College is all about learning the necessary skills and gaining the important experience that will help us to start a successful career. A lot of what helps us get through the busy days of lectures, hours of homework and club meetings are the songs from the musicians we love. But where were the musicians whose music help us to survive long nights when they were 21? While some had already started their careers, others were in the same place as us. See where your favorite musicians were at 21.
As we would expect, Beyoncé was born talented and her career started young. By the time she was 21, Beyoncé and her fellow members of Destiny’s Child had already released 3 studio albums. But, at 21, Beyoncé was just beginning to go solo, releasing the song “Work It Out” which was on the Austin Powers soundtrack and later appeared in her debut album, “Dangerously in Love.” It’s no surprise that Beyoncé can make me feel like I really need to step up my game with her massive success at only 21 years old.
While you were committing to what college you were going to attend, 18-year-old Prince was signing a recording contract with Warner Bros. At 21 years old, Prince had just released his second album, self-titled “Prince” which went platinum. I wonder if an album going platinum feels as good as getting an A on a paper?
And I thought Beyoncé started young. Justin Timberlake, who is the same age as Queen B, started his career as a cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 at only 12 years old. By 1995, our middle-school anthems were born with the creation of NSYNC. Similarly to Beyoncé, Justin’s solo career took off at 21 when he released his debut album “Justified.”
Eminem didn’t burst onto the music scene as young as some other musicians did. His debut album “Infinite” wasn’t released until 1996, three years after he turned 21. But this doesn’t mean Eminem wasn’t rapping before. Eminem started his career by competing in open mic contests and primarily performing for the underground rap scene in Detroit, Michigan.
Madonna attended the University of Michigan until she dropped out when she was 20 years old and relocated to New York to pursue her career as an entertainer. At 21, Madonna was performing as a back-up dancer and singer for Patrick Hernandez, a French disco artist. Can you imagine Madonna in the background of someone else’s show? I sure can’t. Madonna didn’t make her solo musical debut until she was 24 with her single “Everybody.”
After years of hard work, Katy Perry was just starting to get recognized when she turned 21. After signing with a record label at 20 years old, which later dropped her before she was able to release her first album, Katy worked for the next two years to write and record songs. But at 21, one of these songs, “Simple,” got picked up for the soundtrack for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. By this point, Katy was also appearing on famous tracks such as Mick Jagger’s “Old Habits Die Hard” with her backup vocals. Katy didn’t release her debut album “One of the Boys” until she was 24.
Bob Dylan was initially enrolled at the University of Minnesota but dropped out after one year. Dylan, instead of hitting the library to study for a test, headed to New York to pursue a career in music. By the time he was 20 he signed his first recording contract and by the young age of 21 he came out with his first album, “Bob Dylan.”
Although not everyone is able to recognize their talent young enough to build a musical empire by 21 years old, all of these musicians put in a lot of hard work to reach their massive success. And although it may not feel that great to be huddled over a textbook at 2 a.m. the night before a test, all this hard work will pay off and you’ll reach your individual goals. Unless your goal is to be Beyoncé. No one can do Beyoncé quite like Beyoncé.