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From Beyoncé To Harry Styles, 10 Superstars Who Emerged From Bands
Big-name acts like Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé have proven to be hitmakers in their own right — whether their group has been defunct for decades or are still going strong.
The history of pop music is replete with band members who broke out as solo artists. Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Nicks and Sting are just some of the best-known names who outgrew the shared limelight and made a successful bid for standalone success.
While many solo stars born from bands have since hung up the microphone, others in this illustrious club remain active in 2022. The most recent player in the bandmate-turned-solo-star game is former One Direction singer Harry Styles, who released his third album, Harry's House, on May 20.
Along with Styles, these 10 superstars got their start in great company — and are still thriving on their own today.
To track how far Harry Styles has come from his One Direction days, go back a decade to the group's 2012 music video for "One Thing," which features a big-haired and wholesome Harry riding buses and busking through London. Fast forward to 2022, and he's sharing intense scenes with Florence Pugh in the trailer for Olivia Wilde's upcoming psychological thriller, Don't Worry Darling, fresh from headlining Coachella with a strutting, sequined hit-filled set.
Since making his solo debut with the soaring ballad "Sign of the Times" in 2017, Styles has earned several labels: chart topper, style icon, boundary pusher and even GRAMMY winner. (His subtly provocative smash "Watermelon Sugar" earned the Best Pop Solo Performance GRAMMY in 2021.)
Styles' latest single, "As It Was," helped add record breaker to that list. The song broke the record for most single-day streams on a song by a male artist in global Spotify chart history, setting the stage for the highly anticipated May 20 release of his third solo album, Harry's House.
His upcoming touring schedule shows his star power, too. The singer recently announced mini residencies in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and Toronto, including 10 nights each at famed venues Madison Square Garden and The Forum. Although he's the only One Direction member to play venues of that size on his own, Styles makes sure to still honor his boy band start, keeping 1D's breakout single, "What Makes You Beautiful," in his set list — most recently inviting his buddy Lizzo to perform it with him at Coachella.
"Sorry I'm not Beyoncé," Billie Eilish joked from the main stage at Coachella in her first year as the festival's headliner this April. The quip was an acknowledgement of the former Destiny's Child member's titanic solo career to date — and, of course, her showstopping headline performance at Coachella in 2018 that was later immortalized in Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé (and dubbed Beychella by fans).
In the nearly 20 years since her solo debut, 2003's Dangerously In Love, Beyoncé has released six albums — all of which have reached No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart — and has scored six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo or featured artist.
Among countless other accolades, the "Halo" star has become a GRAMMY legend: Beyoncé has won 28 GRAMMYs (and has received 79 nominations), making her the winning-most female artist in GRAMMY history.
This year, after receiving her first Oscar nomination for "Be Alive" from the King Richard soundtrack, Beyoncé opened the 2022 Academy Awards with a stunning, all-lime-green performance from a tennis court in Compton, Calif., the hometown of Venus and Serena Williams. Whatever her next move, it's sure to be received rapturously.
Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin got his start in the early 1980s in the long-running Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, joining the group as a young teen. His big break as a solo star came with his fourth studio album Vuelve (1998), and its English-language follow-up, Ricky Martin (1999), which featured the breakout hit single, "Livin' la Vida Loca."
Martin made his GRAMMY stage debut performing "La Copa De Vida" at the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999. That year, he took home Best Latin Pop Performance for "Vuelve"; Martin scored his second GRAMMY nearly 20 years later, winning Best Latin Pop Album for A Quien Quiera Escuchar in 2016. (He has also won four Latin GRAMMYs, in addition to being honored as Person Of The Year in 2006.)
After building a legacy as one of Latin pop's best-selling artists of the '90s, Martin continues to leave an impact. His 2020 EP, Pausa, landed in the top 10 of the Latin Pop Albums chart and earned him his eighth GRAMMY nomination in 2021. And although he's still releasing music today, Martin loves calling back to the good old days: he released two singles with 2000s Latin stars Reik, and teamed up with Enrique Iglesias for a co-headlining tour in 2021.
Just one month before the Beatles delivered what would be their final album, 1970's Let It Be, Paul McCartney unveiled McCartney, hinting that a solo career was on the horizon. Though McCartney II wouldn't come until a decade later (mostly because he spent the '70s fronting Wings), the road to 2020's McCartney III solidified the former fresh-faced Beatle as one of music's all-time greats.
While McCartney's solo career hasn't spawned quite as many iconic hits as the Beatles' catalog, his stacked list of accolades includes a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (both as a member of the Beatles and on his own), Kennedy Center Honors and a knighting by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to music. Along with his 18 GRAMMY wins, he was also honored with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. (And with 81 career nominations, McCartney is the second-most nominated artist of all time.)
He also remains a touring titan, currently selling out arenas and stadiums across the U.S. on his Got Back Tour. As he's done for years, McCartney ensures his set lists include numerous callbacks to his legendary band, such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Got to Get You Into My Life," "Hey Jude" and "Helter Skelter." This time around, he even features a "virtual duet" with John Lennon on "I've Got A Feeling," thanks to restored never-before-seen footage of the band's legendary 1969 rooftop concert from director Peter Jackson's 2021 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back.
After a stint on "The Mickey Mouse Club," Justin Timberlake emerged as a fresh-faced heartthrob in *NSYNC. Following a whirlwind five-year span of global success with the group, Timberlake put his frosted tips behind him and became a pop phenomenon of his own.
Launching into the limelight in 2002 with his debut solo album, Justified, Timberlake has landed 36 songs in the Billboard Top 100 to date, including five No. 1 hits. While Justified reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, Timberlake has since celebrated four No. 1 albums, including 2018's Man Of The Woods. Along the way, the singer scooped up 10 GRAMMYs and 31 nominations (he has 39 noms in total, thanks to the impressive eight he earned with *NSYNC).
In addition to collaborations with everyone from Madonna and Beyoncé to Jay Z and Chris Stapleton, Timberlake is also an accomplished actor, winning acclaim for his roles in The Social Network, Inside Llewyn Davis and last year's Palmer. While relatively low-key of late, Timberlake lent his unmistakable croon to "Parent Trap" for Jack Harlow's new album, Come Home the Kids Miss You. Any Timberlake fan knows that the multi-hyphenate is not one to stay under the radar for long.
Following what she has called a "super awkward" split from girl group Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello has confidently scaled new heights as a solo artist. The true making of Camila Cabello as a solo star came in 2017 with "Havana," the Young Thug-featuring Latin pop sensation that topped the Billboard Hot 100 and has since climbed to over one billion views on YouTube. The song earned Cabello a nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance in 2019, with her debut solo album, Camila, also earning a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album that year.
Cabello went to No. 1 again in 2019 with "Señorita," a steamy collaboration with Shawn Mendes that earned her a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. (The sultry track doubled the streaming success of "Havana" on Spotify, surpassing 2 billion streams in November 2021.)
In April, Cabello released her third solo studio album, Familia, which explores her musical heritage through the lens of Latin pop. As she continues to honor her Latin roots, Cabello seemingly has her eye on the movie and film world as well, making her acting debut in the 2021 Amazon Prime remake of Cinderella.
Before Pharrell Williams was the smooth superproducer we know today, he was the livewire frontman of funk-rock-rap group N.E.R.D. But it didn't take long for Williams to prove himself as a star on his own: As N.E.R.D. continued to release music, Williams teased a solo career with features on tracks with Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg before emerging with his debut solo single — the top-five hit "Frontin'" (another Jay-Z team-up) — in 2003.
Ten years later, Williams had arguably the biggest year of his career in 2013 thanks to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and his own smash, "Happy." All three earned Williams GRAMMY nominations, winning Record of the Year and Won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Get Lucky" and Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video for "Happy." (To date, Pharrell has won 13 GRAMMYs and earned 38 nominations overall.)
In the nearly 10 years since, Williams has continued his balancing act of in-demand producer and solo artist, even reuniting with N.E.R.D. in 2017 for No One Ever Really Dies. Williams recently served as both featured artist and producer on Jack Harlow's Come Home the Kids Miss You and Pusha T's It's Almost Dry (on which he co-wrote and produced seven of the 12 tracks).
Almost a decade after the Jonas Brothers parted ways in 2013 (though not forever, as it turned out), Nick Jonas continues to write his own story. His breakout song as a solo artist — 2014's "Jealous," which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 — set the stage for his self-titled album that also saw hits in "Chains" and deluxe track "Levels." (All three singles went to No. 1 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.)
Jonas continued to hone his signature pop-meets-R&B sound on 2016's Last Year Was Complicated, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and delivered the catchy Tove Lo collab "Close." As he continued his solo music, Jonas also expanded his acting resume, earning a starring role in the drama series Kingdom and guest starring on the satirical slasher show Scream Queens.
Reuniting with his brothers for a chart-topping comeback in 2019, Jonas served as a coach on "The Voice" in 2020 and returned in 2021. Amid the revamped Jonas Brother mania, Jonas released his third solo LP, Spaceman, in 2021, teaming up with his bros for the deluxe cut "Selfish."
Next, the Jonas Brothers will launch a five-date Vegas residency in June. (Joe Jonas is also making a comeback this year with his dance-rock project DNCE.)
Since beginning her career as the lead singer of the Supremes, Diana Ross has become one of the most celebrated solo artists still working today. Building on the myriad hits she released throughout the 1970s on Motown Records, Ross entered a new era with Diana in 1980, the best-selling album of her career with the timeless classics "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out."
The '80s saw another string of hits for Ross, including her classic 1981 duet with Lionel Richie, "Endless Love." While her releases became more sporadic at the turn of the 21st century, Ross' genre-spanning accomplishments earned her the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Still going strong in the seventh decade of her career, Ross released her 25th album, Thank You, in 2021. Her first release in 15 years was produced by current pop chart whisperer Jack Antonoff and ushered in a new phase for the living legend.
This year, she collaborated with psych-rockers Tame Impala on "Turn Up The Sunshine" for the new Minions soundtrack and will play the "Legend" slot at the UK's renowned Glastonbury Festival in June.
As No Doubt hit their commercial peak in the early 2000s, Gwen Stefani officially broke off with 2004's "What You Waiting For." For three years straight, Stefani served up several smashes including the Fiddler-on-the-Roof-sampling "Rich Girl," the Akon-featuring "Sweet Escape" and the Billboard Hot 100-topping anthem "Hollaback Girl."
Following a string of No Doubt reunion shows in 2015, Stefani released This Is What the Truth Feels Like in 2016, marking her first solo album in 10 years and her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Four years later, her headline-making romance with fellow "The Voice" coach (and her now husband) Blake Shelton resulted in two Country Airplay No. 1s in 2020 with "Nobody But You" and "Happy Anywhere."
In January 2021, Gwen Stefani shared the music video for her don't-call-it-a-comeback single, "Let Me Reintroduce Myself." The song's bright, reggae-tinged feel is matched by its video, which sees Stefani revisiting looks from both her No Doubt days and her solo times with the Harajuku Girls.
Stefani continues to inspire the next generation, too. Olivia Rodrigo has cited Stefani as one of her biggest inspirations, telling TIME that Stefani is the artist she'd most like to write a song with. Stefani's response? "I'd be honored."
Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images
Luis Fonsi To Maluma: Who Will Win Record Of The Year Latin GRAMMY?
Cast your vote. Who will voters choose for Record Of The Year at the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards?
Including the likes of Shakira and Carlos Vives to Natalia Lafourcade, Marc Anthony, Jesse & Joy, and Alejandro Sanz, the previous Latin GRAMMY winners for Record Of The Year reads like a who's who of Latin music. This year's nominees are no different.
With Rubén Blades' sensual "La Flor De La Canela," Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee's song of the summer "Despacito," Residente's impactful "Guerra," Ricky Martin with Maluma's Vente Pa' Ca," and Jorge Drexler's "El Surco," among others, this year's class of 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards nominees for Record Of The Year is loaded.
Which song do you think will take home the Latin GRAMMY for Record Of The Year? Cast your vote below.
Photo: Daniel C. Sims/Getty Images
Solange To Play Benefit Show For Hurricane Harvey Relief
GRAMMY winner adds her name to the list of artists who are helping to raise millions in relief efforts for victims
GRAMMY winner Solange has announced she will be performing a benefit show to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The performance, called Orion's Rise, will be held at Boston's Orpheum Theatre on Sept. 8.
"I'm committed to partnering with organizations on the ground in Houston and making contributions to uplift the city that raised me with so much love," said Solange, a Houston native.
This announcement comes on the heels of other artists pledging their support, including Solange's sister, Beyoncé. But they are certainly not the only ones.
Comedian Kevin Hart pledged $50,000 to relief efforts, and the fund he organized has earned nearly $2 million in additional financial support, with contributions from artists such as the Chainsmokers. All funds will go to the American Red Cross.
The Kardashians and Jenners, Nicki Minaj, and DJ Khaled have also announced they will make donations. Jennifer Lopez and her partner Alex Rodriguez joined in the fundraising efforts, pledging $25,000 each to the Red Cross.
In addition, GRAMMY winner Jack Antonoff is matching donations up to $10,000 for the Montrose Center in Houston, an LGBT community center. Chris Brown will donate $100,000 directly to "the people," and T.I. will donate $25,000 to relief efforts.
Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images
Paul McCartney At Frank Erwin Center
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Lynne Margolis
Though Paul McCartney may be 70 in chronological years, we need a new unit of measurement to describe the McCartneys, Mick Jaggers, John Fogertys, and Bruce Springsteens of the world. We should call it rock and roll years, because rock is certainly what's keeping these GRAMMY winners (and women such as Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson) vital and exciting to watch well into their so-called "golden years."
On May 22 at Austin's Frank Erwin Center, McCartney reaffirmed this truth: Rock and roll keeps you young. In two hours and 45 minutes, he and his band delivered 36 hits and favorites from his Beatles, Wings and solo eras (38 if we count the Abbey Road medley of "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End"; he also slipped in a bit of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady."
With his usual good humor, McCartney told stories, dropped a few clever punch lines and even gave the occasional hip shake and soft-shoe shuffle — though he wore Cuban-heeled Beatle boots below his black jeans and cropped pink jacket. When he removed the jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, he joked, "That's the big wardrobe change of the evening."
But the sold-out audience of more than 12,000 didn't come to see fancy outfits and elaborate sets; they came to hear the biggest living icon in pop music history, and perhaps revisit fond moments of their own histories through the musical touchstones he created. The savvy McCartney, in his first-ever performance in Austin, didn't disappoint.
For the most part, he faithfully reproduced beloved versions of hits such as "Eight Days A Week," "Paperback Writer," "Lady Madonna," "Another Day," "Band On The Run," and "Live And Let Die," which brought one big special effects moment during the show — jets of fire and showers of sparks so intense the heat could be felt 15 rows back on the floor.
Nostalgic Beatles montages, artful geometrics and audience shots popped up on massive screens behind him as he switched between various guitars, his Hofner bass and two pianos. He performed several Beatles songs he'd never done live, including "All Together Now," "Lovely Rita," "Your Mother Should Know," and "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!"
Only "My Valentine" was performed from his 2012 GRAMMY-winning album Kisses On The Bottom. But with a catalog that includes some of the most beautiful songs ever written, he knew what mattered: gems such as "And I Love Her," "Blackbird," "All My Loving," and "Maybe I'm Amazed," the latter written for his late wife, Linda. Flubbing the opening, McCartney joked, "It proves we're live!"
Perhaps the most touching moments were his homages to fellow Beatles — the ukulele-plucked "Something" (written by George Harrison) and a song he wrote for John Lennon, "Here Today." Noting he wished he had conveyed its sentiment to Lennon before it was too late, he added afterward, "The next time you want to say something to someone, just say it." He was answered by a shout of, "I love you, Paul!"
Even if he'd only performed the songs delivered in his second encore — a still-astonishingly beautiful "Yesterday," a rocking "Helter Skelter" and the timeless Abbey Road medley — he still would have earned that love.
To catch Paul McCartney in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Eight Days A Week"
"All My Loving"
"Listen To What The Man Said"
"Let Me Roll It"/"Foxy Lady" (Jimi Hendrix cover)
"Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five"
"The Long And Winding Road"
"Maybe I'm Amazed"
"I've Just Seen A Face"
"We Can Work It Out"
"And I Love Her"
"Your Mother Should Know"
"All Together Now"
"Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!"
"Band On The Run"
"Back In The U.S.S.R."
"Let It Be"
"Live And Let Die"
"Hi, Hi, Hi"
"Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End"
(Austin-based journalist Lynne Margolis currently contributes to American Songwriter, NPR-affiliate KUTX-FM's "Texas Music Matters," regional and local magazines, including Lone Star Music and Austin Monthly, and newspapers nationwide. She has previously contributed to the Christian Science Monitor (for which she was the "go-to" writer for Beatles stories), Rollingstone.com and Paste magazine. A contributing editor to the encyclopedia, The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen From A To E To Z, she also writes bios for new and established artists.)
"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales
"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales
The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards drove a 3.3 percent increase in album sales compared to last week, according to a Billboard report. The 2010 GRAMMY Nominees album jumped to No. 5 with sales of 71,000 units, a 55 percent increase. Top GRAMMY winner Beyoncé's I Am…Sasha Fierce rose to No. 14 with sales of 32,000 copies, a 101 percent increase. Other GRAMMY performers experiencing sales increases include Pink (up 234 percent), Dave Matthews Band (up 114 percent), the Zac Brown Band (up 82 percent), the Black Eyed Peas (up 76 percent), Taylor Swift (up 58 percent), and Lady Gaga (up 17 percent). Lady Antebellum, who also performed on the telecast, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week. (2/10)
Grainge Promoted To UMG CEO
Universal Music Group International Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been promoted to CEO of Universal Music Group, effective Jan. 1, 2011. He will succeed Doug Morris and report to Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman of the management board of Vivendi. Grainge will relocate from London to New York to serve as co-CEO of UMG in tandem with Morris for six months starting July 1. Morris, who has served as UMG chairman and CEO since 1995, will remain as company chairman. (2/10)