Before their hits became your go-to pregame music, artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, and Selena Gomez performed on talent shows and the set of Barney.



Footage of Beyoncé + Rihanna Performing as Kids Will Leave You Speechless

Sometimes, drunk singing into a camera at 3AM can seem like the best idea until you watch your screeching Adele rendition the next morning. Luckily, not all the vocal powerhouses you viciously lip sync to on the morning commute were always the stars they are now. They came from humble beginnings with shaky voices and off-tone attempts to hit high notes that were only corrected through years of vocal training.

Okay, we’re joking. Musicians like Ariana Grande and Beyoncé had golden vocal cords long before they became international superstars. We can try hard to reconcile our vocal talents, but the reality is that not all musicians are created equal. Some took a long time to strengthen their voices enough to sing live without giving crowds secondhand embarrassment while others have been throwing down their best falsetto for years. As you struggle to deal with the fact that your voice would fit perfectly into the “bad audition” montage on singing competition shows, sit back and bask in the vocals of your fave musicians years before the fame.

A 12-Year-Old Beyoncé’s ‘Girls Tyme’ Origins on Star Search

We all know that familiar opening line about the “hip-hop rapping Girls Tyme” that precedes the Beyoncé banger “***Flawless,” but have you seen the performance? It’s an incredible relic of what you imaged an early ’90s all-girls group would look like: matching quilted jackets and shorts in various shades of neon and fiery raps about a brand new slam guaranteed to make you eat your green eggs and ham. Who knew that Girls Tyme would be renamed Destiny’s Child in a few years?

Amy Winehouse Takes on the Virgin Megastore in 2003

Months before she released her debut album Frank in late 2003 and began her rise to stardom, Winehouse stood in front of a crowd at the Virgin Megastore in an argyle sweater. She was singing “Best Friends” from her upcoming album and looked visibly nervous as she strummed her guitar and introduced the crowd to her haunting vocals.

A 15-Year-Old Rihanna Takes on a Mariah Carey Ballad

Years before she became Bad Girl RiRi, Robyn Fenty walked on stage and sang her heart out to Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” It’s a soft, heartfelt performance by a singer who’s now more likely to be belting out hits about S&M and marijuana than she is to sing about reaching into your soul to melt away your sorrow. It’s got all the hallmarks of an embarrassing childhood video—right down to the cheesy, fuzzy transitions.

Fergie Unleashes Her ‘Dangerous’ Side in a Rockin’ 1985 Performance

She may be 2016’s Number One M.I.L.F. thanks to her new song, but thirty years ago, Fergie was content to just dance and sing as Stacy Ferguson on Kids, Inc.  It looks like a scene straight out of an ’80s Elementary School Musical film, right down to the singing background dancers and an outfit that screamed “first day back at school and ready to turn heads in the lunchroom.”

Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato Sing with Barney in 2002

Real-life (former) best friends Selena and Demi met in Texas on the set of Barney in 2002. They appeared in a number of episodes until their families moved together to L.A. so the duo could take over Disney Channel. While chilling out with every kid’s fav purple dinosaur, they sang, danced, and acted their hearts out.

Stay tuned to Milk for more musician throwbacks. 

Original imagery by Chris Thomas. 

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