Meryl Streep Listened to This Icon’s Records “Obsessively” When She Was 16

Currently starring in Big Little Liesjoining an already incomparable cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura DernMeryl Streep portrays Mary Louise Wright in the HBO hit drama. With a skeptical outlook on the Monterey Five, Meryl Streep brings her top-notch artistry to yet another production, bringing the little lies to the next level.

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep | Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT

Though Meryl Streep is widely known for her Oscar-winning turns in The Iron Lady, Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer,and more, the actress boasts one impressive set of pipes. From belting out a country ballad in Postcards From the Edge to bringing a little camp to the opening number in Death Becomes Her, Meryl Streep has enjoyed singing on-screen for years.

Ricki and the Flash, Mamma Mia, and Into the Woods may represent Meryl’s most recent singing roles; however, they only constitute a fraction of the movies she sang for. Not to mention, Meryl Streep, before becoming the major movie star she is today, sang live on stage!

Meryl Streep on singing through a character and the iconic performer she feels tells “a story in each song”

During an interview With TimesTalks, Meryl Streep discussed her position as “an actor who sings.” The interviewer explains that while Opera allows for astonishing vocal feats, Opera singers often forget about the meaning, losing sight of the depth inherent to the lyrics; however, an actor never does that. An actor acts through the song.

Meryl Streep explained why she “enjoys singing through the persona of a person” and why she could never be a singer who simply gets up on stage and performs as themselves. Discussing actors who sing, she stated:

“Barbra Streisand…she had said that she was an actor who sang…I knew that. When I was sixteen, I listened to her records obsessively because she seemed to be someone who was telling a story in each song. And each one was almost its whole little narrative film. There was something so dramatic about how she did what she did.”


It’s no surprise that Meryl Streep cites Barbra Streisand as a source of inspiration, for she is an actor-singer who performs with a nearly unrivaled degree of conviction and sincerity.

Similar to Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand is an Academy-Award winning actress with a set of pipes. Streisand won the Oscar for Funny Girl in 1969 and has been nominated five times in the span of her career (so far).

Interestingly enough, the interviewer goes on to explain that Barbra is famously “self-trained” (a fact that never kept her from unbridled success) while Meryl has a bit more technical training. And Meryl Streep’s training has paid off; she received Golden Globe nominations for her vocally demanding turns in Into the Woods and Mamma Mia.

Will Meryl Streep sing on-screen again soon?

According to IMDb, Meryl Streep will appear in Little Women, The Laundromat, and an untitled Martin Scorcese project down the line. Furthermore, as far as all reports can indicate, these will not be musical roles. But, don’t lose hope just yet!

Meryl Streep enjoys singing and will likely accept another vocally demanding role soon. Maybe, just maybe, the Academy-Award winning living legend will reprise Miranda Priestly for the Broadway Musical take on The Devil Wears Prada. This sounds like a pipedream, but until the cast is released, let’s keep hoping that Meryl is planning to return to the character.