21 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Male Pop Singers

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Since its birth in the 1950s, pop music has been one of the most commercial and accessible genres in the music industry. However, it takes more than just catchy lyrics and creative beats to create a pop superstar.

Enchanting us with their musical talents, artists like Michael Jackson and Prince greatly influenced the music industry and established themselves as cultural icons.

Read on as we look at 21 of the greatest and most famous male pop singers of all time, whose legacy will live on for generations.

1. Michael Jackson

Named the King of Pop, Michael Jackson is one of the most cherished artists of all time, even after his death over ten years ago. His music career began with the Jackson 5 with his siblings before breaking away as a solo artist around two years later.

He largely impacted the dance world along with the fashion of the time. Jackson’s career peaked from the eighties to the early 2000s with five chart-topping, multi-Platinum albums and 13 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, starting with “Billie Jean.”

Sadly, Jackson’s popularity turned from music to lawsuits and claims of child molestation in the latter part of his career. In 2009, he died of cardiac arrest caused by an overdose of meds.

2. Elton John

With over 300 million records sold worldwide, British singer Elton John deserves our second spot. Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, John is an influential figure in popular music.

With a career spanning over five decades, John has achieved remarkable success. He is famous for songs such as “Your Song,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “I’m Still Standing.” With his chart-topping hits and albums, he is one of the best-selling solo artists of all time.

With his contributions to music, John received numerous awards. These include five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, and two Academy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

3. Ed Sheeran

The ginger-haired from the UK, Ed Sheeran, started small, playing hundreds of live shows in London around 2005. He left for the United States in 2010 to tour with the rapper Example. One year later, Sheeran released his debut album, + (plus), which shot him to fame.

After this, he began to write songs with the biggest young names in the pop world, mainly One Direction and Taylor Swift. He released hit after hit, specifically with love songs such as “Shape of You,” “Perfect,” and “Thinking Out Loud.”

As his fame grew, several lawsuits claimed copyrights, but Sheeran persevered and received membership in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He secretly married Cherry Seaborn in 2019, and later in mid-2020, they had their child Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran.

4. Justin Bieber

The Canadian artist Justin Bieber is well-known as one of the first artists to be discovered on YouTube. After signing with Raymond Braun Media Group and releasing a couple of singles, Bieber was an instant success in the US and Canada.

His international fame came with his first studio album, My World 2.0 (2010), and the top-five hit single “Baby.” Though the albums he released after this were all #1, his songs never reached the top.

After flying under the radar for a while, Bieber sprang back into the limelight with “What Do You Mean” in 2015. He broke the most consecutive weeks at the #1 spot on the Top 100 record in 2017 with “Despacito,” made in collaboration with Luis Fonsi.

5. Bruno Mars

Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars has stayed a constant icon since his career began to take off in the early 2000s. At the start, he performed only covers and struggled to find his voice when he first moved to Los Angeles.

However, after featuring in other artists’ songs, particularly “Nothin’ on You” with B.o.B. and “Billionaire” with Travie McCoy, Mars began his rise to fame. Soon he was releasing his own hit albums and songs with “Just the Way You Are,” the first on a long list of charting masterpieces.

With over 200 million singles sold worldwide, Mars is one of the best-selling pop artists of all time. He has garnered 15 Grammy Awards, four Guinness World Records, and four Brit Awards, just to name a few of his numerous awards and achievements.

6. Prince

One of the extraordinary figures in pop music is the American singer-songwriter Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince. With numerous albums and hit singles, he has established himself as one of the most influential artists of his time.

One of the things that is remarkable about Prince is his musical diversity. His music encompassed various genres such as pop, R&B, and rock. Some of his popular hit songs include “When You Were Mine,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Purple Rain.”

His contributions to the music industry earned him numerous awards such as the Billboard Icon Award and the Grammy President’s Merit Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

7. Justin Timberlake

From 1995 to 2002, Justin Timberlake was a member of the boy band NSYNC. Here, he rose to fame, but it was nothing compared to his solo endeavor.

His debut album, Justified, send him to Grammy stardom after receiving Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. It had two hit singles, “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body.” The first song won Timberlake his third Grammy Award, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Timberlake has gone on to win seven more Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, and nine Billboard Music Awards, among many others. He also incidentally helped popularize the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” after accidentally revealing Janet Jackson’s breast during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime.

8. Post Malone

Born Austin Richard Post, Post Malone became known for his variegated vocals. He has gained immense popularity for blending hip-hop, pop, R&B, and trap.

Post Malone had his career beginnings after signing with Republic Records. His debut album came out late, but it was a success for the singer. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified five times Platinum. One of its singles, “Congratulations,” was 14x Platinum and his biggest hit at the time.

In the years to come, Post Malone would release four more albums and sell more than 80 million records worldwide. With 10 Billboard Music Awards, nine Grammy Award nominations, and three American Music Awards, he has proven why he is one of the most successful pop artists.

9. Usher

The talented Usher Raymond IV – more popularly known as Usher – is up next on the list. This multi-talented singer-songwriter and dancer made a name for himself for his soulful R&B sound and impressive vocals.

With over 80 million records sold and eight Grammy Awards under his belt, Usher is a testament to his immense talent and dedication to the craft. He released critically and commercially successful songs including “U Remind Me, “U Got It Bad,” and “U Don’t Have to Call.” The last song won him his first two Grammys in 2002 and 2003.

He continues to captivate his fans with his ability to evolve with the changing music landscape. In March 2023, he released “GLU,” which topped the Adult R&B Chart. He also collaborated with modern artists such as Summer Walker and 21 Savage in “Good Good.”

10. Michael Bublé

Canadian singer Michael Bublé has always wanted to be a singer since he was young, inspired by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. He worked hard to achieve his dream, singing in clubs and weddings until he was introduced to record producer David Foster.

In 2003, he released an eponymous album, his first to rank in the top 10 of charts, and land him a Juno award for New Artist of the Year. This was the big break he needed. He followed this up over the decade with six #1 albums and two in the top 3.

Aside from pop hits, Bublé is known for his holiday releases, many of which ranked in Billboard‘s Holiday 100 chart. One album, aptly named Christmas, won a Juno Album of the Year award.

11. The Weeknd

Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Makkonen Tesfaye—known to us as the Weeknd—has quite a versatile mix of genres, pop music included. Songs that have helped him rise to fame are “Earned It,” from the film Fifty Shades of Grey, and “Can’t Feel My Face.”

That last song came from his 2015 album Beauty Behind the Madness. This pop-leaning masterpiece topped Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album.

With five chart-topping studio albums, 18 top-ten singles, and over 75 million records sold, the Weeknd has come to be considered one of the most influential musicians in the world.

12. Robbie Williams

Another singer who started with a band, Robbie Williams reached greater fame with his solo work. He’s best known for “Angels,” considered to be his signature song.

The song was released in his debut album, Life thru a Lens, which did not chart immediately. However, with the gaining popularity of “Angels,” it soon topped UK Charts.

Interestingly, Williams has released 12 albums, and all but one are chart-toppers! The album that did not hit #1, Reality Killed the Video Star, did not do too badly; it landed at #2.

These #1 albums have certainly gained Williams worldwide popularity. So much so that he received a Guinness Book of World Record when over 1.5 million tickets were sold in just one day after he announced his 2006 World Tour.

13. Harry Styles

Our next singer, Harry Styles is best known as one of the members of the boy band One Direction. After the group separated, he had a very successful career as a solo artist.

His self-titled debut album was released a year after One Direction split up, in 2017. It received positive reviews and topped the UK charts. Its lead single, “Sign of the Times,” also reached #1. Another song Styles is popular for is “Watermelon Sugar.”

While Styles rocks the world with his pop music, he also trends in fashion. He has been seen wearing flamboyant sequined clothes, pink suits, and even a dress. His style won him a British Style Award at the Fashion Awards in 2013 and the title of most influential man in fashion.

14. Ricky Martin

King of Latin Pop, Latin Pop God, and King of Latin Music are just some of the names given to Ricky Martin. Born Enrique Martín Morales in San Juan, Puerto Rico, his music career began when he was just 12!

By the end of the 1990s, Martin was already popular in his native country. There, he was well-known for the songs “María,” “Vuelve,” and “Perdido Sin Ti.”

Crossing over to English in 1999 would bring him international fame. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” was #1 in over 20 countries. With this, Martin paved the way for Latin pop and many Latin artists like Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Enrique Iglesias.

15. Sam Smith

The year 2012 witnessed English singer-songwriter Sam Smith‘s rise to fame when they were featured on Disclosure’s single, “Latch.” This marked their career beginnings in the music industry as a pop artist.

Since then, Smith has released chart-topping songs such as “Stay With Me,” “I’m Not the Only One,” and “Too Good at Goodbyes.” From these songs, we can tell that their music combines pop, soul, and R&B.

Their debut album, In the Lonely Hour, was released in 2014 and earned them four Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album. One of its singles, “Stay With Me,” won Record of the Year.

16. J Balvin

Up next, we have the Columbian pop singer J Balvin, born José Álvaro Osorio Balvin. He is known for his reggaeton sound blended with pop influences.

With more than 35 million records sold worldwide, J Balvin is one of the best-selling Latin artists. He has chart-topping singles to his name, including “6 AM,” “Mi Gente,” and “Ginza.”

Aside from his solo work, J Balvin also collaborated with various high-profile artists such as Beyonce, Cardi B, and Bad Bunny, among others. These collaborations proved advantageous as they elevated his status as a sought-after international pop artist.

17. Shawn Mendes

Though he may be known for his start with a Justin Bieber song cover on Vine, a discontinued app that shared six-second videos, Shawn Mendes became the youngest artist to have a debut song (“Life of the Party”) in the Top 25 at just 15 years old.

All four of Mendes’s studio albums are chart-topping hits, and he has two singles that soared to #1: “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Monster,” both featuring other singers.

Mendes has toured with several artists, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift included, and collaborated with others, including Camila Cabello in the above-mentioned “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

18. John Legend

American singer-songwriter John Roger Stephens—though we know him as John Legend—was born into a musical family. He played the piano and sang in the church choir when he was young. After college, Legend started writing songs and was eventually introduced to Kanye West, who helped him jumpstart his musical career.

Legend’s debut album in 2004 was his breakthrough success. But his popularity surged to even greater heights for the single “All of Me.” Dedicated to Chrissy Teigen, his wife, the song shot to #1 on the Hot 100 chart and attained Diamond certification.

Singing and writing aside, Legend is also a producer and actor, starring in the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar, NBC’s rock opera. The legend that he is, the artist is one of the latest EGOT winners.

19. Adam Levine

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is well-known for his work with the group. But the singer-songwriter has had some success as a solo artist on the side.

The six-member band was the second Levine joined up with, following Kara’s Flowers. Maroon 5 hit it big time with the songs “She Will Be Loved,” “Makes Me Wonder,” and “Moves Like Jagger” (featuring Christina Aguilera).

Outside the band, Levine has collaborated with a number of other singers like Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and 50 Cent, both as a songwriter and as a featured artist in their songs. “Lost Stars” is Levine’s original solo work for the comedy film Begin Again.

20. Charlie Puth

YouTube had a hand in Charlie Puth‘s career start. He began by uploading his songs, mostly covers, on his channel there. He then won an online competition singing Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

Ellen DeGeneres saw his video, was impressed, and signed him to her label. Soon after, he released his debut album, Nine Track Mind, which landed in the top 10 of the US charts.

Puth’s best work is considered to be “See You Again,” which he co-wrote and featured in with Wiz Khalifa. The song is a tribute to Paul Walker after the actor passed away in a car accident.

21. Khalid

Usually called by his first name only, Khalid Robinson moved around a lot when he was young due to his parent’s military career. This fueled the inspiration for most of his songs, which he uploaded on SoundCloud at the start of his career.

“Location,” one of his songs on SoundCloud, took him places. It started creeping up the charts, and soon it was in the top 10. Khalid followed this success with another hit, his debut album, American Teen, in 2017.

Collaboration with other artists has also helped Khalid in his career. “Love Lies” with singer Normani became Khalid’s first #1 hit on the US Pop Songs chart. “Eastside,” featuring Halsey and Benny Blanco, also charted.

Summing Up Our List Of Greatest Male Pop Singers 

Pop artists tend to branch out and experiment with other types of music and enjoy the harmony they find.

Music defined as pop spans from catchy simple songs to ones with deep meaning that reward attentive listeners with profound messages.

We hope this list reminded you of your childhood favorites or introduced you to artists that will become staples on your playlist.

And since this list isn’t all-inclusive, we might have missed a few pop singers out there. Let us know who, and we’ll add them for you!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.