Music documentaries for true music fans

It feels like music documentaries are having a moment right now. Numerous stories are told, some remembering the legends that have left us, others shared by great artists themselves. It’s very interesting how music stars are choosing documentaries as a means to tell their stories. Some collaborate with directors to do it. The others take that part themselves as Beyonce did. Either way music fans get to enjoy peeking behind the curtains and discovering more about their favourite artists.

Here’s our list of music documentaries we think are truly worth watching:


Amy is a British documentary film from 2015. It explores the life and tragic death of Amy Winehouse. The documentary shows young Amy already possessing a huge talent, growing up to find fame and success. However, her demons led her to a life of alcohol and drugs that contributed to her death at a young age of 27.

Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two

Gaga: Five Foot Two was released in 2017. It shows an unfiltered behind the scenes view of Lady Gaga’s life over one year. During that time she was recording her fifth studio album Joanne, as well as preparing for her Super Bowl halftime performance. The movie also reveals Gaga’s more personal side as she deals with chronic pain and heartbreak.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Written, directed and executive produced by Beyoncé herself, Homecoming is about singer’s performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018. The documentary is described as intimate and it explores “the emotional road from creative concept to a cultural movement”.

Avicii: True Stories

Another film about a star that left us too soon and under tragical circumstances. Avicii: True Stories tells a tale of a young Swedish DJ that conquered the world with his music. Unfortunately, while he loved music, Avicii had a hard time finding his place in the music industry.

Amazing Grace Aretha Franklin

Amazing Grace follows Aretha Franklin as she records her 1972 live album with the same name. The film was supposed to be released the same year, but there were technical difficulties syncing the audio tracks with the visual print. It was brought back to light in 2007 when producer Alan Elliott bought the rights for the raw footage. However, due to Franklin suing Elliott on two occasions, the documentary was not released worldwide until the 5th of April, 2019. The film has received critical acclaim.

What happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a 2015 American biographical documentary film about Nina Simone directed by Liz Garbus. It follows Nina’s life as a singer and a civil rights activist.

Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man tells the tale of a musician you’ve probably never heard of. His name is Rodriguez and he made music in the ’70s. He never became a world star, but unexpectedly, was big in South Africa. This was pre-internet time, and he had no idea of his popularity. During the movie, we get to see him discover how his music touched others.


Ivona Josipovic

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

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