These days, the music game moves faster than ever before. The advances in technology and the proliferation of online music blog sites and digital distribution platforms make it so easy for artists to get their music to the masses. The end result of this is that the music industry is more cluttered than it's ever been. There is still a lot of great music being put out, but real music lovers have to wade through a lot of sub par material to get to the really quality stuff. Nowadays, it's even tough for established artists to release music and be assured of scoring hits. They have to compete just like anyone else for radio time and the highly coveted attention (and dollars) of distracted music listeners. In the following article, we dissect 10 major artists who have already proved themselves as talented hitmakers in the past. But the stakes are still high for them. In order for them to prove themselves in this brave new world, they really need to have some solid hit songs in 2015. See the list below:
10 Lady Gaga
Either way you look at it, Lady Gaga is one of the biggest global stars around. She is larger than life and wherever she goes, her fans are always so excited to see her and watch her perform. However, it has to be said that her last solo album ArtPop was grossly mismanaged and it didn’t do as well as expected. It was released in 2013 and sold about 2 million copies. The last album she released before that was Born This Way and that one sold over 6 million records worldwide. So just by looking at her album sales, it seems like her popularity is decreasing at a really rapid rate. She needs a big hit in 2015 to prove to everyone that she still has the influence and selling power she once has.
There’s no doubt about it, Ludacris is one of the most successful rappers to ever reign in the realm of mainstream Hip-Hop. He’s had tons of mainstream hits and he has also been able to make the successful transition to Hollywood with films like Crash and The Fast and The Furious. However on the music side, he really hasn’t put out an album since 2010. That album was called Battle of the Sexes. It did well, but the music world moves so fast that if you’re absent from the scene for an extended period, the masses might just forget you. So 2015 is definitely high time for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges to get back in the game in a big way – and he definitely needs a big hit to shake up the charts yet again.
One of the funniest comments that emerged from the Solange and Jay-Z elevator fight this year was as follows: The rapid kicks that Solange landed on Jay-Z were some of the biggest hits that she’s had in years. It must be difficult to be the younger sister of a global star like Beyoncé. But she did choose to be a musician too, and part of being an artist is making successful records. Solange certainly has her own indie core following, but she has to put out some new music in 2015 to have everyone forget her negativity of 2014. It’s time for music lovers to focus on Solange’s talent again – enough with all the pointless negativity.
7 Justin Bieber
It really feels that the last two years for Justin Bieber have been a little out of control for the young pop star. He’s been caught in brothels, arrested, accused of living a hedonistic lifestyle with a lot of pill-popping and weed smoking. Then there are also the numerous hook-ups with all kinds of random names including Adriana Lima and Hailey Baldwin. It just seems the focus has been on everything except the music. His last album was in 2012, and it’s time for Justin Bieber to put an album that brings his talent to the forefront yet again.
This year Kesha was in the news a lot but it wasn’t for her music. Rather it was for the alleged sordid affair and physical abuse she was being subjected to by her longtime hit-making producer Dr. Luke. The case broke the headlines in 2014 and she claimed that he had forced her to snort drugs, drink alcohol and even forced himself on her sexually. The case is still pending and since Dr. Luke was the man behind the boards creating all her chart-topping hits, it will be interesting to see if she can get her musical career back in order in 2015. What she needs is a string of big hits to take the attention away from all the negative drama.
5 Kelly Rowland
In the group Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé is definitely the queen and empress of the popular trio. The next in the pecking order would be the pretty Kelly Rowland and then the last but not the least would be Michelle Williams. Lately Williams has veered more into the gospel lane, and Kelly Rowland has been the one consistently putting out secular music to try to keep up with Queen Bey. Kelly’s last album was released in 2013 and it barely sold 200K units. She took the year off in 2014 to have a baby, so she’s probably plotting a return in 2015 to rejuvenate her career. It’s a cluttered music scene, but she’s a talented singer. We think she definitely has it in her.
4 Mariah Carey
2014 has definitely been one of the most trying years of Mariah Carey’s career. This year the 44-yr-old diva released her latest album The Elusive Chanteuse and it was a major flop. To date, it hasn’t even sold 100K copies. The fallout was so bad that she even fired her longtime manager Jermaine Dupri. She apparently sought the help of her old friend Kevin Liles who was the president of Def Jam when she released her Emancipation of Mimi album that sold 12 million copies. To erase the bad taste of this massive flop, she needs to enter the music pantheon as soon as possible and make some really solid hits for her fans. We all fall down every now and then in life, it’s all about how strong you come back and fight again.
3 Christina Aguilera
For the last few years, Aguilera’s popularity has stemmed mostly from her judging duties on the popular reality show The Voice. But when you compare her to the other judges, she is perhaps the only one who hasn’t been actively putting out new music. Usher, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell have all remained very busy with new music releases. The last album Christina released was in 2012, so it’s about time she got back into the music arena to prove she can still make a hit.
2 Lil Kim
This year has been a trying one for Lil’ Kim. Apart from her ongoing beef with Nicki Minaj, she added a new beef to her plate with her very public disagreement with upcoming R&B singer K. Michelle. Reports also came out at the end of the year that she still owes the IRS over $126K in back taxes since 2010. With all the negative static going on in her life, she really needs to just lock herself in the studio and create some new hits that bring her back to the limelight again. It might be tough for her to ever gain the popularity she once has – especially with stars like Iggy and Nicki on the scene. But hey, anything is possible.
1 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
In 2013, there was no group bigger in Hip-Hop that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Their album The Heist featured a whole bunch of hit songs including “Same Love”, “Thrift Shop”, and “Can’t Hold Us.” To date that stellar album has sold almost 1.5 million copies and they even won the award for best new artist and best rap album at the 2014 Grammy’s. But that was then and this is now. A year has gone by and everyone is looking to see what they will do next. Do they have the magic dust and talent to create a new musical masterpiece in 2015? Sometimes a breakthrough album can be a huge pressure builder – it will be interesting to see if these guys have the ability to create more hits for their catalog.