6 Pop Group Singers Who Found Solo Success

Beyoncé went platinum both in a group and solo.
Beyoncé went platinum both in a group and solo. Flickr user idrewuk/CC-BY-2.0

Before Beyoncé
was dominating the music charts as the unstoppable force that she is, she was just the fresh-faced lead singer of the all-girl trio, Destiny’s Child. Paul McCartney spent his younger years taking the world by storm alongside his Beatles bandmates. Prior to owning all of those suits and ties, Justin Timberlake was the platinum blonde, curly-haired bad boy of *NSYNC. So many of our musical favorites began their careers as members of groups before embracing their talents and moving on to bigger and better ventures, but there are a few that we’ve forgotten about. Here are six other musicians who went on to find solo success apart from their groups.

Ricky Martin

Before he was “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” Ricky Martin was a teenage triple-threat back in his native land of Puerto Rico. After five years and 11 albums with his boy band, Menudo, Martin found himself conflicted between his homosexuality and his designated role as the band’s sex symbol. His subsequent departure from the group allowed him the freedom to pursue dreams of solo success, releasing Spanish-language albums when he wasn’t busy acting in plays, telenovelas, soap operas, and even Broadway shows. His 1999 first English-language, self-titled album was not only certified platinum seven times, but also paved the way for Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and other artists we've come to know and love.

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks has earned her place in music history and her title as the Queen of Rock ‘n' Roll. Between the Fleetwood Mac’s success and Nick's solo work, the Singer has released 16 albums, selling more than 140 million copies. While she was still a part of the band, Nicks released her 1981 solo record, Bella Donna, which was certified platinum within its first three months on the charts. Her unique vocals aside, Nicks’ love of mid-set wardrobe changes, makeup, and use of delicate linens and shawls gave her an electrifying, almost witchy vibe, making her a huge icon not only in music, but also in fashion.

If it weren’t for Diddy signing R&B group B2K to Bad Boy Entertainment, the world may have never experienced the magic that is “Bump, Bump, Bump” or dance flick You Got Served. But the time came for the boys to part ways with their frontman, giving rise to Omarion Grandberry’s music career. With the help of some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest names like Pharrell Williams, Sean Garrett, and Timbaland, Omarion released four widely praised albums, receiving a Grammy nod and numerous awards for singles like 2006’s “Ice Box” and 2014’s “Post to Be” featuring Chris Brown and Jhené Aiko. Since becoming a father to two little girls, the crooner took a few years off, only recently announcing new music in anticipation of his fifth studio album, Reasons.

Rob Thomas

Not many musicians experience going platinum with their very first record, but alternative rockers Matchbox Twenty are one of the few exceptions. Their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, featured several 1996 Top 40 Radio hits, like “3 A.M.” and “Real World.” Lead singer Rob Thomas’ sultry vocals and songwriting prowess became more and more polished over time, eventually landing him in the studio with famed guitarist Carlos Santana for their triple Grammy-winning hit, “Smooth.” During Matchbox Twenty’s hiatuses between records, Thomas took on several independent projects. He released ...Something to Be in 2005 and 2009’s Cradlesong during his time away from the band. Thomas was awarded the first ever Hal David Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame for “young songwriters who have already had a lasting influence in the music industry.”

Lauryn Hill

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is arguably one of the greatest records ever created. It’s no secret that much of its inspiration stems from Hill’s rocky relationship with Wyclef Jean when the two were both members of Grammy-winning band, the Fugees and her evolution into womanhood and motherhood. The 1998 album sold 423,000 copies in its first week alone, with over 12 million sold worldwide over the years. She became the first ever woman to be nominated for ten Grammy categories in a single year, also becoming the first woman to take home five of the highly coveted awards for Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best New Artist — all in one night. To this day, The Miseducation is still the only solo studio album that Hill has ever released, but it’s enough to cement her legacy.

George Michael

George Michael knew at an early age that he was destined for greatness in the music industry. From DJing at local functions to performing covers of some of music’s most influential bands for donations in the London subways, everything changed when teenage Michael met fellow schoolboy Andrew Ridgeley, his future collaborator in the hit duo, Wham! The two men produced two chart-topping studio albums and many top singles like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and "Freedom” before calling it quits. Michael encountered immediate breakout success, with his first solo album, Faith, being certified diamond and the four following releases each reaching gold or platinum status. After 30 years in the industry, and touching the hearts of so many with his seductive dance moves and tight jeans, Michael unexpectedly passed away on December 25, 2016.
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