5 Musicians Who Hold College Degrees

By Catherine Groux
Posted February 16, 2013 10:00 AM

Many musicians have earned college degrees.
Many musicians have earned college degrees.

China's Culture Minister Cai Wu recently made headlines when he reportedly stated that, in the future, only musicians with college degrees will be allowed to perform in China, The Guardian reports. This demand was sparked by a controversial performance by Elton John, who infuriated Chinese authorities by dedicating a performance to Ai Weiwei, an artist whose activism has put him in poor graces among Chinese officials.

While it is unclear whether China will approve the new regulations, there are some musicians who are ahead of the game, having already graduated from college. Here's a list of five musicians who earned college degrees:

1. Kenny Chesney
Country music sensation Kenny Chesney graduated from high school in 1986 and quickly enrolled in East Tennessee State University where he worked toward a bachelor's degree in advertising. However, Chesney did more in college than study the media. While in school, the country star taught himself how to play the guitar and joined the school's bluegrass program.

2. Jim Morrison
Before he became the lead singer of The Doors, the late Jim Morrison was a student at Florida State University. His passion for film eventually led him to transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles' film school, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1965. While in school, Morrison made two films, titled "First Love" and "Obscura."

3. Ludacris
Christopher Bridges, better known as Ludacris, earned a bachelor's degree in music management from Georgia State University, where he gained the skills he needed to become a successful rapper and actor. In school, Ludacris also landed an internship with radio station Hot 107.9, where he later became an on-air host. Still, the rapper was truly able to see the value of his college education when he founded the label Disturbing tha Peace in 2000.

4. John Legend
While the world now knows John Roger Stephens as John Legend, the R&B singer and songwriter with the sultry voice, he was once an average college student. Although he was offered scholarships to Harvard University, Georgetown University and Morehouse College, Legend decided to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English. In school, Legend also made time to break into the music scene, becoming a regular performer in Philadelphia clubs and playing the piano on Lauryn Hill's album "Everything is Everything."

5. Tom Morello
Tom Morello may be best known as the guitarist for Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine, but he is also a graduate of Harvard University. His roommate told the Harvard Crimson that he was a highly devoted social studies student, but always made time to practice the guitar. In fact, Morello could be found performing softly in his dorm room between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. almost every night.

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