21 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Singers Of The 2000s

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Known as the decade that brought us the inception of social media, the 2000s was a decade to be remembered. Music of the 2000s also made its imprint on rock history. 

As the teen heartthrob groups of the 1990s began to merge into the revolutionary hip hop artist of the latter part of the decade, the 2000s delivered music lovers a little bit of everything. 

We have compiled a list of the 21 most significant and famous singers of the 2000s. Let’s take a trip down a “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

1. Eminem 

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, or as the world knows him, Eminem, tops our list as the most popular and influential artist of the 2000s. 

Eminem shattered racial barriers by toping hip-hop and pop charts. After releasing his first album, Infinite, Eminem signed with hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment

Eminem rocketed to success in the 2000s with his albums The Eminem Show and Encore.

In the early 2000s, Eminem starred in the movie 8 Mile, and his track “Lose Yourself” from its soundtrack won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Selling over 32 million albums in the 2000s makes Eminem our most famous artist of the 2000s. 

2. Chester Bennington 

Linkin Park claimed fame relatively quickly, largely thanks to Chester Bennington’s impressive vocals.

Bennington initially fronted Grey Daze but ultimately got a call to audition for an LA-based group, Xero. He auditioned in 1999, the band changed its name to Linkin Park, and released a debut studio album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000.

Linkin Park’s music, mixing alternative, hip-hop, and heavy metal, was an instant sensation. Linkin Park won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, and MTV’s Best Rock Video in the early 2000s catapulted them into mainstream music success. 

The band’s album Meteora was released in late 2002 and the album Minutes to Midnight, released in 2006, helped to guarantee Linkin Park’s spot as one of the most extraordinary artists of the 2000s. 

Sadly, Bennington committed suicide in 2018 after a long battle with depression, addiction, and childhood trauma.

3. Chris Martin 

Coldplay, the rock band across the pond, might not have quite the following if not for Chris Martin’s soulful lead vocals.

The lead singer and pianist helped Coldplay win over listeners in the 2000s with their distinctive style and sound. Even though the band originated in 1998, they did not release their first album, Parachutes, until 2000.

In 2002 the album won Best Alternative Music Album at the Grammy Awards. Coldplay followed Parachutes with the albums A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y. 

It was not until their album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends in 2008 that Coldplay evolved into authentic, iconic artists of the 2000s.

Chris Martin also pursued several solo projects, including collaborations with popular musicians. He’s worked with Nelly Furtado, Kylie Minogue, Dua Lipa, and Jay-Z, among others.

4. Britney Spears

One artist who defined the decade was the “Princess of Pop,” Britney Spears who dominated the charts in the 2000s.

She kicked off her career in early 2000 when she released her album Oops!… I Did It Again. It sold 1.3 million copies and debuted at number one on Billboard

In 2001 Spears famously modeled a giant albino python draped over her shoulders during a performance for the MTV Music Awards. 

Sadly though, as Spears’s notoriety rose, so did her problems. In 2008 Spears was hospitalized and lost custody of her sons.

But no matter what curve balls her personal life threw, Spears always bounced back, telling life to go ahead and “hit me one more time.”

5. Beyoncé 

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter Knowles stormed onto the music scene in the late 1990s with the renowned girl group Destiny’s Child

But when she unleashed her solo album Dangerously in Love in 2003, Beyoncé achieved her standing as the “Queen Bee.” 

With hits like “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy” reaching Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, Beyoncé never looked back. 

Throughout the 2000s, Beyoncé made a name for herself in the cinema starring in the movies The Pink Panther, Dreamgirls, and Austin Powers in Goldmember….yeah, baby! 

Winning more awards in the 2000s than most artists win in an entire career, including Grammys for Best R&B Song and Contemporary R&B Album, Beyoncé continues to demonstrate why she is the Queen Bee of the 2000s.

6. Pink 

Alecia Beth Moore, recognized professionally as Pink, is known for her edgy pop music that questions authority, normalizes life struggles, and supports girl power. 

At 14, Pink was already constructing a name for herself on the club circuits. In 2000, she released her first top-ten single, “There You Go,” and her debut album Can’t Take Me Home reached double platinum status. 

Pink marched through the 2000s, releasing hits such as “Get the Party Started,” “Just Like a Pill,” and “So What.” Defined by MTV as “a fabulously fearless pop artist,” 

Pink continues to confirm that she deserves her spot as one of the most celebrated singers of the 2000s.

7. Norah Jones 

Geetha Norah Jones Shankar, better known as the soulful vocalist Norah Jones, enchanted fans throughout the 2000s. 

In 2002, fans got their first taste of the fabulous Jones with her first album, Come Away with Me; combining jazz, country, and pop, it sold over 27 million copies.

Inspired by the music of Bill Evans and Billie Holiday, Jones earned her big break when she signed with the corporation EMI Group

Jones continued to acquire praise through the 2000s for her hit songs such as “Don’t Know Why,” “Sunrise,” “Here We Go Again,” and “Chasing Pirates.” 

By the end of the 2000s, Jones had won Top Billboard 200 Album Artist female twice and a slew of Grammys, including Album of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

Undoubtedly, no one who adored the music in the 2000s would disagree that Norah Jones deserves a spot on our list.

8. Chad Kroeger 

Chad Kroeger is the lead singer and guitarist for the Canadian rock band Nickleback. The group started as a cover band, but by the 2000s, they found success with their own songs. 

Defined as anything from hard rock to pop rock to heavy metal, Nickelback has relished commercial triumph unlike any other band from Canada.

The combination of Kroeger’s throaty vocals and songwriting prowess played a massive role in propelling the band up the charts.

Releasing hits such as “Breathe,” “How You Remind Me,” and “Photograph,” Nickelback has confirmed that they have come a long way since having to “give a nickel back” as change at Starbucks.

Kroeger has fallen off in recent years, partially due to subpar new songs and a bad attitude. That doesn’t negate the singer’s and band’s popularity during the 2000s.

9. will.i.am 

will.i.am, the stage name used by William James Adams Jr., is typically seen as the frontman of the Black Eyed Peas. As the founding member, he brought an impressive history of music production and collaborations to the group. 

The group delighted 2000s music fans with their 2003 hit “Where Is the Love?” and did not stop smashing hits. Becoming certified three times Platinum, their fourth album, Monkey Business, featuring “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” there was no refuting that the Black Eyed Peas were a force like no other. 

Winning Billboard’s Top Band/Duo/Group and six Grammys in the 2000s, the Black Eyed Peas left an indelible mark on the decade.

will.i.am proceeded to collaborate with multiple artists and even pursued several solo projects. He appeared in several films, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Most recently, the versatile performer collaborated with Mercedes Benz on a car and merchandise line.  

10. Alicia Keys

Classically trained on the piano and signed to a record deal at age 15, Alicia Keys understands how to blend sorrow, passion, and emotion into people’s favorite melodies. 

Her music incorporates the velvety styles of Ella Fitzgerald and the tickling of the ivories of Rachmaninov; her music speaks to anyone that hears it. 

Her album Songs in A Minor made a colossal splash debuting on the Billboard 200 chart at number one.

During the 2000s, Keys collaborated with music superstar Jay-Z on the hit song “Empire State of Mind” and “Learnin’ the Blues” with archival footage of Frank Sinatra. 

After being anointed best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist in the 2000s, Alicia Keys formed a legacy that persists today.

11. Michael Bublé

Canadian-born superstar Michael Bublé spent summers growing up as a fisherman with his father. Still, by 18, he won a local talent contest, exchanging his fishing rod for a microphone stand. 

When Bublé’s self-titled debut album was released in 2003, he soared to the top of the charts and the top of many people’s hearts. 

Bublé’s songs meld smooth jazz with pop, driving listeners to giggle, cry, and love. In 2007 Bublé won his first Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and hasn’t slowed down. 

12. Bono 

Paul David Hewson is one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world, though you might not recognize the name. Does the name Bono sound more familiar?

The lead singer of the Irish rock band, U2 is as well known for his music as he is for his activism.  

By the end of the 2000s, U2 had won six MTV Video Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, and 22 Grammy Awards. 

U2 often infuses their music with social and political themes that reflect the times. In 2002, U2 performed in the Super Bowl XXXVI halftime show paying a memorable homage to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. 

Bono co-founded ONE and (RED) to combat HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. He continues to make powerful contributions to the music industry and global socio-political issues.

13. Madonna 

Madonna Louise Ciccone, also known as the “Queen of Pop,” Madonna has been a superstar since the 1980s. By the 2000s, Madonna was a household name with fans worldwide. 

She even piped the title song of a James Bond film, Die Another Day, placing herself on the iconic levels as music celebs Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, and Shirley Bassey. 

Forever known for provocatively, during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, she kissed the “Princess of Pop” songster Britney Spears sparking controversy and continuing her legacy.

14. Avril Lavigne 

Another royalty makes our list. Avril Lavigne, known by many as the “Pop Punk Queen,” carried the punk rock genre back to the front stage. 

At age 15, Lavigne was already a millionaire largely due to her debut single, “Complicated,” which was voted the eighth top single of the decade by Rolling Stone magazine. 

It also won awards from VH1 Big Awards and Radio Disney Music Awards and was nominated for several Grammy Awards. 

15. Rihanna 

Barbados-born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna, was discovered in 2003, and by 2005, her song “Pon de Replay” was being blasted in clubs worldwide. It even peaked at number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs. 

Rihanna was a household name when her album A Girl Like Me was released. Never one to be satisfied, Rihanna continued to redefine her musical style, experimenting with dubstep and rock music. 

Her album Good Girl Gone Bad was hugely successful and received a two-times Platinum by RIAA. She has known nearly as much for her fashionista style as her music. 

Rihanna’s fearless music and fashion have been turning heads for years.

16. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is as much a diva as her stage name reveals. Described as assertive, flashy, and empowering, Lady Gaga attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts while becoming a fixture of the club scene. 

Lady Gaga released her first album, The Fame in 2008, fusing a little glam rock with a touch of electronica. 

Featuring memorable hits like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” she showed the world that dance music had a place in the hearts of 2000s music fans.

17. Usher 

Usher Raymond IV grew up in Tennessee until his grandmother uncovered his talent and moved him to Atlanta to pursue his singing career. 

In 2004 with the release of his album Confessions Usher evolved into one of the best-selling musical artists of the 2000s. The hit single “Yeah!” became a staple in clubs nationwide. 

Rolling Stone magazine characterized the album as having a “​​sweet soul with something new: brutal honesty.” 

Not one for hogging the spotlight, Usher has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Lil’ John, Mary J. Blige, and Mariah Carey, to name a few. 

18. Shakira

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, born in Columbia, has been serenading what world since she was 13. 

Learning English with exceptional Miami superstar Gloria Estefan, Shakira released her first English-driven album  Whenever, Wherever, known as Suerte in Spanish, in 2001.

In 2005 she released the album Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, featuring the colossal hit “Hips Don’t Lie,” featuring Wyclef Jean. 

The album propelled her to win Favorite Latin Artist in 2005 and 2006 from the American Music Awards, Hot Latin Song of the Year-Vocal Duet or Collaboration from the Billboard Latin Music Awards, and a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

19. Justin Timberlake

When Justin Timberlake first entered the pop culture scene as the young heartthrob in The All-New Mickey Mouse Club and then in the widely famous boy band NSYNC, few probably envisioned him to go on to have the success he did.

In 2002, Timberlake broke with NSYNC with his first solo single, “Like I Love You.” 

Riding his sex appeal and individual success, Timberlake appeared with Janet Jackson in the now infamous Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, generating such a controversy that it forced the FCC to alter its rules for live television. 

The controversy did not slow down Timberlake’s career, pushing him to concentrate on his acting career for a little while. 

In 2006 he released his album FutureSex/LoveSounds, featuring one of his most significant hits, “Sexy Back.” Although many would agree sexy never left Timberlake.

20. Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong co-founded Green Day with Mike Dirnt in the late 1980s. Armstrong is the brains behind most of the band’s music, but he also fronts the group with vocals and guitar skills.

They made waves in the punk and alternative music world during the 1990s with a series of albums, including Dookie but didn’t find mainstream success until the 2000s. 

In 2004, Green Day released the album American Idiot. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Record of the Year. 

Touted as a punk rock opera, American Idiot  recounts the tale of the character “Jesus Of Suburbia” and his life in a “land of make-believe.” In 2009, Green Day even worked with Tony Award-winning artists to create a stage version of the album. 

21. Taylor Swift 

And finally, the spunky singer and songwriter Taylor Swift is rounding out our list of the most popular and famous artists during the 2000s.

From age nine, Swift knew she was fated to be a singer. But it wasn’t until 2006 that Swift released her self-titled album that included the hit song “Tim McGraw.”

By 2009 Swift was a monumental success, so much of a success that she annoyed Kanye West at the MTV Music Awards. 

While delivering her acceptance speech for Best Female Video for the song “You Belong with Me,” West stormed on stage, seized the microphone from her, and infamously proclaimed: “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’m let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!” 

And while unsettling at the time, the Swift-West feud would persist for decades, bringing her a continual renewal of fame.

Summing Up Our list Of Famous 2000s Singers

So there you have it, 21 of the most popular and famous artists of the decade that delivered us something of everything. 

From hip hop to rock music, from grunge to emo, the 2000s were able to satisfy nearly everyone’s taste.

But, this list barely scratches the surface of amazing vocalists releasing music in the decade.

Who did we miss off? Let us know and we’ll add them in!

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.