Over the last half decade or so, we've seen a noticeable resurgence of heavy-metal aesthetics in the mainstream. Whether it was Kanye West rocking a Cradle of Filth shirt, his reality star ex-sister-in-law Kourtney Kardashian sporting a Cannibal Corpse tee or Jay-Z booking Code Orange for his Made in America Fest, it's currently quite fashionable for household-name millionaires (and billionaires) to associate with metal and hardcore.
However, for every 10 pop stars wearing Metallica or Iron Maiden shirts, there're far fewer who actually listen to the music itself. With Post Malone's surprisingly metal-tinged Posty Fest recently announced, and the evergreen debate about celebrities rocking metal tees once again in the air, we thought we'd spotlight a bunch of pop stars who are actual metalheads, or who at least have a legitimate appreciation for the sound of metal, not just its badass visuals.
From rappers who love to jump in the deathcore pit to ex-Disney cast members with a taste for black metal and breakdowns, these are 10 pop stars who love metal in all its glory.
Post Malone is one of those celebrities who seems to be leveraging his fame to do all the cool shit he dreamed about as a kid. The pop-rap superstar is a longtime metalhead who often chooses Pantera's "Walk" as his karaoke song (he rocks a Dimebag tattoo, after all) and over the last few years he's covered Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" live and done multiple collaborations with Ozzy Osbourne. Earlier this week, he even tapped the death-metal band Gatecreeper and the hardcore act Turnstile to play alongside other rap giants at his upcoming festival. The dude's just having fun.
This one is probably a real surprise to most people, but Andre 3000 is a bona fide metalhead. The virtuosic rapper and member of legendary Atlanta duo Outkast (of "Hey Ya!" fame) posed with the Melvins after attending one of their shows in 2013, letting the whole world know that he actually has an affinity for roiling sludge metal. It gets better: A few years later, in 2017, the "Ms. Jackson" singer was spotted rocking out in the crowd of a Neurosis and Converge show in Brooklyn (and might have even spilled a beer on a Revolver staffer). He's the real deal.
After breaking into the music world as a young Disney star and then jumping wildly between sounds on her first few solo records — from innocent bubblegum pop to pill-popping Flaming Lips collabs — Cyrus has recently settled into channeling the music she loves the most: rock and, by extension, metal. She confirmed her love for Iron Maiden years ago, covered Nine Inch Nails live in 2019 and recently reinvented "Nothing Else Matters" for Metallica's Blacklist compilation.
Halsey most recently earned the ear of the heavy-music world for her terrific new album, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, a collection of dark, clattering industrial-pop songs that were co-produced by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. However, her heavy connection goes deeper than that. The alt-pop figurehead has admitted she's a former scene kid, and in 2019 she sealed the deal by making a guest appearance on Bring Me the Horizon's psychedelic mixtape, which was followed in 2020 with the Birds of Prey soundtrack song "Experiment on Me," co-written by BMTH's Oli Sykes and Jordan Fish. Hopefully she'll continue in this lane throughout the roaring 2020s.
Demi Lovato has yet incorporate heavy elements into her own music, but my god, this former Disney star might have the heaviest taste out of everyone on this list. In a 2013 interview, she revealed that some of her favorite bands as a teen were Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Job for a Cowboy, Lamb of God and Bring Me the Horizon (back when they were a deathcore act). She also said that she once saw the Norwegian black-metal band Dimmu Borgir live and went so wild crowdsurfing and moshing that she lost her shoe! That was a while ago, but as recently as 2019 she posted a video of herself screaming along to modern metalcore crushers He Is Legend in her car. Plus, never forget the time she sang the Barney theme death-metal-style with Jimmy Fallon.
Even though he gave classic metal songs his own acoustic-pop makeover on a funny Tonight Show sketch a few years back, until recently, no one would've pegged English pop phenom Ed Sheeran as a lifelong metalhead. Oh, but he is.The massively popular singer-songwriter revealed last month that he was a huge fan of Slipknot and Cradle of Filth as a kid, and he even mentioned that he would be interested in making a full-on death-metal record in the vein of CoF. It almost seemed too absurd to be true at first, but then Cradle of Filth mastermind Dani Filth told Kerrang! Radio that he had actually been in contact with Sheeran, and that the two might be planning a collaboration of some sort. That would be massive.
As far as we know, Justin Bieber hasn't developed a hankering for extreme metal yet, but he definitely has a legitimate interest in some of heavy music's bigger entry-level bands. He's long been open about his love for early Metallica, telling GQ in 2012 that his favorite songs of theirs are "One" and "Fade to Black." In 2015, he covered Ozzy's "Crazy Train" on the Lip Sync Battle TV show. Then, a couple years ago he shocked the metal world by posting lyrics from Tool's 2006 song "The Pot" on his Instagram, which led to an internet-breaking skirmish between his wife, Hailey, and Maynard James Keenan. The whole incident was ridiculous, but the main takeaway is that Biebs gets down to some trippy alt-metal, and we're down with that.
Throughout the last five-plus years, there've been numerous waves of rappers who embraced the aggressive sounds and raucous stage energy of punk and metal music. Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, Denzel Curry and the controversial xxxtentacion come to mind, but the most prominent metalhead in that whole cadre of artists might be Philly weirdo Lil Uzi Vert. The "XO Tour Lif3" rapper was an avid Marilyn Manson fan for many years (long before the onslaught of abuse allegations against the shock rocker), but Uzi really won over the metal world when he went to a 2018 Lorna Shore show in Philly and moshed "harder than anyone" to the deathcore demolishers. Hell yeah.
For well over a decade, Lady Gaga has frequently used metal imagery for promotional photos, tour aesthetics, album covers and more — but unlike many of her peers who simply like the striking visuals, Gaga is a genuine "Heavy Metal Lover," as goes the title of her 2011 song. As an unknown performer coming up in NYC she go-go danced to NWOBHM. Years later, as one of the biggest pop stars in the world, she brought Babymetal on tour, named Black Sabbath's titular anthem as her favorite metal song and said that her goal isn't to be "the next Madonna" but "the next Iron Maiden." And of course, she's also performed onstage with Metallica, even earning the coveted "fifth member" title from Lars Ulrich.
He's the oldest person on this list, and in that sense it makes him the metalhead OG of the pop world. Elton John has a deep appreciation for all types of music, and metal is certainly not left out. Just last week, the Rocket Man himself told Metallica to their faces that "Nothing Else Matters" is "one of the best songs ever written," which made James Hetfield legitimately start tearing up. Previously, John played piano on Saxon's Rock the Nations, joined Guns N' Roses for a special rendition of "November Rain," dueted with Ozzy on his 2020 album, Ordinary Man, and even sang on a track off Alice in Chains' comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue. Horns up!