In the music industry, new artists can emerge from anywhere with the right breakout single. This is probably quite frustrating for artists who’ve been in the business for a while sans mainstream success. Some however, do get there eventually and we’ve chosen to look at some stand-out acts who’ve gained popularity later into their careers – read on to see who made our list!
It’s probably not surprising to see Sia here, she was in the thumbnail after all. So when did Sia’s career begin you ask? All the way back in 1997! That’s right, her first album came out 17 years ago! However, whilst she found minor success with singles such as ‘Taken For Granted‘ and the tragic ‘Breathe Me‘, Sia mostly found herself working behind the scenes through song-writing. Notable mentions are Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds‘, David Guetta’s ‘Titanium‘ and Flo Rida’s ‘Wild Ones‘, the last two she acted as a vocalist for.
Then came Sia’s big moment with ‘Chandelier‘ in 2014. The song immediately stood out for its individuality, and for a chorus so jam-packed with emotion and rawness. Then the music video surfaced – also daring to be different with the help of Maddie Zeigler’s dark and hypnotising performance. The live rendition of ‘Chandelier‘ also had people talking, Sia facing away from the audience every time, a choice she has since continued with latest success ‘Elastic Heart‘ so that the music is considered paramount to every other aspect of her artistry.
Likewise to Sia, Robin Thicke entered the industry two decades ago, but worldwide prominence didn’t exactly come easy. His first ever album A Beautiful World came out in 2003, peaking at 152 on the US Billboard 200, not exactly every artist’s ambition. As time progressed – so did Thicke’s career, his next album The Evolution of Robin Thicke eventually attained platinum status in the US, peaking 147 places higher at 5 on the Billboard 200. The R’n’B singer’s problem was that he only found success in his homeland rather than making a global name for himself.
Of course everything changed with ‘Blurred Lines‘. The joint effort between Thicke, T.I and Pharrell Williams blew up instantly, not always in the best way though. On one hand, the song was commercially successful due its catchy subtle funk that had everyone jamming along. Yet, it also earned itself a reputation for its disparaging lyrical content towards females: “I Know You Want It” sings Robin, yet people didn’t exactly want it for long – last and awkward album Paula (a dedication to his estranged wife) sold a meagre 530 copies in its UK release.
The Black Eyed Peas
Considering how much they dominated the charts in the naughties, it’s weird to think that The Black Eyed Peas didn’t find success straight in their career. The group was founded in 1995 and comprised of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and often Kim Hill who acted as the background singer. Their debut music was critically acclaimed but looking at the limited amount of sales, the public tended to disagree.
It wasn’t until Fergie joined as a vocalist where The Black Eyed Peas really kicked off. Nicole Scherzinger was originally approached to join but as she was under a separate contract, she left room for Fergie to complete the four-piece. ‘Where Is The Love?‘ became the group’s first major hit in 2003, and from then on, it all came a bit easier. Notable tracks that later arrived were ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart‘, ‘My Humps‘ and ‘I Gotta Feeling‘. Though the group has been on hiatus since 2011, willi.am told Capitol Breakfast that the group is to reform later this year to mark their 20th anniversary.