Music Legends' Kids Rocking Out on Their Own

For celebrity offspring, pursuing a career in a "star" parent's industry comes with enormous advantages. But the scrutiny of celebrity culture means their careers are also burdened by expectation.

"They have to be that much better due to the road their parents have paved them," said E! film critic Ben Lyons, the son of NBC movie critic Jeffrey Lyons.

The challenge, Lyons says, is to establish their own styles. That can be particularly difficult for the children of music legends.

Their famous names — think Sean Lennon, Jakob Dylan and Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana — will grab the headlines, but their long-term success might ultimately depend on how they define themselves as different.

"The kids who have trouble are the ones who try and replicate or duplicate their parents sound and aesthetic," said Lyons.

Ben Taylor, Albert Hammond Jr., JoJo Simmons and Melanie Gabriel are second-generation musicians taking separate paths to make their careers their own — four aspiring talents challenged with moving beyond their parents' legacies.

Ben Taylor, 30, is the son of Carly Simon and James Taylor. A star in his own right, Ben occasionally collaborates with his mom and his sister Sally Taylor. Though his voice might remind you of his father's, Taylor has undoubtedly defined his sound.

"I just want to continue to get more experience and more comfortable in all of the aspects of music that I'm participating in. It progresses at a pretty satisfying rate for me," he said. He's currently recording and producing a new album for the label he co-owns, Iris Records. Ben Taylor's MySpace

Albert Hammond Jr., 27, is the son of legendary singer-songwriter Albert Hammond. Hammond Jr. is the guitarist for the smash hit garage rock band, The Strokes. He also has a very successful solo career and is currently six tracks into his second solo album. His trajectory continues to skyrocket, but he noted, "I'd love [to] find someone to play music with, to make a team, a songwriting partnership with whoever that person is out there." Albert Hammond Jr.'s MySpace

JoJo Simmons, 18, is the son of hip-hop icon and Run DMC co-founder Joseph Simmons and the nephew of music mogul Russell Simmons. What does he want to do? "Platinum and beyond. I don't just want to be an artist. I want to be an entrepreneur, with a shoe company and a clothing line," he said.

Just out of high school, Simmons is recording an album with his group Team Blackout, while working toward a degree in audio engineering. JoJo Simmons' MySpace

Melanie Gabriel, 31, is the daughter of singer Peter Gabriel. Gabriel joined her father on his "Growing Up" tour and sang with his band from 2002 to 2004. Recently she has branched out into world music and is currently working on a project called Taiga Maya, which is a mix of traditional Mayan, Indian and Siberian music added to her own words and vocals.

The four young artists answered questions about the challenges presented by their famous parents and the decision they make to mold their careers.

How would you describe your sound?

Taylor: "'Kungfolk.' It's a quality fusion of folk music and kung fu. It's song based and likens itself to folk music that way, but it's not so easygoing as a lot [of] folk music, so we put the kung in just as a joke, but we like it."

Hammond: "Moist."

Simmons: "We're sort of bringing the old school with the new school. We've got the old-school Run DMC, but we do a little bit of both."

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