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Pop has been the playground for female artists for quite some time now, and it’s easier to think about big popular female pop stars these days than men, however, there is no shortage of guys’ success on the billboard and overall plays on streaming platforms.
But even before streaming platforms, there have been a lot of incredible male pop artists that have changed the industry as we know it, so in order to get a grip on the pop industry on the male side of things, let’s take a look at some of the most popular names of this generation as well as the previous.
It’s very easy to think of Michael Jackson when you think about pop music, there is almost no one who doesn’t know who he is, and drama and personal life aside, he managed to make a big impact on the world through his music.
One of the things that we will see throughout this list is that sometimes it helps a lot when you have it all, singing chops, dancing skills, performing, and everything in between, this makes an artist so much brighter. Michael had all of these things, with a natural talent as well as a focus on achieving greater things with each album.
The music of Ed Sheeran hits all the right notes pop needs, it’s simple, very catchy and it has great vocals, but the most important thing is that he was able to connect with audiences of all ages through his lyrics and natural composer skills.
He started playing guitar when he was 11 and took on the life of a traveling musician just doing what he loves at a very young age.
Eventually, he found his way to London, by 2009 he already had two EPs and one LP, while also having a busy life of hundreds of small shows, but in 2010 was when he really started to become popular.
After being discovered by a rapper online, he went on the road with him to open for him, this got him a wider fan base and led him to the US where he got to meet one of his fans, Jamie Foxx. This was a great moment for him and the end of his independent career, taking him to record his first major studio album “+” in September 2011, which sold over a million copies in the UK in just half a year.
Now he is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, having collaborated with many artists in the industry and making hit after hit, and he doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon as he confirmed that he is working on a new album for 2023.
Pop is always changing throughout the years, and while Elton John was a rockstar, before the 90s this was also synonymous with being a pop star a lot of the time.
Along with Bernie Tauping, they managed to write incredible songs since 1967 and released more than 30 records, selling millions of them across the decades, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
He has been playing piano since he was very young, but not only was he able to play, he was able to get a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, and this has stayed with him throughout his career. A lot of artists have their first musical experience with an instrument at a young age but then try out new things, and while Elton John is no stranger to other instruments, the first image that comes to mind when you think about him is sitting down playing the piano and singing, because that is where the magic happens.
Ever since his 1969 debut album, Empty Sky, he has been able to land Broadway musicals, films such as “The Lion King”, collaborations with the Beatles, Madonna, and a life full of gigs and music success.
If you were born in the mid to late 90s you probably remember Justin Bieber’s first hit song “Baby”, because everyone at school knew about this, whether you liked it or not.
He became the biggest pop star in such a short amount of time which was supported by the fact that the internet was also becoming a very big thing.
Pop is no stranger to having young artists blow up, and Justin Bieber was no exception, however, this is not as good as it sounds at first glance. According to Bieber his experience was not that good being that young in the music industry.
I went from a 13-year-old boy from a small town to being praised left and right by the world, with millions saying how much they loved me and how great I was,” he said. “You hear these things enough as a young boy and you actually start believing it.
This can cause a lot of trouble and make a person focus on the wrong things despite his commercial and financial success as an artist.
I became resentful… and angry,” he wrote. “I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind, a shell of a person that I had become. I felt like I could never turn it around.
Fortunately, he was able to find comfort in the love and focus more on his health, but despite all these issues, there is no doubt he has incredible talent, and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in the future as his own man.
He is the king of rock & roll, but that also means that his popularity was off the charts, and while the Beatles eventually got bigger and more popular, Elvis was the first to make fans scream and lose their minds over a rockstar that not only knew how to sing but play, dance and do it in way that defied most genres in the music industry.
With the rock and roll fire similar to Chuck Berry and the elegance of Frank Sinatra, Elvis was a very unique artist that changed the industry in many ways.
A lot of what makes a pop star goes beyond just the music and looks, it’s also about stage presence and altered ego that the artist manages to create which gives birth to a star. Imagine everything about Elvis but picture him in a gig sitting down, playing while he sees his hands to make sure he doesn’t make a mistake, finishes his set stands up, and goes home, it doesn’t sound very “King of Rock” right?
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd is without a doubt one of the most successful musicians in the world, both critically acclaimed and with four Grammys, six American Music Awards, and more.
He started his musical career at 19 years old with his first album “Kiss Land”, and that was the beginning of many successes with his very unique voice, and the match made in heaven with artists like Daft Punk and Gesaffelstein.
His climb to success reached a peak with “Starboy”, his third album since then a lot of people even call him the new “king of pop”, so yeah, he must be good.
As we have stated before, being a pop star or even a rock star is not just about music, and while Bowie’s music is certainly amazing and at many times industry-changing, David Bowie’s true impact on pop culture and music as a whole was due to the whole package that he offered as an artist.
Bowie had to alter egos, flashy colorful costumes, crazy stage antics, and everything you can think of between controversial and elegant, Bowie took theater and music to the next level making both one and the same throughout his career and the many genres he explored.
It’s not hard to find hits with Bowier, “Starman”, “Heroes”, and “Let’s Dance”, all of which are easily pop to this point, and has had a major influence on a lot of big singers today.
He is one of the pillars of modern music and culture, and even at the end of his life, he managed to bring us something that could only be described as “not from this world” with his last album “Blackstar”, which is hardly pop, but then again, you never know when the Pop craze will appear.
If you want to know more about Bowie’s life as an artist, check out 2022’s “Moonage Daydream”
Drake is without a doubt one of the most popular singers and rappers today, and a lot of that popularity is due to his versatility and variety, he always manages to bring something new to the table and still keeps things interesting and catchy.
Aside from that, he has a good team behind him due to the record label and producers that propel him forward as well as some of the best ways to make something more marketable, memes.
Yeah, we all know the memes, and while it’s a good laugh it also helps him be more likable and people curious about his new music, so while he is not really the best rapper or the best singer, he has the drive, creativity, and connections to be on this list.
He was popular in the 40s and 50s and he is popular, now, with so many movies, TV shows, and commercials featuring his music, there is no denying he had a magic touch that while it retains a lot of the identity from its time, it manages to be timeless.
Bruno Mars comes from a family of musicians, his father was a Latin percussionist and his mother was a vocalist and hula dancer, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when he took an interest in music, and at a very young age was able to make great impersonations of Elvis Presley as well as Michael Jackson.
After graduating from school, he went to Los Angeles and pursued a career as a musician, and successfully surprised the world with his first album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans”, which was a big success.
The thing about Bruno Mars is that he really puts in the work with the instrumental part of his music, with really good R&B, funk, and other genres that make everything feel very real and less “produced”.
This combined with his amazing singing and dancing is just the recipe for a pop star.
There was a bit of a rivalry between Michael Jackson and Prince, but at the end of the day they were different artists with different music genres
Prince was not only a great performer but also a great producer, so the 80s had his name in a lot of things, but what really made him one of the biggest stars in the music industry and the mainstream was his 1984 album, “Purple Rain”.
He also had a very interesting persona, exploring controversial sexuality topics, and was a bit more of a misfit than Michael Jackson, with more rock and blues, but the same amount of flair.
Latin music has been growing a lot in popularity for the past 20 years, but now, it has reached a stage where a lot of new releases from reggaeton artists are hits worldwide, Bad Bunny is among those popular artists that break the mold and always maintains a strong connection with his audience across the years.
He is still a very young artist, at only 28 years old, and with a level of success that can be found in dreams, so are eager to see what he has in store for the world as reggaeton and trap evolve in the mainstream.
It takes a lot of effort to distance yourself from a team (One Direction) that made you popular in the first place and makes a name for yourself, but Harry Styles managed to do it.
Harry Styles was born in Cheshire, England and he got into music while still at a very young age and started singing in the band White Eskimo in 2010.
This was only the beginning of something bigger which in many ways was possible thanks to the encouragement he received from his mother to audition for The X Factor, which to be honest, doesn’t work very well for young artists most of the time.
Thankfully, after failing to advance he was called to participate in a group show with Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne and it was a match made in heaven.
The group took off like a rocket and became the most popular boy band in the world, until their hiatus after Zayn Malik decided to leave the band.
This led Harry Styles on his solo path and released “Sign of the Times” which had pop, and classic rock undertones in the best way possible, and was quite successful, reaching No. 1 in the UK, followed by 2019’s “Fine Line” getting to the top once again with hits like “Watermelon Sugar” and “Adore You”, and a third hit with 2022’s album “Harry’s House”.
Ray Charles is a very important figure in mainstream music, not only did he contribute to music by being one of the first black artists to get full artistic control given to him by a mainstream record company, but was also able to make a perfect mix of country, blues, and pop paving the way for many artists that came after him.
He was also able to get more than 80 hits on the charts including his biggest one, “I’ve Got A Woman”, clocking in at a simple 2:50 minutes perfect for radio and easy listening.
He is easily one of the top 10 artists for this generation, especially after a good amount of young fans of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse spotted his song “Sunflower”, a collab with Swae Lee.
He mainly does hip-hop, but his grunge, metal, rock, and pop influences give him a special type of sound in the mainstream industry.
2015s White Iverson was his golden breakout song, a trap, hip hop song with a heartwarming vibe to it along, after that he is still doing magic after falling in love with hip hop by experimenting on FL Studio.
At less than 18 years old, Mendes’ popularity blew up with his single “Stitches”, getting number 1 in 2015.
He got into the industry at a very young age and experienced similar issues to Justin Bieber, however, he was already around the internet before getting success as a musician through Vine, which shut down in 2016.
He had talent and a fanbase, so he made the best out of Vine with great cover songs, until he eventually made “Illuminate”.
As a natural singer and an incredible composer, Sam Smith brought soul back into the fold with real romantic ideas expressed beautifully in a way that connected with a very big audience.
But the real highlight about Sam Smith is his voice because let’s be honest, it’s not easy having Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston as influences while also being compared to Frank Sinatra.
Ever since he teamed up with Disclosure on the track “Latch”, he has been able to touch many people’s hearts with his music.
This is another big Latin singer that has made a name for himself in the international mainstream with different genres and markets in mind which makes him one of the most unique in the pop industry.
The Colombian reggaeton superstar has been able to dominate charts, sell out arenas and make it to the front cover of magazines all over the world, and while reggaeton has seen international success before, he can be considered one of the first to really get the attention of people in every corner of the world with his Latin charm.
There are artists that are all about new things, and then there are those who seek to preserve music, bringing classics and more traditional sounds to a modern audience, Bublé is a lot of the time the second kind of artist.
He has been able to make young fans interested in classical by legends such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and more, with a good selection of original and cover tracks, Bublé is the kind of artist you want to listen to when you are feeling in love or you wanna feel the Christmas spirit!
Most people say Paul McCartney is the most popular member of The Beatles, and most of that is because of his solo career, which has been consistently successful across the decades, with great collaborations and top-tier composition.
Pop is always changing, and at the core, it will always be the most popular music in the industry, which will include great vocals, some dancing, and catchy melodies.
All of these artists have managed to get the attention of millions of people around the world with just their music, so it’s amazing to think about where will we go next in terms of pop, and music, where will we go next?
Whatever it may be, now you have a good idea of the male stars that took the spotlight over the last 80 years or so, including rock stars, DJs, rappers, and folk poets, so what will be pop next, maybe