Zayn Malik, Camila Cabello, And 12 Other Artists Who Left Popular Bands To Go Solo

  • In 2015, Directioners everywhere mourned when they found out that Zayn Malik was leaving One Direction. Since leaving the band, Zayn has released one studio album, with one more on the way, and many of his songs debuting at number one all over the world. (Photo: WENN)

  • Camilla Cabello officially left Fifth Harmony on December 2016. Since leaving the band she’s collaborated with many artists including Shawn Mendes, Machine Gun Kelly, and Pitbull. She’s releasing her debut album, “Camila”, in January 2018. (Photo: WENN)

  • Justin Timberlake reached supernova status as part of the late 90’s N’Sync. And he proved he was the group’s breakout star when he set out on a solo career in 2002. His first two solo albums each sold more than 7M copies, generating a number of Billboard Hot 100 number ones. (Photo: WENN)

  • Beyoncé was a member of Destiny’s Child, but just like Justin Timberlake, she had “breakout star” written all over her. In 2003 she released her first solo album, which sold over 11 million copies. Since then, Queen B has evolved from solo star to certified pop culture brand. (Photo: WENN)

  • The Jonas Brothers topped all the charts during the late 2000’s. But as Nick grew up, his desire to work on his own music did too. In 2010, he formed Nick Jonas & the Administration. Following the official and definitive split of the JoBros, Nick released his second solo album, presenting himself as a R&B crooner. (Photo: WENN)

  • Gwen Stefani’s vocal stylings and undeniable charisma propelled No Doubt to hot success in the 1990s. She officially left the band and launched her solo career in 2004 with her debut album “Love. Ange. Music. Baby.” As a solo artist, Stefani has become one of the most successful female artist of all-time. (Photo: WENN)

  • Ricky Martin started his music career when he joined Menudo in 1984. However, being a teenage star proved too much for Ricky, who left in 1989. He then went on to release a number of solo albums, but reached international fame in 1999 when he performed “The Cup Of Life,” at the Grammys that year. The rest is history! (Photo: WENN)

  • Before going solo, Fergie was a member of the female trio Wild Orchid and Black Eyed Peas. In 2006, Fergie released her debut solo album, “The Duchess”, and boasted numerous singles like “Fergalicious” and She also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. (Photo: WENN)

  • As one of The Black Eyed Peas founding members, one would wonder why will.i.am would do something outside of the group. However, he’s worked on his own music, releasing four solo albums, and working on tracks by Usher and Becky G. (Photo: WENN)

  • Nicole Scherzinger was a member of the widely popular girl group Pussycat Dolls. After the group disbanded in 2010, Nicole wen on to release her debut album the following year, boasting hit songs like “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” She’s also made a name for herself as judge of The X Factor. (Photo: WENN)

  • After becoming an international sensation with Wham!, George Michael continued his musical career with seven hit solo albums. With 80 million copies sold, he became one of the best-selling solo artists in the world. He also won two Grammys, among many other awards. (Photo: WENN)

  • As you all know, Michael Jackson was the lead singer of The Jackson 5. After releasing hits like “ABC”, Michael went on to start his solo career in 1971. During his career, he released 10 albums, and became the one and only King of Pop. Even after he died, Michael Jackson remains to be one of the most beloved artist of all time. (Photo: WENN)

  • While it was one of the biggest UK groups in the 90’s, Robbie Williams left Take That in 1995. But he didn’t have a problem pursuing a solo career. The singer has 10 albums under his belt, with 75 million copies sold worldwide. (Photo: WENN)

  • There’s no need to explain who The Beatles were (RIGHT?!) After the band broke up in 1970, Paul McCartney continued his musical career with his first solo release, McCartney, which became a US number-one album. Since then, Paul has collaborated with countless artists and remained one of the biggest musicians in history. (Photo: WENN)

In 2015, Directioners everywhere mourned when they found out that Zayn Malik was leaving One Direction. Since leaving the band, Zayn has released one studio album, with one more on the way, and many of his songs debuting at number one all over the world. (Photo: WENN)

Few ever achieve success in the music industry. And yet there are a number of performers who reached the top of the mountain with a band or group, and then went on to become even bigger stars once they stepped out on their own.

Call it a leap of faith or a bailout—but all the icons in our photo gallery above are great examples of musicians who continued to achieve success on their own even after quitting their popular bands. Some of them got even bigger and better than the groups that boosted their musical careers in the first place!

From Zayn Malik to Paul McCartney, we’ve rounded up some of the most note-worthy artist who have left amazing bands to create something better. The risk definitely paid off!



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