Film and television actors, stage performers, musicians, comedians; they all have one thing in common that many individuals lack comprehending. They work a lot longer than it appears. Many of these public celebrities appear to hit the big time out of nowhere. But many of them work for years perfecting their craft or finding the right roles or projects to showcase their talent, drive and passion so that they can build a career based on their desires.
Many of these famous folk go through rough patches, often times disappearing from the limelight. Some say that certain acts have an expiration date. And others, well, they may get lost along the way. We have seen a bulk of individuals not know how to manage their finances, how to deal with public scrutiny and tabloid fodder, get addicted to the lifestyle and its self-sabotaging perks, or even keep an interest in their original intention to be artists and creators.
However, many performers stick to their craft and surprise the masses when they keep lingering and coming back for more. Projecting who will make it the long haul is a fallacy, for many factors apply to justify the reasoning behind that. Yet here is a list of twenty artists across the genres of popular music today, who have proven with their staying power and social grasp that they are likely to still be around, in harmony with the universal laws, for the next twenty-five years or more.
20. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has sold over twenty million albums, and one hundred and forty million songs in the world since her 2008 debut. The Fame, with its extension, The Fame Monster, is one of the best-selling debut albums of the past decade. With three number-one albums, and songs, she has been cited for making dance/electronica music popular again.
But beyond her collaborations with Christina Aguilera, Tony Bennett and even RuPaul, Lady Gaga is known for her social and political sides. She has been a supporter of LGBTQ rights and recently released a song for an up-coming documentary, The Hunting Ground, which discusses rape in campuses.
Now, she is working on her next studio album, and about to appear in American Horror Story’s newest season.
19. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys has thus far sold over thirty-five million albums, and over thirty million singles. The biracial pianist from New York has released five studio albums, and has amassed five number-one albums in the US, including a version of MTV’s Unplugged. Since 2001, she has accumulated four number-one songs, won seventeen Billboard Awards, and fifteen Grammy Awards.
Outside of her support on telethons for national disasters around the world, she is a UNICEF ambassador. Keys also supports Keep a Child Alive and supported Half of The Sky, which discusses and raises awareness about prostitution, abuse and protection for female-bodied individuals around the world.
18. Frank Ocean
Twenty-seven year-old Frank Ocean is slated to release his awaited sophomore album in the next quarter, following the critical success of Channel Orange. The performer, who changed his name when he moved to Los Angeles from New Orleans to kick start his career, has written for other successful artists in the hip-hop and rhythmic and blues genres. He has collaborated in songs with artists like Beyonce, Jay Z, Kanye West, Tyler The Creator, amongst others. Since 2011, he has won two Grammy Awards and one Brit Award.
Adele came quietly in 2008 and successfully create a platform where she was able to build an astonishing career. After winning two Grammys, she took a long break before unleashing her sophomore album, 21. In the UK, the album is the best-selling album of the 2010s, the 21st century, and fourth of all time. The album, which sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, is the tenth best-selling in the US since Nielsen Soundscan in 1991, and third best-selling in Canada. “Rolling In The Deep”, “Someone Like You” and “Set Fire to the Rain” have become record breakers around the world.
With ten Grammy Awards under her belt, she has also won four Brit Awards, thirteen Billboard Awards, and a Golden Globe and Oscar for “Skyfall”, the theme to the James Bond film of the same name.
Throughout her career, she has supported the Keep a Child Alive and Save The Music Foundation.
16. Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz is quietly and effectively one of the most charitable musicians in pop music today. The vegan singer-songwriter has supported the Human Rights Campaign, Harvey Milk Foundation, Free the Slaves, and other organizations helping the LGBTQ community, human trafficking, and saving the environment.
The positive performer has released five studio albums, including YES!, from last year. Since his 2002 debut, he has released songs like “I Won’t Give Up”, “Love Somebody”, “The Remedy” and “I’m Yours”. “Yours” is one of the most downloaded songs in digital history. The song, which has sold over close to thirteen million worldwide, broke a record in 2009 for the longest stay inside the top 40 of the Hot 100.
15. Kacey Musgraves
The twenty-seven year-old from Texas has released two successful albums, Same Trailer, Different Park and Pageant Material. The Nashville Star contestant has enjoyed success on the country charts with “Merry Go ‘Round”, “Biscuits” and “Follow Your Arrow”, which gave her a CMA Awards for Song of The Year. The artist has won two Grammy Awards. She has toured with Katy Perry and Willie Nelson.
She has come under fire in the conservative genre and territories in North America due to her lyrical content. She has said of discussing marijuana use, safe sex and homosexuality ‘these things are not controversial to me’. She is currently promoting her second album.
14. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has six number-one albums on the Billboard 200, more than most of her pop contemporaries. The twenty-two year-old has enjoyed success in television, film, and music since her involvement in Disney’s Hannah Montana empire. She has broken sales and Vevo records with songs like “Party in the USA”, “Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball”.
Miley recently hosted the MTV Video Music Awards. Since the release of her album Bangerz, she has become heavily involved in social work with homeless, AIDS and LGBTQ organizations, in order to teach, protect and fundraise money. She released her latest album for free. The Flaming Lips collaboration is titled Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. She currently released the theme song to the Julianne Moore and Ellen Page film, Freeheld.
13. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera has been called the voice of this generation. The thirty-four year-old has achieved a lot in her seventeen years as a recording artist. Her debut has sold over seventeen million worldwide, becoming one of the most successful debut albums in the US, spawning three number-one singles. Stripped followed with over twelve million. Overall, she has sold over fifty million albums worldwide.
She has amassed five number-one singles, twelve Billboard Awards, six Grammy Awards and has been nominated for a Golden Globe. In 2010 she starred in her first feature film with top billing, next to Cher. Aguilera wrote and produced most of the album, which has sold over a million opies worldwide.
Beyond her successful involvement The Voice, and recording with Lady Gaga and A Great Big World, her collaboration with Maroon 5, “Moves Like Jagger”, is currently the fifth most downloaded song in digital history, with close to fifteen million downloads. Christina is a UNICEF ambassador, and supporter of Elton John’s AIDS Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign.
12. The Weeknd
Also known as Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd is from Ontario, Canada. The twenty-five year-old singer has already collaborated with Sia Furler Drake, Whiz Khalifa, Justin Timberlake and Ariana Grande. In the past year he has accumulated four top ten singles on the Hot 100. Currently, he replaced himself at the top with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”. He has won four MuchMusic Awards, one BET Award, and has been nominated for a Grammy. Come November and December he will tour North American.
Shakira is the best-selling artist from Colombia, and the only artist from the territory to top charts in the US, UK and Australia. She has many singles in the list of best-selling singles of all time. “Wherever, Whenever” and “Underneath Your Clothes” have sold over five million each. “Waka Waka” and “Hips Don’t Lie” have sold over ten million each. Since 2010, she has recorded two official Fifa anthems.
Laundry Service, her first English album in 2001, has sold over twenty million copies worldwide. The following Oral Fixation set of albums have sold a combined twelve million copies. These days, Shakira is a seasonal The Voice coach, has released a fragrance, and is about to release a video game.
Shakira created the Pies Delcalzos Foundation in 1997, is a UNICEF ambassador, and sponsored by the Global Education Network.
10. Ed Sheeran
The twenty-four year-old has become one of the best-selling artists of the past decade. Ed Sheeran has released two studio albums, which have sold close to ten million copies in four years. + and X have both broken records in his native UK, where the two have collectively been certified platinum fourteen times. He has already collaborated with Taylor Swift, Passenger, and Lupe Fiasco. A new single with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis titled “Growing Up” will be released soon. Thus far, he has won four Brit Awards and has been nominated for the Grammys six times. He has raised money and awareness for causes like sex workers, AIDS and Ebola.
9. Meghan Trainor
Meghan Trainor is one of only five female artists to land a number-one album in 2015. Title, her debut album, was at the top of the charts in the US, Canada and Australia, where it was the first album by the Epic label to hit the top spot in the territory since The Essential Michael Jackson did so in 2005. The album has sold over a million copies worldwide since January and spawned many successful singles. “All About That Bass” is one of the best-selling singles of all time. Even though the single was co-written by Trainor, it was pitched to Beyonce and Adele. After both camps passed on the track, she recorded it as her own. Thus far, it has sold over eleven million copies in the world.
8. Kendrick Lamar
The twenty-eight year-old from Compton, California, has one of the best-selling albums of 2015. To Pimp a Butterfly peaked at number-one on the Billboard 200. Kendrick Lamar’s releases have garnered the performer critical and commercial success. This year, the rapper was part of the number-one single release by Taylor Swift. “Bad Blood” has sold over three million copies worldwide, and is one of the most viewed videos on Vevo. Lamar has recorded with other artists like Dido, and been part of soundtracks like The Amazing Spiderman. He has won two Grammy Awards.
The performer from Barbados debuted on the charts in 2005. In the past decade she has surpassed Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Madonna for the most number-one singles on the Hot 100. She has thirteen, tied with Michael Jackson, just behind Mariah Carey, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. This makes her the youngest, and fastest solo act to achieve this on the chart. Seven of those tracks are with other artists, including Eminem, T.I., Britney Spears and Calvin Harris.
She is cited has having sold around forty million albums and one-hundred and fifty million singles, worldwide. Billboard, and the American Music Awards, gave Rihanna the title of Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s era, and top Hot 100 Artist of the 2010s. Her eighth studio album is slated for a release in the next quarter.
6. Sam Smith
Sam Smith has been the most successful artist worldwide to come out of the UK since Adele. Smith’s debut album, In The Lonely Hour, has sold close to nine million copies worldwide. In the UK, he was one of only two artists, including Ed Sheeran, to sell more than one million copies of an album in 2014.
Since his 2013 debut, he has sent six singles to the number-one spot in the UK. “Stay With Me” has sold around eight million downloads worldwide. He has won three Brit Awards, four Grammy Awards, and three Billboard Awards.
The 23-year-old singer-songwriter just released “Writing’s On the Wall”, which is being used as the theme for the newest James Bond film, Spectre, being released this autumn, starring Daniel Craig. His second album does not have a release date.
5. Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding has two number-one, million-selling albums in her native UK. Her third studio offering, Delirium, is released this coming November. Lights and Halcyon have sold a combined four million copies worldwide. In addition, the twenty-eight year-old has accumulated three number-one singles, and eleven top ten releases in the UK. “Lights” and “Burn” are two of the best-selling singles worldwide in the past five years. “Love Me Like You Do”, from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack, is one of the the most viewed videos and streamed songs of the year.
Beyond releasing hits on both sides of the pond, Goulding was part of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video, where she shared screen time with Selena Gomez, Ellen Pompeo, and Jessica Alba. In her new album she collaborates with Calvin Harris, Diplo and Major Lazer. Her newest song “On My Mind” came out this month.
4. Bruno Mars
The twenty-nine year-old musician is one of the best-selling artists of this decade. His debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, has sold over six million copies worldwide. This album has the record of the longest-charting album by a male artist on the US Billboard catalogue chart, surpassing Michael Jackson’s Number Ones. The album spawned three number-ones singles in the UK, and two in the US. His sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox, has also sold over six million copies worldwide. The album spawned two number-one singles in the Hot 100. Ever since his debut, he has accumulated six number-ones in the US chart.
Bruno Mars has shown his staying power with his latest release “Uptown Funk”, a feature on a Mark Ronson song. This is one of the longest-charting singles in US history. The fourteen-week-charting single has been viewed more than billion times on Vevo, and has been downloaded around ten million times worldwide. He has three singles to pass the ten million mark: “Just The Way You Are”, “Grenade” and “Funk”. His awaited third studio album will likely be released in 2016.
3. Janelle Monae
The young singer-songwriter is already a music mogul. Janelle Monae began her own record label, Wondaland Records. Under the label she is launching megastar Jidenna, as well as St. Beauty and Deep Cotton.
The artist became a worldwide superstar due to her involvement in .fun’s “We Are Young”, which has become one of the best-selling songs in history. The track was number-one for six weeks in the US, selling close to seven million downloads, and become a million-seller in the UK (only the 128th song to achieve that).
With two albums under her belt, and collaborations with Erykah Badu, CeeLo Green, and Of Montreal, she is slated to release a new solo set and support the artists on Wondaland in the next year.
She is featured on a Duran Duran album track in their newest release, and is writing and producing for band Chic. Monae is currently traveling the US advocating for action against police brutality and performing for activists and their supporters.
2. Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson is still the most successful reality television star in the music industry worldwide. The powerful vocalist often time flies under the radar. Her latest album, Piece by Piece, became her third number-one album, and sixth top five. It is also one of only five albums to hit the top by a female in 2015.
She also made appearances in Sabrina The Teenage Witch, American Dreams, The Voice, Duets, Reba and Nashville.
Since her 2002 debut, she has sold over twenty-five million albums, and close to forty million singles worldwide. She has accumulated three number-one songs and fourteen top twenty singles. This year she released “Invincible” and is touring Canada and United Kingdom for the rest of the autumn.
Since his official debut on the Billboard Charts, Drake has amassed over thirteen rap number-ones. Since his debut album, Thank Me Later, was released in 2010, all of his releases have reached the top of the album charts. In fact, his albums do better and sell more with each release all around the world, including Canada, UK and Australia.
His newest project, a collaborative mixtape release with rapper Future, is slated to debut on top again.
And if this does not get the point home, get this, for the past six years he has been writing successful songs for other artists under the pseudonym Champagne Papi. These include hits by Alicia Keys, Rita Ora, Jamie Foxx and Trey Songz. His fourth solo studio album is slated for a 2016 release.
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