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News |  10 Mar 2016 18:13 |  By RnMTeam

Female musicians who went solo after successful careers in bands

MUMBAI: Ever since women found their voices in the music industry, the talents and originality offered, drove the field of music to refreshingly new phases and sounds that the whole world still remains grateful for.

From Aretha Franklin to Adele, female musicians added another 'musical' element to the respective eras through their vocals, musical abilities and sheer inspiring personalities. While some musicians gained popularity and success through solo projects, others formed groups to climb the ladder to fame. Every female musician has a story worth sharing, and some stories project confidence, courage and a countless number of sacrifices that helped fans across the generations idolise them. And while some achieved and followed their dreams with someone, few decided to take matters into their hands. Here are five of those gutsy, talented musicians who found freedom in solitude  

Diana Ross 

The 1950s was a testing phase for women in music. The challenges become tougher if you were a black woman. But social norms and prejudices never acted as obstacles for the extremely determined 15-year-old Diana Ross. Accompanied by Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Betty McGlown, Ross performed across the United States for 11 successful years between 1959 to 1970 for The Supremes, earlier named as The Primettes. The band's first hit arrived in 1963 with 'When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes', and few months later, Ross was appointed as the lead vocalist of the most commercially successful Motown act ever.  

Ross went solo, after quitting The Supremes in 1970, and launched her solo debut, four months after quitting the band. Ross gained fame through The Supremes, however, the then 26-year-old singer and actress had a tough act to follow. Ross provided her first hit with the release of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', making it the number one solo single. The 'soul' singer did not shy away from experimenting, and Ross capitalised on the artistic freedom that arrives with going solo. With 25 studio albums, and six singles topping the charts, Ross continues to remain the fifth top female solo performer (stat-wise).

Diana Ross - Chain Reaction


For the millennials, Fergie has had many avatars and projects. Fergie's journey in music began with Wild Orchid in 1992. The decade-long association with the Stefanie Ridel and Renee Sandstorm ended with growing troubles for Fergie, related to the band's image and her drug problems. Fergie gradually overcame her drug issues, and reshaped her musical career when she joined The Black Eyed Peas for their third studio album - Elephunk. The camaraderie took the band to Billboard charts and Fergie never looked back since. 

In 2006, the now matured and established Fergie announced her solo debut album 'The Dutchess' and with hits like 'Glamorous' and 'London Bridge', Fergie focused on her forte - pop vocals and R&B sound. The solo project earned her a Grammy nomination in 2007 for 'Don't Cry'. Fergie continued to associate herself with The Black Eyed Peas, but with the announcement of her plans for the second solo album, the 'Fergalicious' songwriter continued to emphasise on going solo. 

Fergie - Big Girls Don't Cry


No list of successful female vocalists would be complete without Beyonce, and that stands true for the current feature too. Before she went on to break record charts, and win Grammys on her own, Beyonce began her search towards success and limelight with Destiny's Child (earlier named as Girl's Tyme). Two honours at the 43rd Grammy Awards for Destiny's Child instantly put the girls in the limelight, however, Beyonce was not prepared for it. The attention drove Beyonce to depression, and unfamiliar to the idea of fame, the young singer's mother helped her to recover from the phase. 

In 2001, Destiny's Child decided to take a hiatus and focus on their individual careers. Shortly, Beyonce featured on Jay Z's '03 Bonnie & Clyde', thus embarking her solo career. and two years after parting ways with Destiny's Child, Beyonce won her first Grammy for the debut album 'Dangerously In Love'. (She won five Grammys for the same album). However, the five Grammys was just the beginning for the pop queen. With multiple Grammys to her name, Beyonce became a household name, and Beyonce surely reminded the world of her capabilities as a solo artist. 

Beyonce - Halo


Always a mysterious personality, Bjork has The Sugarcubes (her first project) to thank for. Three studio albums were released during The Sugarcubes' six years of existence, and helped the band gain the image of 'Icelandic's biggest rock band'. Bjork began to experiment with bands sourcing different sounds, and towards the band's last years, Bjork released her solo debut album (with harpist Corky Hale). 

In 1992, Bjork (with Massive Attack's producer Nellee Hooper) produced first international solo hit 'Human Behaviour'. With nine studio albums, five Brit awards, and fourteen Grammy nominations, Bjork proved her knowledge and prediction to where music was heading to.

Bjork - Human Behaviour

Tina Turner 

Talk about the duo Ike and Tina, and the hit 'A Fool In Love' is the first thing that comes to one's mind. Turner's fortune changed overnight when the original vocalist Art Lassiter's failure to show up for one of the recordings. With a lot of pleading, Turner convinced Ike to become the voice of the show. Although some felt Turner's voice was 'high pitched' and 'screechy', the composition ended on the Billboards charts, thus embarking a journey of one of the greatest voices ever. 

Turner had a rough childhood. A domestic worker at the age of 13, an estranged mother and the death of her grandmother impacted Turner (born as Anna Mae Bullock). Turner's complications and troubled relationships with people did not end with the dawn of her teenage years. Turner parted ways with Ike- the husband and the bandmate. Turner retained her stage name and with a cabaret setting and 'with a little help from her friends', the R&B queen returned onstage- as a solo artist.

Tina Turner - Simply The Best

Listed at the 17th position in Rolling Stone's '100 Greatest Singers of all Time', Turner won several accolades confirming the talent she offers breaks the stereotypes haunting the music industry, back in the 1970s. Turner released ten studio albums during her solo career, and the effort helped her win eight Grammys, and the singer was later inducted into Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.