10 pop stars who’ve championed heavy metal bands

Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon onstage with Ed Sheeran
(Image credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

Over the years, musical genres have become a lot more fluid. We’re not trapped in the clique-y hell of the early 2000s anymore: it’s totally safe for a mosher to admit they jam to Britney Spears when they get home and kick off their 10-inch stompers. This new era of acceptance means pop stars are eager to share their niche tastes, with a host of stadium-filling crooners admitting they love listening to a damn scary riff from time to time. Whether it’s through shout-outs or collaborations, here are 10 household names who’ve confessed to having an affinity for metal.

Metal Hammer line break

Miley Cyrus

When she played Black Mirror’s digital dystopian popstar Ashley O in 2019, Miley Cyrus knocked out a shameless rip off of Nine Inch NailsHead Like A Hole, and it slapped. Elsewhere, Miley has voiced her metal love through her adoration of Iron Maiden, as well as reimagining Nothing Else Matters for the Metallica Blacklist project alongside Elton John.

Billie Eilish

When Billie made her avant-pop debut, it quickly became clear that she was hell-bent on injecting something alternative into the mainstream. The young star wears her metal influences on her sleeve – quite literally, having donned patchwork pieces repping acts like Rob Zombie, Motörhead and more. She’s also used Instagram to promote her favourite metal tunes, most recently Demons by Darkest Hour.

Post Malone

While Postie ended up getting into rap, he’s never severed himself from his heavy roots. After starting out in an Asking Alexandria cover band, he’s continued to show his love for the metal world, regularly hanging with acts like Power Trip and Gatecreeper, and even cropping up onstage with Slayer. He’s also collaborated with Ozzy Osbourne and has a tat of legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

Ed Sheeran

While Ed’s the poster boy for modern pop, he’s not entirely squeaky-clean. The Shape Of You singer had Oli Sykes growling during last year’s Brit Awards – something we’re sure your aunt wasn’t expecting when she tuned in. He’s also stopped Korn’s Brian Welch for a selfie and voiced a love for Cradle Of Filth; Dani Filth has since repeatedly teased an upcoming collaboration. 

Megan Thee Stallion

When rap goddess Megan Thee Stallion isn’t busting out empowering bars, she’s eager to lift up other artists and help them shine. Most recently, the hip-hop star took Spiritbox under her wing, allowing the rising metalcore stars to remix her 2023 megahit, Cobra. Vocalist Courtney LePlante even gets her own verse during this hard-rockin’ version – how’s that for championing new, heavy talent?

Lady Gaga

Not even Lady Gaga herself could keep a poker face when she was offered the chance to collaborate with Metallica in 2017. The Metalli-Gaga performance of the Four Horsemen’s Moth Into Flame at the 59th Grammys was one for the history books (despite technical snafus), serving as the most ambitious cross-genre fusion of sharp heavy metal and glistening pop on a mainstream stage.

Justin Bieber

Back in 2012, teen heartthrob Justin Bieber claimed that Metallica mega-ballads One and Fade To Black were his “jams”. He’s since posted cryptic Tool 10,000 Days lyrics on his Instagram story. There’s also that time he donned a leather jacket and a scruffy black wig for a performance of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train on one episode of Lip Sync Battle


Halsey has worked alongside some of the biggest names in alt music. Her grungy 2021 album If I Cant Have Love, I Want Power was produced by Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. She also co-wrote a song called Experiment On Me with Bring Me The Horizon, which appeared on the soundtrack to DC superhero blockbuster Birds Of Prey.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey is the undisputed Queen Of Christmas – but what about the Queen Of Metal? Her 2002 cover of Def Leppard’s Bringin’ On The Heartbreak proved that she enjoys her fair share of glam metal. Mariah also secretly worked on an alt-rock album back in the ’90s, her pal Clarissa Dane releasing the tracks under the pseudonym of “Chick”. 

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has repeatedly shared her love for a host of heavy metal beloveds, including The Devils Wears Prada, Job For A Cowboy, Bring Me The Horizon and Lamb Of God. Her guitarist, Vinita Strauss, has labelled Demi a “total metalhead”; her latest pair of rock-focussed albums, Holy Fvck and the rock remix collection Revamped, only reaffirm the star’s dedication to all things heavy.

Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.