Who were the Committee of Ten?
They were a group of college educators that, in 1892 established the American High School education system.
Their standardization would separate the college bound and working class students from the start. In other words this group created the grades K-12.
Their curriculum established how we think today as a society of automatons, brainwashed with the idea of: Go to school, get good grades, go to college, work for an employer for 40 years, retire and die.
Sorry, to be blunt. =)
Many working musicians today are also a victim of this insanity with mounds of debt. I’d like to state that God did not create us as slaves or automatons, but as free thinkers, and creators.
In God We Trust.
Not! In Government We Trust!
I’d like to throw out a list of known musicians that dropped out of school and still achieved success.
I’m not anti education I’m anti-unnecessary education tagged with a high price tag.
Our society as a whole has indoctrinated us to believe that we need costly college education in order to succeed as musicians, or songwriters and in general.
Far from the truth..
The current list of successful musicians proves my point.
102 Famous Musicians that were college dropouts.
- Bryan Adams, singer, songwriter. High school dropout.
- William Adams, aka Will.i.am, singer, songwriter, music producer, founder of the Black Eyed Peas, actor, entrepreneur. Never attended college.
- Adele, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, singer. Intended to go to college but got signed to a recording deal just after her high school graduation.
- Trace Adkins, country music singer. Attended Louisiana Tech University but never officially graduated. Worked on an oil rig instead.
- Christina Aguilera, singer, songwriter. Never finished high school.
- Peter Allen, singer, songwriter, composer. High school dropout
- Rick Allen, member of Def Leppard. High school dropout.
- Billie Joe Armstrong, front man for Green Day punk rock band. High school dropout.
- Louis Armstrong, jazz musician. Dropped out of high school.
- Eddy Arnold, country music singer and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in 1943. Between 1945 and 1983, 145 of his songs made the country charts, with 28 of them at #1. He sold more than 85 million records.
- Chet Atkins, country singer. High school dropout.
- Mickey Baker, rhythm and blues guitarist. Did not finish high school.
- Count Basie, bandleader, pianist. Dropped out of high school.
- Natasha Bedingfield, singer. Dropped out of college after her freshman year to pursue a music career. Her Unwritten album debuted at #1 in England.
- André Benjamin, aka André 3000, rapper, singer, songwriter, member of OutKast. Dropped out of high school.
- Tony Bennett, aka Anthony Benedetto, singer, artist. Attended New York City’s High School of Industrial Art but dropped out at the age of 16.
- Irving Berlin, Oscar-winning songwriter, composer. When his father died when he was 8 years old, he had to work to survive. Wrote such long-lasting hits as God Bless America, White Christmas, There’s No Business Like Show Business, etc.
- Chuck Berry, rock singer. High school dropout, left in the 11th grade.
- Clint Black, Grammy-winning country singer, songwriter, record producer, actor. Dropped out of Stratford High School in Houston, Texas.
- Mary J. Blige, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter. Dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade.
- Michael Bolton, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter. High school dropout.
- David Bowie, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer. Sold 136 million records. May not have graduated from high school.
- Ray Charles, singer. Dropped out of high school.
- Kelly Clarkson, pop singer. Got several college music scholarships but passed on them to move to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career.
- Phil Collins, singer, songwriter, drummer, keyboardist. Never attended college. Solo singer as well as lead singer for Genesis.
- Sean John Combs, rapper, producer, fashion designer, entertainer, actor, and entrepreneur. Did not finish college.
- Harry Connick, Jr., Grammy-winning pianist, singer, actor. Has sold over 25 million albums. At the age of 18, he left New Orleans to move to New York City. Did study at Loyola University, Hunter College, and the Manhattan School of Music, but apparently did not graduate.
- Miley Cyrus, singer, actress. Did not attend college.
- Sammy Davis, Jr., singer, actor. Never finished high school.
- Jimmy Dean, singer, songwriter, actor. Dropped out in the 9th grade to join the Merchant Marines at the age of 16. After getting out of the Air Force, he and his band, the Texas Wildcats, developed a following in Washington state
- Snoop Dogg, rapper and actor. Never attended college.
- Bob Dylan, singer and songwriter. Dropped out of the University of Minnesota and moved to New York City to seek out his idol Woody Guthrie.
- Duke Ellington, bandleader, composer. Dropped out of high school.
- Fergie, aka Stacy Ann Ferguson, singer, songwriter. A straight A student and cheerleader in high school. Never attended college.
- Ella Fitzgerald, singer. Dropped out of high school.
- Caleb Followill, rock musician, Kings of Leon. Has not yet attended college.
- Nathan Followill, rock musician, Kings of Leon. Has not yet attended college.
- Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, rock singer and songwriter. Dropped out of NYU at the age of 19 to pursue her music career full time.
- George Gershwin, songwriter, composer. High school dropout.
- Dizzy Gillespie, musician, songwriter. Dropped out of high school.
- Benny Goodman, clarinetist, bandleader. Dropped out of high school.
- Beck Hansen, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Dropped out of high school to pursue his musical career.
- Jimi Hendrix, rock ‘n roll guitarist. A high school dropout.
- Whitney Houston, Grammy-winning singer and actress. At the age of 19, she was discovered singing in a New York City supper club by Clive Davis, who immediately signed her to a contract with Arista Records. Her first album, and the next six, all went multi-platinum. She is in theGuinness Book of World Records for being the most awarded female artist of all time.
- Gregory Isaacs, reggae singer. Did not attend college.
- Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson III, rapper, entrepreneur, producer, actor, book author, amateur boxer. Dropped out of high school in the 10th grade.
- Etta James, singer, queen of R&B. Signed as a recording artist when she was still a teenager. Never attended college.
- Quincy Jones, musician, composer, music producer, music executive, and more. Attended the Berklee College of Music but left when he got the opportunity to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as a trumpeter, arranger, and pianist.
- Toby Keith, country music singer. After high school, he joined his father to work in the oil fields.
- Alicia Keys, singer and songwriter. Graduated from New York’s Professional Performing Arts School at age 16. She enrolled at Columbia University but dropped out after a semester to sign with Columbia Records.
- Jewel Kilcher, singer and songwriter. Scored a major recording contract at the age of 18. Her first album sold 11 million copies. Has not attended college.
- B.B. King, blues musician, songwriter, and legend. Never finished high school.
- Chad Kroeger, frontman for Nickelback rock group. In aPlayboy magazine interview, he noted that “I didn’t go to school. I mean, after the eighth or ninth grade, I don’t remember going to school five days out of the week, ever.” He was a few credits short of graduating from high school when he left school and took to the road.
- Nick Lachey, singer and actor. “I was trying to be an athletic trainer. That’s what I was studying in school when I quit to do music.”
- Miranda Lambert, country singer. Began singing as a professional while still in high school. Did not attend college.
- Cyndi Lauper, singer, songwriter, actress. Left home at 17 to work a number of odd jobs and sing in bars until she was able to break through as a bestselling singer.
- Avril Lavigne, singer, songwriter. Dropped out of high school.
- Demi Lovato, singer and actress. Did not attend college.
- Bruno Mars, singer, songwriter, music producer. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles and signed with Motown Records.
- John Mayer, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter. Left the Berklee College of Music after two semesters to pursue a singing career in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Martina McBride, country music singer. After high school, she traveled around Kansas playing and singing with various bands. Did not attend college.
- Bret Michaels, rock singer, reality TV show star. Graduated high school with a GED degree. Has not attended college.
- Nicki Minaj, aka Onika Tanya Maraj, singer and songwriter. After graduating from high school, she worked as a waitress and other odd jobs while trying to land a record deal.
- Moby, author, rock star, tea-shop proprietor. Sold more than 15 million albums. A college dropout.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, classical music composer and performer. In his early years, his father taught him music, languages, and other academic subjects. He never attended high school or college.
- Sinead O’Connor, singer. Never attended college.
- George Alan O’Dowd, aka Boy George, singer, songwriter, fashion designer, photographer. High school dropout. Never attended college.
- John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne, heavy metal singer, songwriter, and reality TV star. Left school at the age of 15.
- Charlie “Bird” Parker, jazz musician and father of modern jazz. Attended Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri but left after a year and a half to join the local musicians union.
- Katy Perry, singer. Left home at the age of 14 to make it on her own in Nashville; then moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17. Did not attend college.
- Lisa Marie Presley, singer. Dropped out of high school.
- Usher Raymond IV, quadruple platinum singer. He won the Star Search male teen vocalist competition when he was 18. He was signed to a music label immediately thereafter.
- Trent Rezner, musician, Nine Inch Nails. Dropped out of Allegheny College after one year to pursue a career in music.
- Charlie Rich, Grammy-winning country and blues singer and songwriter. Dropped out of the University of Arkansas to join the Air Force.
- Rihanna, aka Robyn Rihanna Fenty, singer, actress. At the age of 15, she formed a singing trio in Barbados. At the age of 16, she went to live with songwriter Evan Rogers and his wife in Connecticut. At the age of 17, she signed a singing contract with Def Jam records. Has not yet attended college.
- Asher Roth, hip hop artist, I Love College hit song. Dropped out of West Chester University after being signed.
- Kelly Rowland, singer. Has not yet attended collage.
- Seal, aka Seal henry Olusugun Olumide Adeola Samuel, R&B singer and songwriter. He received a two-year associate’s degree in architecture. He struck out on his own at the age of 15.
- Shakira, aka Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who has sold more than 50 million albums. Attended a modeling school for awhile.
- Blake Shelton, country singer, reality competition panelist. Left home right after high school and went to Nashville to try to make it as a country singer. Never attended college.
- Robert Sherman, Oscar-winning songwriter. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army. After World War II, he returned to write a novel but was soon encouraged to partner with his brother Richard in writing songs
- Harper Simon, musician son of singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Enrolled at the Berklee College of Music but quit before graduating.
- Will Smith, Grammy-winning rapper, actor. Did not attend college. As the Fresh Prince, he and DJ Jazzy Jeff released their first album before he finished high school. They received the first Grammy for a hip-hop act. Due to the success of that first album, Smith decided to forgo college for show business.
- Phoebe Snow, singer, songwriter. Dropped out of college to perform in clubs and coffeehouses.
- Britney Spears, singer, actress, youngest woman to have five albums debut at #1 on the Billboard list. Dropped out of high school.
- Jamie Lynn Spears, actress. Dropped out of high school.
- Rick Springfield, singer and actor. Never attended college.
- Bruce Springsteen, Grammy-winning and Oscar-winning singer and songwriter. Never attended college.
- Ringo Starr, drummer for the Beatles. He did not attend college.
- Gwen Stefani, singer and songwriter, No Doubt. Struggled in school. Never attended college.
- Barbra Streisand, singer and actress. Started her singing career at the age of 18. Did not attend college.
- Taylor Swift, singer and songwriter. Released her first album at the age of 16; left high school at the same age. Has not yet attended college.
- Ashley Tisdale, singer and actress. Has not yet attended college.
- Derek Trucks, singer and musician. Attended high school on the road while playing for the Allman Brothers Band. Never attended college.
- Donnie Wahlberg Jr., singer (New Kids on the Block), actor, music producer. Never attended college. Started his singing career at the age of 15.
- Lil Wayne (Dwayne Carter), rapper. Never attended college.
- Kanye West, rapper, record producer. Attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago for one semester and then transferred to Chicago State University, but dropped out to focus on his music career. Had a hit album called The College Dropout.
- Gretchen Wilson, country singer. Quit school after the eighth grade. Finally earned her GED equivalency degree in 2009.
- Lee Ann Womack, country music singer. Attended South Plains Junior College for one year. Then took a few classes at Belmont University. Never graduated.
- Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, rapper, songwriter, film director, Buddhist. He attended Bard College for two years before dropping out.
- Jay-Z (Shawn Carter), rapper, entrepreneur, owner of Rocawear clothing, co-owner of New Jersey Nets basketball team. Never attended college. “I’m a thinker. I figure things out. I don’t have a high level of education, but I’m practical–and I have great instincts.”
- Frank Zappa, rock musician. Probably dropped out of college. As he noted in liner notes for his Freak Out album, “Drop out of school before your mind rots from our mediocre educational system.
The purpose of this list is to show that expensive college degrees were not catalysts for their success.
The accumulation of the list was referenced from collegedropoutshalloffame.com
I will repeat. I am not anti-education. This monster list shows that all one needs is a true desire, and persistence.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
I should create a shirt with this verse on it.
You’re probably wondering why I’m I addressing this issue.
The reason is our society has endowed with fear and obedience and in turn controls our futures. We need to break these sacred cows.
Don’t hesitate to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
You guy are awesome!