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10 Solo Stars Who Left Famous Bands And Conquered The World

Published 1 year ago on November 16, 2018
By Hugo

There comes a time in everybody's life when they must fly the nest. For most people, this cliched metaphor often means relying less on the Bank of Mum and Dad and setting up home in another part of town. For people lucky enough to be part of an all-conquering band, however, the dilemma is one of a slightly different kind. 

Indeed, as these 10 stars demonstrated, choosing to leave groups already selling millions of albums was certainly a risk, but in their case, it paid off big time. 

Here, we profile 10 of music's biggest solo stars who were once members of successful ensembles.

1. Beyonce

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As one-third of the global chart-topping girl band Destiny's Child, Beyonce was the band's star and quickly caught the attention of other record labels keen to take advantage of her pre-existing fame. And that's exactly what happened when her first single, a collaboration with her future husband Jay-z called 03 Bonnie & Clyde hit number four on the Billboard 200. 

Ever since Knowle's success, the three-piece R & B group have remained inactive. The other members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, achieved moderate success as solo artists, though their sales have long been dwarfed by the musical juggernaut, who has since gone on to sell an astonishing 17.2m solo albums.

2. Zayn Malik

Performing for a boyband that, as he would later confess, was music he would not personally listen to meant that Zayn Malik was part of an experience he probably wished he wasn't part of, regardless of the worldwide success the British boyband achieved.

In fact, in little over five years, a five-piece band would go onto to become one of Britain's most successful musical exports, with all four of the albums Zayn was involved in debuting at number one on the Billboard 200. But Zayn, as he has made clear in recent interviews, had had enough and by his fifth year decided to become "a normal 21-year-old." Only, he wasn't ever going to be a 'normal' 21-year-old, and after working with Frank Ocean's producer Malay, Zayn released his debut single 'Pillowtalk exactly a year after his departure from the band.'  

The single debuted at number one on the Hot 100, a feat no One Direction track has managed.

3. Justin Timberlake 

Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

Before Justin Timberlake became the smooth crooner we know him as today, JT got his big break in the 90's boy band *NSYNC.  Sporting doggy hair and sunglasses that made him look like an extra from a San Fernando porno flick, Justin soon became the face of the band, and it wasn't long before females the world over were wishing he go solo.

So he did, and despite leaving a band that racked up sales of over 50m albums worldwide, Justin's career soon became a league of its own.

His debut album Justified, for instance, notched up sales of well over 10m copies and over the 14-year course of his single career, the Memphis native has achieved solo album sales of almost 30m.

4. Fergie

The self-proclaimed 'Fergalicious'' starlet has forged a successful career as a solo artist following a career which saw her initially start out in the girl band Wild Orchid.  While achieving moderate success, the star would have to overcome a spiralling crack addiction before she would team up with a group that later became known as The Black Eyed Peas. 

Achieving global fame with the group, the star followed the band's success with a successful solo career when she released her first solo album, The Dutchess, featuring the smash hits 'London Bridge' and 'Glamorous'. 

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