Two of the Smartest Singers You’ll Find At This Year’s Grammy Awards

Feb 11, 2011 13 Comments by

Lady Gaga and Barry Manilow might seem like an unlikely pair, but this is no bad romance. They are among the most educated of nominees expected at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Los Angeles Staples Center.

Gaga and Manilow both went to school in New York City, where they grew up. She has described herself as a straight-A student from Manhattan, and the alumni site for a university in Greenwich Village suggests that she graduated in 2009 with a degree in drama. He grew up in Brooklyn, went to a performing arts school on the upper west side. According to the, he paid for his education by working in the mailroom at CBS.

It’s not every day that talented, ambitious performers make it to the Big Time. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists careers in the arts and entertainment with those of recreation and reports that the work is often seasonal and part-time. Among those most likely to work the fewest hours: Musical groups competing for limited engagements. Because of the appeal of performing arts jobs, however, the agency anticipates that the supply of entertainment workers is to keep growing – and keep fueling competition.

Some of this year’s Grammy nominees actually trained for careers outside of entertainment. Carrie Underwood reportedly graduated magna cum laude from an Oklahoma university with a degree in mass communications and an emphasis in journalism. Johnny Mathis attended a college in San Francisco with intentions of becoming an English and physical education teacher. Grammy nominees with college and university experience also include Alicia Keys; Norah Jones; Sade; Eric Clapton; Kenny G; Jeff Beck; John Mayer and Herbie Hancock.

Many of the latter, like Gaga and Manilow, studied the arts, but there are options to train for entertainment work beyond center stage. An Aug. 2009 article in The Telegraph in London told of a Guildford, Surrey music school opened by Bruce Dickinson of the Little Angels, a band that toured with Bon Jovi and Van Halen. A director of the school mentioned the business side of the industry and the potential for success in publishing, merchandising and project management.

Retired musicians in the United States also are finding work in education. The Associated Press on Feb. 7 reported that Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band and Rob Leonard of Sha Na Na are two of them. Miller is an artist in residence at a Southern California university’s school of music, while Leonard runs the forensic linguistics department at a university on Long Island, NY, according to the Associated Press.

*guest blog post by Michelle Sheldone

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13 Responses to “Two of the Smartest Singers You’ll Find At This Year’s Grammy Awards”

  1. Thea Original says:

    Who knew Lady Gaga was so smart, I’m so excited to see her and Barry on stage together. Surprisingly, there are a lot of celebrities with degrees, even two! Here are some of my fav:

  2. Wendy Winter says:

    We always tend to think of movie stars and uneducated and finding their success with their talent. I have read about many stars who are very educated.

  3. Rena Read says:

    Are there courses in theatre and acting that I can take online?

  4. Howard Wendell says:

    I am interested in going into movie making. What type of degree should I persue?

  5. Vivienne Sentner says:

    It always amazes me how many movie stars have graduated from Yale, Harvard and gotten their degrees.

  6. Stephan Cogan says:

    Many performers go to art schools to become more capable at their jobs.

  7. Sander Stone says:

    I am currently going to the acting school. I want to go into acting and I want to be good at it.

  8. Kendall says:

    Great article! It’s nice to read some normal news about some of the big stars. I think it’s great that some of them are going on to become teachers. That’s a great way to give back.

  9. Norman says:

    Hmm…What kind of degree would you need to be taken seriously in movie production and can you get it from a good, reputable school online?

  10. Education Connection says:

    Hey Norman. To break into the field of movie production you might want to consider a degree in visual and performing arts specializing in motion pictures. Go here to see what schools match up to what you are looking to do in the future.

  11. Education Connection says:

    Hey Howard. If you’re interested in film you should probably consider a degree in visual and performing arts.

  12. Education Connection says:

    Hi Rena. Yes, there are some programs for online visual and performing arts degrees.

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