There are lots of solo singers who achieved something that their respective bands never achieved. It doesn’t mean that they are more successful than the bands they were formerly a member of but these artists had a record they achieved that they haven’t achieved when they were still a member of their former band.
NSYNC was one of the biggest boybands back then and broke records for fastest selling album in America. That was never achieved by Justin Timberlake as a solo artist. However, Justin scored 3 consecutive number one singles from his album “Future Sex / Love Sounds” which NSYNC never achieved. The group even only had one number one single.
Beyonce is the leader of girl group Destiny’s Child. The group achieved 4 number 1 in Billboard Hot 100. While Beyonce as a solo singer, she scored 5 number one singles. Beyonce also scored 5 consecutive number 1 albums, while Destiny’s Child even only had 1 number 1 album in Billboard Hot 100.
Nick Jonas is the one third of siblings band The Jonas Brothers. The band was very successful then, but they haven’t scored multiplatinum singles. However, Nick Jonas has achieved that going multiplatinum with singles “Jealous” and “Chains” which went 3x and 2x platinum, according to RIAA.
Robbie Williams is one of the biggest British artists ever who had sold millions of albums worldwide. His former band Take That may had become very popular but comparing sales of Robbie Williams and Take That, Robbie had sold more. Also, Robbie had a nomination on MTV Video Music Awards, which Take That was never nominated.
Zayn Malik left One Direction just last 2015. The group continued recording an album which was their last and achieved success. However, there is one thing Zayn achieved which he never achieved as a member of One Direction. That’s scoring a number 1 single in Billboard Hot 100. One Direction had scored 6 top 10 hits but nothing came to number 1. While Zayn just scored his first number one hit through “PILLOWTALK”. He even sets record for entering the charts at the top.
There are a lot artists today who doesn’t really like the songs or kinds of music the executives has given them. They were not given creative control with the music they want to do, and the image they want for themselves.
After breaking free and established their names, these artists had the guts to express what they feel for the music they did before. Looking back in 2000, Pink was heard as an R&B singer. She sings like a black artist and she had a wonderful soulful voice. She was forced to record an R&B pop record. But she wanted to become a rock star. In her second album, she has evolved and put on much creativity which made her more successful. After that, she became what she wants to be.
Christina Aguilera is another example who tried to put her creativity in her music. She hated her bubblegum pop songs and image then and went more matured, both in her music and image in “Stripped”. It was a success, but initially performed moderately. She even emphasized how much she doesn’t like her music then during interviews for “Lotus” LP, which this album flopped.
Kelly Clarkson also battled with her label to release her album with darker rock theme, which was birthed as “My December”. Her label wants her to record similar to her old work but she fought over which was eventually released. The album terribly failed despite millions of saled and high chart positions, knowing her previous album was stellar. She incorporated back her old sound in her succeeding releases.
Justin Timberlake became an R&B singer but he was a pop star while still in NSYNC. The good thing about it is he is not complaining. That’s why he remained successful with his records despite long gaps of their releases.
Recently, Zayn Malik, a former member of One Direction expressed what he felt with the music he did with One Direction. He doesn’t like their music then and even talked against their label executive Simon Cowell. With his interview, he sounded whiny though. Let’s see of his being whiny will make him a huge star.
It is rightful for these stars to put their creative side in their songs. Label executives though considers it as a business and they want their artists to follow a formula. It is understandable that these artists will fight for their right, but they shouldn’t sound too whiny. They were perceived as biting the hands that fed them. Remember that the kind of music that established them as stars was lived by the fans and it was quite insulting if they go against it like looking down at the tastes of music their fans once loved from them.
Naughty Boy ft. Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin- Runnin’ (Lose it All)
After successful collaboration with Sam Smith, Naughty Boy worked with one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Beyonce. Arrow Benjamin was also featured in the song. It was Beyonce’s latest recording release after “7/11”. From hip-hop and R&B tune, this time she turned to this EDM track. This song, however, reminds me of her song “Haunted”. Her voice showed her prowess as well as Arrow Benjamin, who didn’t fail with his part. This song may possibly be a hit once it was released and may be a start of working relationship of Beyonce and Naughty Boy. Despite the strong performances of the artists, melody-wise, not as catchy as many hit EDM tracts.
Rating: 7.5 of 10
One Direction- Infinity
After the huge success of “Drag Me Down” at the charts, One Direction finally released the follow-up for their upcoming LP they just named “Made in the A.M.”, which will be out ,as usual, on November. The song is a mid tempo ballad driven by synth and drums. The lyrics wa believed to be about former member Zayn Malik. The message is fine but it lacked more sincerity with the words. It’s just a short song to accommodate more words. The melody was good but not on par with “Story of My Life”. Many claimed, “Drag Me Down” was way bettef but I prefer this song.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Hailee Steinfield- Love Myself
After her notable appearance at the successful musical comedy film “Pitch Perfect 2”, Hailee Steinfield didn’t waste her talent and pursued musical career. When I watched the film, she has a good voice and possibly can carry the next “Pitch Perfect” movie. When I heard this I was like she should’ve done a better musical approach with a voice like that. The lyrics, was also believed as suggestive in social media which Hailee denied as it is about empowerment. Melodically, it is catchy but expected better from her. The song was already released more than a month ago but just catching up interest recently.
Six months ago, a news broke the hearts of many Directioners (One Direction fans) when its member Zayn Malik announced that he will be officially leaving One Direction, he reasoned he wants private and normal life away from the limelight. However, just few weeks ago, he revealed the real reason why he left One Direction. He had signed contracts with RCA Records for his solo album. Yes, going solo is his real reason why he left the group which upset many Directioners.
Now, the question is, will he be able to make it big like any other successful artists who were originally from the group? Many members of successful groups did not succeed going solo. Only few of them became real icons. Let’s consider, Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys. His debut album had decent sales but never brought him to the heights. Another example is the members of the Spice Girls which all of them did their solo projects. They were successful in their native UK and some parts of Europe, but never spread to the entire world. Their solo fan bases are limited. Melanie C and Geri Halliwell became biggest selling members of the group though who had real solo number 1 hits.
Among those former group members who became successful on their own were Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, which these three became pop icons. Michael Jackson became one of the biggest selling artists of all time. Beyonce and Justin Timberlake were two artists from a group and now pop icons of this generation. Beyonce who scored 5 consecutive number 1 albums was formerly from successful girl group Destiny’s Child, while Justin Timberlake was from boyband NSYNC.
There are factors though that can contribute to an artist’s success. During the time of Michael Jackson, technology is still miles away from what we have now and competition wasn’t that tight. During Beyonce and Justin Tinberlake’s debut years, there’s no social media. But today, there are many ways to advertise or promote one’s music. Social media, other platforms of selling music. It depends on an artist’s activity.
As a former member of One Direction, Zayn Malik has been active in social media and interacts with their fans. With right music and promotion, he can be among those successful solo stars who carved their name in the music industry.