Today, boy bands are almost as popular as they were in the 90’s. Girls just can’t seem to resist loving them. There’s just something special about a boy band.
But, what happens when a boy band member decides to go solo? That is the question surrounding Zayn Malik, former member of One Direction. Malik has just recently left One Direction and released “I Won’t Mind,” which is speculated to be part of his solo project.
Will Malik be as successful as Justin Timberlake, though? Timberlake was once a member of *NSYNC, but left it to become a solo artist just seven months after his departure from the band. *NSYNC was pretty successful, having sold over 50 million albums which made them the eighth-bestselling boy band in history. In addition to that, all of their albums have gone platinum in the United States.
Justin Timberlake has followed in *NSYNC’s footsteps in terms of success, but might just be doing it better. He has nine Grammy awards, seven American Music Awards, and 11 MTV Video Music Awards (including the Lifetime Achievement Video Vanguard Award) to his name as of this moment. Not only that, but every album of his has at least gone platinum.
Timberlake’s success began in 2002 with the release of his first solo album, Justified. His single “Like I Love You,” which placed at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and his album Justified, which placed at number two on the Billboard 200 in its first week of sales, were just the beginning of his success and our love for JT as a solo artist.
He continued to fuel our love and create his amazing success with his singles “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body” from Justified. In 2006, he released FutureSex/LoveSounds, giving us a little bit of a new sound. Once again, his album did tremendously well and produced many chart-topping singles including “SexyBack” and “My Love.”
After the success of his second album, Timberlake went on a musical hiatus from 2007 to 2012, where he focused on acting. His talent continued onto the big screen, but we were more than thrilled when he returned to music in 2013 with his album The 20/20 Experience. His two-part album ranked at the top of the charts again and the first part created the opportunity for him to work with Jay-Z in their Legends of the Summer tour. Fans were able to experience hearing the two perform their hit singles “Suit & Tie” and “Holy Grail” live.
Timberlake went from being a mere boyband member to the “President of Pop” in just a few years. Some would say he is the perfect example of how successful you can become after going solo.
Unfortunately, not every former boy band member gone solo shares the success of Justin Timberlake. Joe Jonas from the famous Jonas Brothers tried to go solo in 2011 with his single, “See No More” which ranked number 92 on the charts. His album, Fastlife, has only sold 45,000 copies. As a side note, his brother Nick Jonas is trying to go solo and, as of right now, he seems to be doing pretty well with his singles “Jealous” and “Chains.”
Another previous member of a boy band whose solo career didn’t quite kick off was Nick Carter. Former Backstreet Boys member released his album, Now or Never in 2002, which was certified gold, but his singles were never that successful. He seemed to do much better when the Backstreet Boys were together.
It seems as though going solo after being in a boy band is a complete gamble. Some people just seem to do better in a group than being solo while others can be extremely successful in both cases. It will be interesting to see where Zayn Malik’s career will go without One Direction. As of right now, it is too early to tell if his solo career will take off and be a success. Best of luck, Zayn!