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7 Musicians Following in Their Famous Parents’ Footsteps

How next-gen artists compare to their superstar family members

Left: Annie Lennox (with Eurythmics partner Dave Stewart) performing in 2019. Inset, her daughter Lola Lennox. Right: Phil Collins onstage in 2006. Inset, his son Nic Collins of the band Better Strangers
Left: Annie Lennox (with Eurythmics partner Dave Stewart) performing in 2019. Left inset: Her daughter Lola Lennox. Right: Phil Collins onstage in 2006. Right inset: His son Nic Collins of the band Better Strangers.
Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rainforest Fund; Ethan Miller/Getty Images

From Nancy Sinatra in the ’60s to Julian Lennon in the ’80s to Jakob Dylan in the ’90s, children of star musicians have long followed in their parents’ footsteps to the stage. That trend continues today. A look at some of the latest next-gen musicians:

Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen
Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen
Getty Images

Son of a Guitar God

Band: Mammoth WVH

Lineage: Front man Wolfgang Van Halen is the son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who died from cancer in 2020.

Latest release: Debut album Mammoth WVH (2021). A follow-up may be recorded this year.

Comparison: Wolfgang started his career as the touring bassist in Eddie’s band, Van Halen, but Mammoth’s solid, straight-ahead hard rock is closer in sound and spirit to the music of the Foo Fighters. Like the Foo’s Dave Grohl did for his debut album, Wolfgang not only sang all the songs but played all the instruments on Mammoth WVH. He has since hired musicians to fill out the band.

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Will and Willow Smith
Will and Willow Smith
Getty Images

Fresh Princess?

Artist: Willow

Lineage: The singer-guitarist is the daughter of Will Smith, who began his career as a hip-hop artist.

Latest release: Lately I Feel Everything (2021). “Memories,” a joint single with Yungblud, was released in May.

Comparison: She’s fresher (with explicit language) and more musically adventurous than her Fresh Prince father, exploring rock and pop.

Bono and Elijah Hewson
Bono and Elijah Hewson
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP; Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Bono’s Boy

Band: Inhaler

Lineage: Singer-guitarist Elijah Hewson is a son of U2 front man Bono.

Latest release: It Won’t Always Be Like This (2021). The band is on tour this year.

Comparison: At times Elijah sounds like a young version of his father, though not an imitation. This is a promising alt-rock band with chiming guitars and melodic hooks (sound familiar?).

Annie and Lola Lennox
Annie and Lola Lennox
Getty Images

Who’s That Girl?

Artist: Lola Lennox

Lineage: A daughter of 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Annie Lennox of Eurythmics.

Latest release: “Love Like That” single (2021). An EP is expected soon.

Comparison: The classically trained singer-songwriter-model has a strong voice reminiscent of her mother’s. Annie has served as Lola’s coproducer.

Hank Williams Jr and Sam Williams
Hank Williams Jr. and Sam Williams
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for SiriusXM; Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

Hank’s Kin

Artist: Sam Williams

Lineage: A son of Hank Williams Jr. and a grandson of the late Hank Williams. (Hank Jr. has three other children with music careers.)

Latest release: Glasshouse Children (2021)

Comparison: His work is more polished than that of his relatives, with hip-hop and pop influences.

Phil and Nic Collins
Phil and Nic Collins
Getty Images

A Re-Genesis

Band: Better Strangers

Lineage: Drummer Nic Collins is a son of the Genesis singer-drummer and solo artist Phil Collins.

Latest release: “But I Don’t Know Your Name” single (2022)

Comparison: After filling in for his ailing father on drums during Phil’s solo tour and the Genesis farewell tour, Nic is trying to make a name for his own band, Better Strangers, whose modern alt-rock sounds nothing like Genesis or Phil’s solo material.

James Hetfield and Castor Hetfield
James and Castor Hetfield
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic

Children of Metal

Band: Bastardane

Lineage: Drummer and backing vocalist Castor Hetfield is the son of Metallica singer-guitarist James Hetfield.

Latest release: Is This Rage? (2022)

Comparison: The Savannah, Georgia–based hard-rock trio specializes in hard-driving metal, like Metallica.

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