartthrob Ricky Nelson (who had the first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100) the Nelson paternal musical dynasty extends three generations. Rick’s twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar led the ’80s rock band, called, you guessed it, Nelson.

Rock innovator Frank Zappa was also creative when he named his kids: Moon Unit (an actress), Ahmet (writer/musician), Dweezil (musician), and Diva.

Gospel music is in the Winans family’s blood, starting with David and his wife Delores, who recorded as Mom and Pop Winans in the 1980s. Their children kept the legacy alive, with BeBe and CeCe teaming up to release several gospel albums before each went solo.

Robin Thicke is the son of composer/actor Alan Thicke, who wrote the music to several famous TV theme songs including his own, Growing Pains, Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life.

Bekka Bramlett: She is the daughter of popular music duo Delaney & Bonnie.

The music industry is rife with those on the inside opening doors for their people on the outside. So, it only makes sense that if you are looking to work your way in and haven’t been blessed with growing up in a successful musical family, your next best move is to get help from those around you who have been in the trenches for a while. The key is finding someone that really knows the business and an integrity to match their experience. Otherwise, it can be a very daunting task looking from the outside in.


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