Artists Who Escaped Their Drowning Pop Group & Made An A+ Solo Career

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Boy bands and girl groups were our JAM in the ’90s and early ’00s – and even rear their heads now with the likes of 5SOS and Little Mix (who – let’s be clear – we don’t necessarily care for, butttt we will acknowledge their existence for the sake of analysing long-standing music trends).

And as much as you can’t deny the power of a pop group (just speak to Simon Cowell who’s made millions off ’em), you also can’t deny that, sometimes, people are just better at life individually than collectively. Y’know, kind of like how some mates are better value without their toxic other half. 

While some’ve definitely failed (ahem Nick Carter and legit every Spice Girl member, we’re looking at you), here’s who’s broken out of the shackles of a boy/girl group and conquered the solo thang like a pro:


Photo: Vevo / YouTube.

This one’s the more dirrrty band split of the lot, thanks in no small part to Zayn Malik badmouthing his former One Direction bandmates including Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson for the sake of promoting his first solo album.

Rude or not, the guy managed to hit #1 within the first week of releasing his debut solo single, ‘Pillowtalk‘, and we can’t say the inclusion of top model/girlfrann Gigi Hadid hurt sales/views/listens either. The curiosity from 1D’ers was probably also a huge drawcard, so it will be interesting to see if the group’s token bad boy can keep up momentum. It’s worth mentioning that usually the fan fave does the solo thing first, AND WE ALL KNOW THAT’S HARRY.


Photo: Island Records.

After being part of UK boyband Take That from 1990-1995, Robbie Williams launched what would be a long and prosperous solo career with a cover of George Michael‘s ‘Freedom‘ in 1996.

An interesting way to kick things off, especially considering the original was about Michael’s departure from his former band Wham! in 1986. Lyrics include the nicest kinds of digs like, “But today the way I play the game has got to change and now I’m gonna get myself happy” and “There’s something deep inside of me/there’s someone I forgot to be“.

Take that
, Take That.

Since then he’s ripped up the charts and body parts (‘Rock DJ‘ anyone?) with tunes like ‘Angels‘, ‘Come Undone‘, ‘Feel‘ and so on. We guess you could say he’s a ‘Better Man‘ for having left the boyband dealio. Soz.

For the #TBT lols:


Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty.

Yeah, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams were integral parts to the success that was Destiny’s Child – along with the other clearly forgotten sass-kween members who came and went in the band’s time/prime – but Beyonce Knowles was always the clear ringleader. Reminder: her dad was manager.

And while it’s true that the band’s bangers like ‘Say My Name‘ and ‘Survivor‘ are still on the playlist’s high rotation – that’s not much of a comparison when Queen Bey now quite literally runs the world, 13 years on from her debut solo album.


Photo: RCA Records.

Justin Timberlake has reinvented his image so seamlessly since he said ‘Bye Bye Bye‘ to *NSync with his solo career in 2012 that we’ve almost completely forgotten about his famed noodle hair and double-denim fails. Since the decision to go solo, JT’s voice/moves/Britney memories have seen him nab countless Grammys, Emmys, AMAs, VMAs and so on that the move is now completely Justified (geddit?). If only the same thing could be said for fellow Syncer JC Chasez.

Really, it’s not so surprising that he’s been crowned the modern-day Prince of Pop and a music icon, considering he kicked things off with a banger and perf 7/11 product placement:


Photo: Epic Records.
The world-renowned King of Pop is also the King Of Breaking Out Of A Family/Boy Band And Dominating The Music Industry. People resonate more with the Michael Jackson brand more than they do Jackson 5, setting the benchmark for anyone wanting to embark on a solo career like he did back in 1971. Even after his tragic death in 2009, MJ remains a musical icon and figurehead. 

As these solo embarkers so brilliantly display, sometimes it pays off to get out of your comfort zone and try something new, like Schick Hydro has with its new & improved Men’s Razor (suss it HERE). 

CLEARLY the norm is worth deviating from, ’cause it can bring out a different side of yourself you never knew you had.

You do you.

Photo: Pedestrian.TV & Getty / Jeff Kravitz.