Top 10 Musicians Who Flew Solo


They say there’s safety in numbers, but that isn’t necessarily true in the music industry.

Most recently, Zayn Malik left One Direction to pursue his solo career, but fear not, because some of the greatest musicians got their start in a band or group before they went solo. Here’s a few of them!

1. Beyonce
Before Beyonce was crowned queen of the universe, she was in Destiny’s Child. While the girl group quickly found success when they first formed in 1990, Bey parted ways with the group in 2006 and was launched into super stardom with her debut solo album Dangerously In Love, which was released in 2003. The first single released from her album was Crazy In Love featuring Jay-Z

2. Gwen Stefani
Ska-rock band No Doubt was formed in 1986, but didn’t find mainstream success until 1995’s Tragic Kingdom. In 2003, the band took a hiatus while singer Gwen Stefani started working on her solo music, which would lead to the release of her debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in 2004. Since her massive success as a solo artist, she reunited with No Doubt in 2008 a world tour and a new album. Gwen has proved that she is able to juggle both a successful band AND a successful solo career with ease, as she toured with No Doubt in 2015 while working on her third solo album. Go Gwen!

3. Dallas Green
Dallas Green got his start in post-hardcore band Alexisonfire where he played guitar and sang. Dallas was a unique person in the scene at the time, because he melodically sang alongside the screamo vocals of George Pettit. Surprisingly, the two polar-opposite vocal types worked so well together that they caught the attention of both hardcore and acoustic fans. After the band found mainstream success with their self-titled debut album Alexisonfire in 2001 and their follow-up Watch Out! in 2004, Dallas decided to pursue his solo career as City And Colour, as an acoustic act in his spare time. The reaction from fans was so positive that he ended up releasing his debut solo album Sometimes… in 2005. Despite massive success from both bands, Dallas was able to juggle both priorities until 2011, when Alexisonfire announced their breakup so he was able to focus solely on City And Colour.

4. Justin Timberlake
Probably one of the most notable boyband-ers from the ’90s, Justin Timberlake got his start in this little band called NSYNC. The group formed in 1995 and soon after, captured the hearts of girls everywhere. After releasing three albums, the band went into hiatus in 2002, just a year after releasing their third album Celebrity. Justin wanted to focus on his solo career and went on to release her debut album Justified in later on that year. The album was just the beginning of JT’s long and highly successful career.

5. Jack Antonoff
Jack Antonoff is the mastermind behind Bleachers, an ’80s inspired indie-pop band but before Bleachers, there was Fun. Fun. is an indie-rock band fronted by Nate Ruess, with Jack on guitar and Andrew Dost on drums. The trio released their first album Aim and Ignite in 2009, which was followed by the critically-acclaimed Some Nights in 2012. With massive hits like We Are Young featuring Janelle Monae and Some Nights, the band went on hiatus so they could pursue other projects, which is where Bleachers was formed. Bleachers’ first single I Want to Get Better was the first single released from his debut album Strange Desire in 2014.

6. Fergie
Everyone who is a fan of Fergie has absolutely no issues spelling her name thanks to her start in hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas. Although the group formed in 1992, Fergie didn’t join until 2002. BEP didn’t find mainstream success until the release of their third album Elephunk in 2003, which featured the song Where is The Love?. The group continued their onward climb with the release of Monkey Business in 2005. Just a year later, Fergie released her debut solo album The Dutchess, which had five consecutive hits on it, including Fergalicious. 

7. Patrick Stump
You may recognize Patrick Stump’s voice from the emo-rock band Fall Out Boy. The band announced they would be going on hiatus in 2009 so members could focus on other projects. Soul Punk, Stump’s debut solo album, was a result of the hiatus. Released in 2012, it has the perfect name because it describes the unique genre of Patrick’s solo music—a little bit of soul, and the rebellious edge of punk. Soul Punk received mixed reviews and the harsh criticism led to Patrick’s decision to stop touring for it. In 2013, Fall Out Boy announced the end of their hiatus and have spent years since releasing album after album and touring with acts such as Panic! At The Disco, Paramore and Wiz Khalifa.

8. Nick Jonas
Like many others, the Jonas Brothers found their fame through Disney. What was initially supposed to be a solo act for just Nick Jonas, the youngest of the group, resulted in a group with his two older brothers Joe and Kevin. Two movies and a TV series later, the Jonas Brothers had become a household name. In 2013, the group went their separate ways, citing “creative differences.” Even with the Jonas Brothers behind him, he wasn’t a stranger to the solo scene. In 2010, Nick released his first solo album with Nick Jonas & the Administration in 2010 and then came out with his self-titled solo album in 2014, which featured hits like Levels, Jealous and Chains.

9. Jack White
The White Stripes were an incredibly unique band and even though they’ve been broken up since 2011, they still live on through Jack White. Jack is known for his prominence all throughout the music scene. Whether it’s the White Stripes, The Dead Weather or The Raconteurs, Jack knows how to make great music, which is why it’s no surprise he branched out to produce his own solo album. Blunderbuss, his debut solo album, was released in 2012. Two years later in 2014 he released his second album Lazaretto.

10. Zayn Malik
Okay, Zayndoesn’t actually have any solo songs out as of yet, but that will all change come January 29 with the release of his first single Pillow Talk. With the MASSIVE success and following he had with One Direction, it’s very safe to assume that big things are on the horizon of his solo career. Zayn left the group last year because he wanted more room creatively experiment with music. The band later announced that they would be going on hiatus this year. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what Zayn’s solo career has in store for 2016!