Just Gimme The Light: 9 Popular Boy Band Or Girl Group Members We Thought Were Going To Be The Big Solo Stars
I can’t imagine being in anybody’s group. Too many egos, too much money to be spread out, too much time spent with too many people. But the people on this list all have been in some of our favorite groups over the years, and they played their part. Smiling and waving and then eventually finding themselves going from being in the group to being out (sometimes after messy quarrels). In the end, we thought all these people should have or would have been the ones shining the most from their respective groups after parting from their band mates because of their talents, but eh…not so much. Most have still had enough success to be happy about, while others are still trying to be taken seriously as they go it alone.
I remember when the video for “No, No, No Part II” debuted (back on The Box for those in my house) back in 1997. My brother and a lot of my friends used to talk all the time about LeToya Luckett being the best looking girl in a very young Destiny’s Child, and before there was Beyoncé and Kelly, LeToya used to always be featured standing next to Bey or near her as one of the main faces of the group. But when Luckett and LaTavia Roberson got the group axe after disagreements with the way Matthew Knowles was running things, Beyoncé permanently stepped in the stoplight and that was the end of the story.
Luckett has had solo success in her own right though, including a platinum debut album, and being named the top songwriter by the ASCAP in 2006. Her sophomore effort did good on the charts and she’s even had luck as an actress, doing the movie Preacher’s Kid and having a recurring role on the HBO show Treme. She definitely was able to shine, even if it wasn’t in DC or in the stan-heavy following way Beyoncé has.
Not to take anything away from Justin Timberlake because we know he can sing and dance as good as anybody, but was anybody else disappointed that JC Chasez’s career didn’t go as far as it should have? Okay, so “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)” wasn’t the cut to send him into the stratosphere as a solo artist, but that boy could sang! I just expected more, but alas, the blonde hair, youthful personality, slick dance moves and a falsetto that could come in handy with the ladies gave Justin the edge in ‘N Sync and as a solo artist. But even Justin knew JC was bad a**: “In my opinion, he had the best voice out of all of us…Out of all the boy bands, call ’em what you will, he was the one that could out-sing all of us.”
Not really sure why, but when we were first introduced to the ladies of 3LW back in the day, Naturi Naughton was the only group member’s voice we didn’t really get to hear like that when they debuted with “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right).” Literally. She just smiled in the video while Kiely Williams got to do more than one verse (she had the bridge too, son!) and as Adrienne Bailon danced around and served sass. But by the time “Playas Gon’ Play” dropped, we learned the truth–Naughton had the powerhouse vocals of the group and was destined to be the star. But sadly, after falling out with her group members and getting in a KFC chicken throwing fight…don’t ask…she claims she was forced out. Luckily for her, Naughton’s talent was appreciated in other ways, as she went on to do Broadway, star in movies like Notorious and Lottery Ticket, do shows like Mad Men and The Playboy Club, and blow her former group mates out of the water.
C’mon! DeVante was fine, he could sing and he was mad talented behind the scenes. If you weren’t aware like two decades later, Swing was the mastermind behind some of Jodeci’s biggest hits, as he was the main songwriter and producer for the group. He had everything going for him, and even helped music icons like Missy Elliott, and Timbaland get their start as signed artists on his own record label. Sadly though, once Jodeci ended and the musicians under Swing’s wing floundered or ran for the hills, Swing didn’t end up as popular as he was with the group. K-Ci and Jo Jo went on to have major success as a duo (until drinking troubles held them back in recent years), while Swing allegedly dived into alcoholism himself. Last time we saw him for real, he was inebriated in a Subway…but who says a comeback isn’t possible…?
Loved Maxine! Personally, I felt she had the best voice in the group, but of course, most of the shine for the women in the group was put on Dawn Robinson. She was the first to leave, and once she left she made the most waves by joining Lucy Pearl and releasing a solo album and even signing with Aftermath. She is even set to be on the Los Angeles-based version of R&B Divas. But as for Jones, she decided to concentrate on being a mom and left En Vogue behind (and all their reincarnations) when contract agreements couldn’t be met. She owns a business with her sister, and was even a judge for a talent competition. However, she’s decided to back up from the public eye.
Jody Watley had the good looks, dance moves and decent vocals to be a pop star once she got sick of rolling with Shalamar, and that’s exactly what she became when she did leave the group. Howard Hewett tried to do the same, and as the one in the group with the strongest voice, it should have been easy. But it wasn’t that easy. And while Hewett had some hits and has continued working while other ’80s music staples have disappeared off of the face of the earth, we assumed he’d bigger now outside of Shalamar. Either way, he’s making that mulah…
It wasn’t until Sisqo’s solo album that you could really persuade me that he was the golden boy of Dru Hill. Of course, Jazz didn’t have the playboy looks or a penchant for hair dye, but he had a pretty great voice that could have been on some solo albums with great writing and production (he was like an early Ruben Studdard). However, it seems that out of everyone in the group, only Sisqo tried his hand at solo success for real. But Jazz and Sisqo and Nokio and new member Tao…(not Woody, he opted out of getting back with the group) have tried to reclaim their R&B group success to decent results, but if that doesn’t work out, Jazz should take advantage of that voice and put out some ballads. Hell a two-step worthy jam or something…
Who would have thought that out of all the faces in Danity Kane, Dawn Richard would be the one to be holding things down the best as a solo artist? Seriously though, I haven’t seen any other Danity Kane members come out with real music that’s worthy of bobbing your head to, or come out the house for that matter, including Aubrey O’Day. Diddy might not have liked her and her changing personality, but that same charisma, sound and look is what I would have thought would taken her to the next level in pop music by herself. Plus, she had her share of fans. But then again, O’Day knows she spent way too much time posing for magazines half-dressed and trying to be a reality star to be focused on her music. Ah well.
Had to take it back. We know the story surrounding The Supremes wasn’t all roses and number one hits, especially once Diana Ross was pushed to the forefront by Berry Gordy and Motown. But Florence Ballard was known by many to have the strongest, if not most soulful voice in The Supremes, and she very well could have been the star if given the opportunity. Ballard of course tried to go solo after being replaced in the group, but her songs failed to really peak on the charts and she wound up battling personal drama behind the scenes, as well as depression and the possibility of poverty. As she was finally trying to make a comeback, Ballard died from cardiac arrest at the age of 32.