Top Vegan Musicians
As veganism gains momentum worldwide, it seems there are now more vegetarian and vegan musicians than ever before. Plant-based, cruelty-free living is becoming popular in industries everywhere. Many doctors promote the health benefits of vegan food, fashion designers feature animal-free materials in their work, and athletes adopt plant-based diets to boost performance. The music scene is just as involved. More and more artists are going vegan and ditching meat—and many are keen on letting their fans know about it.
Veganism In The Music Industry
As an individual who spent years trying to make it as a musician, I can say firsthand that vegetarianism or veganism was not a popular choice when I was getting started. I didn’t even know what “vegan” was when I started! In fact, vegetarianism wasn’t even a fad back in the 1970s—back then, it was a concept you only heard about in your hippie-dippy cousin’s vegan cooking blog.
Then things started to change. More and more people started talking about the ethical implications of eating meat. Soon, vegetarian restaurants were everywhere, a large range of vegan recipes was available in cookbooks, and veggie-friendly alternatives to meat began appearing in fast food restaurants—to name just a few of the shifts in attitudes.
Now veganism is becoming more than just a niche or fringe activity. It’s here to stay. Even the most successful and well-known musicians are taking steps towards more ethical and compassionate living. Here’s a list of vegan musicians and bands culled from websites and bloggers, and followers of the movement on social media.
The first four bands represent rock and metal, but there are many others in hip-hop, pop, jazz, jazz-fusion, pop-punk, R&B, and many other genres. These artists may be sharing a stage, but they’re also using their fame to encourage a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle.
- Ethan Miller—the former guitarist of The White Stripes and the first vegan musician to ever grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine—released his new vegan book (an autobiography) entitled ‘I Quit Eating Animals’ earlier this year.
- Spice Girls’ Mel B recently joined a group of vegan activists who chanted outside McDonald’s UK headquarters.
- Plus, former Metallica frontman James Hetfield joined a vegan animal rights campaign in 2012.
- Former Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy recently explained to her 5 million followers that she doesn’t drink alcohol or eat beef or pork.
- In 2012, electronic duo Daft Punk became the first non-musical artist ever to grace the cover of VegNews, the world’s largest vegetarian magazine.
Why Vegan Musicians Are On The Rise
There’s a big difference between giving up meat and dairy and giving up dairy-based products (and animal by-products) altogether. Even the most committed animal activists can find it difficult to turn their back on milk and cheese for a month at a time, especially if they live an active lifestyle.
Folk-rock musician Chrissy Barker is one such artist. “I feel like I’m a total hypocrite when I eat cheese,” says the musician, who is also a vegan trainer. “But being vegan is about eating the right things and minimizing the wrong things.” As a vegetarian, Barker enjoyed non-dairy alternatives such as almond and cashew cheese, coconut milk ice cream, and plant milk such as soy, almond, and rice.
Music festivals and festivals, in general, are big business. World Cafe Magazine reports that attendance at music festivals rose to 615,546 in 2013. And they're not just summer festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. Today's music is more diverse, incorporating elements of the dancefloor, hip-hop, and electronic music, and these festival attendances are likely to continue to rise.
Founded in 2011, Will Eat Projects organizes vegan, vegetarian, and other plant-based live music events around the US. Their line-up includes Jam Cruise, Life in Color, the Buffalo Vegan Festival, and Vegan Fest Austin—all of which have vegan headliners. Even though these concerts are not exactly marketed to vegans, they will appeal to many other environmentally conscious, animal-loving music lovers.
For a musician, veganism seems like a good way to expand their fan base and may even help them attract paying gigs. Sure, some vegan musicians will be surprised that people listen to their music. But they are thrilled that more people than ever are opening up to their lifestyle.
Melbourne musician Missy Heydemann has been playing the piano and singing since she was eight years old. She’s been vegan for 15 years. When asked what sparked her decision to go vegan, she said: “I decided to go vegan when I went to Melbourne Zoo and saw Bambi’s mother get shot in front of me. After seeing how the animals are treated, I decided to change my lifestyle.” As a vegetarian at the time, she joined the Vegan Society and has never look back.
Top Vegan Musicians
- emcee Plantshaker (best known for his debut track ‘Plant Fodder’),
- Seth Troxler (producer of Animal Collective and Gorillaz) and
- virtuoso Brian Eno.
The former two are vegan and vegetarian, and ‘Plant Fodder’ is the sound of a man with a dream. “The idea for this song came from my realization that the meat industry is, in itself, a very unethical system,” says Plantshaker.
“Over the last few years, I’ve become very interested in how we relate to other beings and how we treat each other. After that realization, I started becoming a vegetarian, realizing that vegetarianism could be a tough lifestyle choice. It has a few requirements, so it wasn’t an easy one for me to stick to.
Here are ten top vegan musicians who never eat meat or cheese. PETA is an animal rights organization that uses catchy multimedia campaigns to raise awareness about animals issues and their treatment. Throughout its 30-year history, PETA has campaigned against hunting, fur, factory farming, and transgenic animal testing.
It also opposes certain clothing and cosmetics lines, like Fur Creative, which produces and promotes products containing real animal fur. In 2014, PETA launched a collaboration with Animal Voices to issue singles encouraging veganism.
- Singer Christy Turlington and the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Fab Five performed the PETA-themed single “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” on a segment on Larry King Live.
- Roxane Gay – What started as a blog titled Vegan Rap and Hip Hop in 2005, Roxane Gay has now created Gay & Forth, an online store selling vegan clothing, accessories, and cosmetics. Gay is also a prolific fiction writer, publishing the first of three collections of short stories, “Hunger,” in 2010.
- Vince Staples – Stoner rap mainstay Vince Staples supports an active vegan lifestyle. He now shares this on record with his first album, Summertime '06.
- Rapper and singer Nikki Jean, known as Noname, made veganism mainstream for young, black vegan women by appearing on NME's “Best Dressed List” this year. While out and about, she often makes it known that she's a vegan.
- Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes joined the Vegan Society this year to improve her veganism—and become a better musician.
List Of Vegan Musicians
Below is a list of some of the best and most prominent vegan musicians. There are hundreds more out there, but we couldn’t fit them all on this list.
- Johnny Lefebvre is a founding member of the popular Indie band Ween. He’s also been vegan since 1994. In 2014, he released his first solo album, Blammo. He does not drink, smoke, or take drugs.
- David Dondero is a member of many bands and has performed with Sublime and The Offspring members. He was vegan for 25 years, which is longer than any of his band members. He was just featured on CNN, covering his history as a vegan.
- Aaron Pritchett is a famous vegan musician from Austin, Texas. He also started a foundation in 2010 to spread veganism and to educate others.
Our team has carefully compiled a list of vegan musicians worldwide that offer a wide selection of music, and we hope that you’ll enjoy the musicians featured. As we compiled the list, we should point out that we used what we feel is an accurate representation of vegans as defined by the Vegetarian Society (which sets the standards and principles of vegetarianism for the world’s organizations).
This means that some musicians might be on our list but not in the official VVS definition. Also, it’s important to note that it’s not necessarily necessary to be a vegan to produce, record, or perform music—those who are vegetarian or vegan find it more fulfilling to follow their natural food restrictions.
Beyonce Knowles has been a huge supporter of the vegan movement for some time now. She has written about the virtues of plant-based eating and also promoted cruelty-free fashion and fashion designers. She has also worked with Live Earth and other animal protection organizations. Lady Gaga Like Beyonce, Lady Gaga has been a long-time supporter of veganism.
In 2015, she wrote an open letter to her fans, urging them to adopt a more compassionate diet. She explained how her own vegan diet has helped her feel better: “I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually,” she wrote. “I don't feel addicted to anything.” Amy Winehouse Funk icon Amy Winehouse was a committed vegan, and many of her songs mention her vegan beliefs.
Jhene Aiko has become a notable vegan musician thanks to her cooking shows and podcasts. The singer, songwriter, and rapper is also the sister of Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor. She’s known for her “nontraditional, intimate” songs ranging from R&B, hip hop, and indie rock.
She’s featured on Alicia Keys’ 2015 album, Here. When talking about her diet, she explained: “When I woke up in the morning, I wasn’t eating anything. I couldn’t have my cereal or oatmeal because they contain milk and dairy products. I had to really be focused on what I was eating that day. And that is what made me and makes me so disciplined.” Amanda Palmer has been vegan since 2014.
An affable rapper and drug dealer with a range of hits, G-Eazy was one of the first major names in the music industry to adopt a vegan lifestyle. He wrote about his commitment to plant-based life in his song “Floyd Mayweather’s Favorite.”
“I love vegans / I like the Earth / I’m a vegan,” he crooned. “I’m against our government taking my money / I’m vegan, I’m like Floyd’s favourite.” In addition to his music, G-Eazy is no stranger to activism. He advocates for the homeless and is behind Rising Against—the world’s largest charitable organization working to end hunger, poverty and discrimination.
As a Greek mother and an American singer, Australian-born musician Sia is a plant-based hermit. It’s hard to argue that she doesn’t do what she does by her own volition because she told Billboard that “I don’t think I would be making music if I didn’t have the desire to do it.”
Christine and the Queens French-born Romy Angelakos is a producer, musician and singer-songwriter who’s lent her sound to labels such as Young Turks, Mute and R&S. Though she makes music and art primarily as a gay man, Romy goes vegan and does her best to live the vegan lifestyle. House of Pain Long before Ozzy Osbourne adopted a vegan diet, the Los Angeles heavy-metal band House of Pain. Lead singer Rick James is an advocate for plant-based nutrition.
Ever since he was a teenager, Lil Xan has been a vegan. He was vegan during his early years in the music industry and always spoke highly of it. The “Betrayed” rapper recently hit #1 on the Billboard album chart with his “Coma,” in which he explains why he decided to go vegan: “As a youth, I didn't have a dad figure in my life, so I had to be the best role model I could be for my mom and my younger brother.
He knows what it takes to be healthy and happy.” And after releasing his debut album, “Teenage Emotions,” a vegan lifestyle started to get serious for Lil Yachty. Following the footsteps of music producer and DJ Deadmau5, who recently announced his switch to a plant-based diet, Lil Yachty decided to make the shift.
The Benefits Of Veganism
When a musician chooses to go vegan, they will typically get more respect and recognition for it. Music is one of the most important aspects of our culture. It is one of the few arenas where true individuality is recognized and promoted. A musician on a vegan diet shows just how much of an environmentalist they are. It shows their impact on the world around them and can promote a vegan lifestyle to anyone listening.
It’s not all about music, either. With more awareness, more vegans will abandon their meat-centric lifestyles and go vegan for ethical reasons. Many are finding that animal rights make up a big part of their decision to go vegan. Welfare cows suffer terribly, and their calf(s) are often killed soon after birth.
Most people assume that going vegan means being on a starvation diet, but in reality, veganism means making your diet as cruelty-free as possible. That’s not to say that you can’t indulge or enjoy delicious foods that are full of protein and vitamin B12—but making a lifestyle change is necessary.
Protein is an essential component of every cell in our body, and without it, we wouldn’t be able to function. As it turns out, proteins found in meat and dairy products contain a lot of lactose, making them hard to digest. Studies have found that if we consume too much protein, we build bigger and bigger blood vessels, which leads to a risk of heart disease.
According to a report released by the Humane Society of the United States, “Taking Action for Animals” (HSA), vegan eating has many benefits:
- Improved cognitive function and mental health,
- Better cardiovascular and respiratory health,
- Improves hormone levels,
- Improved ability to grow healthy crops and spread plants around the planet, and
- Increased longevity.
The bottom line? A vegan diet can be beneficial to people of all ages and for all kinds of reasons. Some of the best musical vegan celebrities don't get accolades for their talent but simply use their platform for good.
Plant-Based, Cruelty-Free Living
Veganism is just another health-promoting diet. It’s becoming popular in industries everywhere. Many doctors promote the health benefits of vegan food, fashion designers are featuring animal-free materials in their work, and athletes adopt plant-based diets to boost performance.
The vegan food industry is worth an estimated $9 billion. Sales are increasing, mainly due to an increasing interest in plant-based protein sources like tempeh, mock meat, seitan, and veggie burgers. Sellout from meat-eating fanatics is no longer a problem. There are even vegan alternatives to cake and ice cream!
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland recently conducted a study that uncovered one of the surprising factors contributing to the trend. The results showed that it’s not the more affluent, educated population that is more likely to be vegan.
They discovered that eating a plant-based diet is often a part of their lifestyle, even among people with less education and income. “Animal-free diets appear to be especially prevalent among those who feel that vegan eating is more ethical than eating a traditionally meat-based diet,” the study found. Another study released in September 2018 showed that having more “outdoor-dwelling” people positively affects the vegan and vegetarian population.
Everyone can be vegan for different reasons, and some people may start with a strong ethical aversion. Others are following the vegan diet for health reasons—to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, for example—or simply reduce their carbon footprint.
Here’s a list of a handful of popular musicians who are 100% vegan, no matter their personal motivations. Gene Simmons, KISS drummer and frontman – Gene Simmons is now vegan, and he appears happy about it. In an interview with the Guardian, he talks about his moral responsibility and the benefits of being vegan. “It’s a correct diet,” he said. “It’s better for animals, better for humans. More compassion.”
Why Are More And More Musicians Going Vegan?
In 2011, Rock the Farm Music Festival set a goal of having all of their lineup of bands be 100% vegan. Several of their acts, such as Gnarls Barkley, have lived an animal-free lifestyle for a long time. They use ingredients from raw vegan kitchens and are selective about who they collaborate with to avoid eating heavily processed products.
“We have our core members who are vegan, but many of the brands we work with for the festival choose to be,” says Carolyn Siracusa, who is in charge of the festival. “We don’t try to push them to be vegan. We just keep an eye out and hope that they don’t slip up.” Some of the other bands that have been vegan for a long time include Ray Lamontagne and Bright Eyes.
PETA The vegan advocacy group's mission is “to end animal exploitation worldwide by educating the public about animal rights and urging legislative action.” It often urges artists to make the switch as part of its current “Give a Damn, Get a Veg” campaign.
Artists featured include David Guetta, Lauryn Hill, Pete Yorn, Blondie, TV On The Radio, Peaches, and many more. In the 1980s, Peta was a major advocate for the vegan lifestyle and shared the stage with the Sex Pistols during their first U.S. performance. They also helped fund the recording of a biography, The Boy in the Box, about the life of Wayne Gretzky, the hockey player.
Looking ahead to the near future, with more and more plant-based restaurants and stores now available worldwide, along with many more vegan musicians and musicians with a vegan message, I expect to see even more people switching to a vegan diet, along with more musicians who are living up to this lifestyle.
Being vegan, or at least vegetarian, is a huge change, and it’s not easy for some people. It’s even a little daunting to start with, and you might have to give up things you enjoy, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a vegan life.
Music is one of the oldest art forms and can be traced to the oldest humans in history. Music has the ability to influence people, invoke emotions, and inspire people.
As the face of music continues to change, we've looked back on our history but at the same time, looked forward to the future of musicians who promote cruelty-free living, vegetarianism, and veganism.
Veganism, for many people, can be quite difficult, so it's encouraging to see this much progress made in such a short period of time.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about the Top Vegan Musicians. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Would you mind leaving me your questions, experience and remarks about the Top Vegan Musicians in the comments section below? You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.
Below please find a link to the amazing book by Dr. Douglas Graham, an athlete on a raw vegan diet. “This book is the best I ever read on a raw vegan diet!” JeannetteZ