22 Of The Most Famous Singers Of The 2010s

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

The 2010s were a captivating decade for many reasons. Climate change, political battles, and the alleged end of the world all happened in ten short years.

Thankfully, as the decade progressed, we were gifted with music that kept us moving. The singers behind the music made us want to dance, relax, or feel their emotions.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at 22 of the most famous singers of the 2010s and explore their lives, careers, and some of their big hits. Let’s get started.

1. Taylor Swift

Up first, we have Taylor Swift, who got her start in country music in the 2000s. However, she eventually proved to the world that musical artists don’t need to stick to one style.

Swift drew inspiration from country music artists and moved to Tennessee to launch a music career at 14 years old.

What followed were nine studio albums of iconic and instant hits, including her signature hit “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me.” Swift has consistently sold out arenas and stadiums, and has released music in the country, pop, and indie genres.

Her latest venture is re-recording her first six studio albums in a public display of the importance of owning one’s work.

2. Beyoncé

Having reached what seemed to be peak levels of success in the ’90s and 2000s, Beyoncé continues to redefine the standards of quality music.

Her influence seems to know no end. The artist found fame initially in the group Destiny’s Child but proved her talents were more than capable of a successful solo career.

In the 2010s, Beyoncé caught the world by storm twice with surprise albums—Beyoncé and Lemonade—that dropped overnight. The former containing her highest hit song of the decade, “Drunk in Love,” featuring Jay-Z.

The influence and effect of Beyoncé’s music on people are unlike anything the world has ever seen. It is a testament to feminism and black excellence. We may never see anyone like her again.

3. Adele

English singer-songwriter Adele is the single musician who can make us cry and love doing so every time. The artist released her first work in 2008, earning fans across the globe with her unprecedented, powerful vocal abilities.

Adele’s musical themes typically revolve around heartbreak but occasionally delve into more fun areas.

The 2010s saw two album releases from the star, giving fans many of her hit songs—”Someone like You,” “Set Fire to the Rain,” and “Hello,” to name a few.

Adele’s vocal ability and simplistic performances showcase her true talents. You’ll not find backup dancers and wild outfits at an Adele show. Instead, it’s the music, the love, and the celebration of art.

4. Lady Gaga

As influential as Lady Gaga has become, it is easy to forget that the 2010s were her first decade in the spotlight. After being turned away by several labels, Gaga began recording music and released her debut album in 2008.

During the 2010s, she gave us the album Born This Way, with its chart-topping lead single of the same name, and Grammy-Award winning film A Star Is Born, in which she had the lead role along with Bradley Cooper. The show’s original song, “Shallow,” was performed by the two and won several awards.

Gaga has truly become an icon of pop music and a role model for millions. She is an active advocate for many issues for which she is passionate, and she is never one to shy away from the spotlight.

5. Drake

The rap talents of Drake left fans of the 2010s in awe and hungry for more every time he dropped an album.

Drake came from a small home in Canada, where he and his mother lived until he landed a role in the television show Degrassi: The Next Generation.

He began recording music in the late 2000s and reached fame with his debut album Thank Me Later in 2010. Drake got caught in a tug-of-war between labels when his music began attracting an international audience.

As the decade progressed, Drake released several hit albums and songs, including the certified-Diamond 2016 song “One Dance,” featuring Wizkid and Kyla, which was #1 in multiple charts in the US and internationally.

Drake’s music and talents in singing, rapping, and collaborating with other artists has since inspired fans and multiple social media dance trends.

6. Ed Sheeran

The hypnotizing vocals of Ed Sheeran make every day feel like a wedding dance. An English artist, Sheeran began making music when he was thirteen years old. He learned to play guitar early in life, and his teachers and classmates knew he would head for musical greatness.

Sheeran wrote and released independent music for a few years before his small wavelengths created a tidal wave of success. During the 2010s, he went on to release four multi-Platinum studio albums in the 2010s, along with hit songs like “Perfect” and “Shape of You.”

His live performances are a real treat, in which Sheeran showcases his ability to create melody loops that climax to an explosion of music.

7. Kanye West

There’s a long-running joke that Kanye West is his own biggest fan. Millions of people around the world will fight him for that title.

West began releasing rap music in the 2000s, following the creation of his music label, GOOD Music. Some of his 2010s hits are “Niggas in Paris,” with Jay-Z, and “I Love It,” with Lil Pump.

Throughout his music career, the singer has never been afraid to test different styles and flavors of music. He frequently seeks ways to push the boundaries and remind the world of his talent.

West’s conduct outside of music has frequently been the center of controversy. Despite this, the music industry must credit West for the creative rap genius he has proven himself to be.

8. Ariana Grande

Nickelodeon gave us another gift in the 2010s in the form of Ariana Grande.

From a young age, Grande knew she wanted to release R&B music. She displayed her love of singing and performing in numerous musicals. In 2009, she began her acting career in a children’s show on the Nickelodeon network.

With her foot in the door of fame, Grande knew this was her moment. She began recording music, and her career as a vocalist took off with hits like “Problem” and “Bang Bang” showing off her impressive vocal range.

Grande’s six studio albums are a testament to her intuition as a songwriter and singer.

9. The Weeknd

Despite the typical dark themes of his music, The Weeknd’s voice is something out of a daydream.

The Weeknd was born and raised in Toronto, where he lived with his mother and grandmother. He struggled with homelessness, alcoholism, and drug addiction for most of his teen years.

In his late teens, he uploaded a few songs anonymously to YouTube. The songs generated some attention, and eventually, the rapper Drake discovered them.

The Weeknd slowly gained traction, writing for artists, collaborating with them, and eventually releasing his studio albums. Now, it’s nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t know the words to at least one of his hits, like “Starboy” and “Can’t Feel My Face.”

10. Rihanna

A self-proclaimed bad girl at heart, Rihanna has found a way to stand the test of time. She has proven to be a jack-of-all-trades over the past decade and a half.

The Barbadian artist has been releasing music since the mid-2000s. Her style of music has evolved over the years, sampling various genres and styles of music with hits like “Diamonds,” “Only Girl (In the World),” and “We Found Love.”

The singer never fails to get back up and go harder than she did last time. Her albums have sold millions of copies, and she leaves her fans craving more every time.

Rihanna has also been involved in her fashion line, held a few acting roles, and recently became a mother.

11. Justin Bieber

Often known as YouTube’s first celebrity creation, Justin Bieber infected us all with Bieber Fever in the early 2010s.

Bieber is Canadian and developed a knack for singing early in life. After a few of his videos covering famous songs went viral, Bieber signed a recording contract in the late 2000s. What happened next was pure teenage hormonal chaos.

Despite controversy and criticism, Bieber kept his head high. His impressive vocal talent keeps him relevant and keeps us listening to his songs, like “What Do You Mean?” “Sorry,” and “Love Yourself.”

He frequently collaborates with artists of all genres and is never one to say no to a challenge.

12. Britney Spears

The Princess of Pop, Britney Spears, started dropping hits since the late ’90s and all throughout the 2000s.

Spears continued to win our hearts in the 2010s. Releasing three studio albums, Spears reminded us why we fell in love with her back at the start of her career.

“Hold It Against Me” was her first hit of the decade, and she also had several chart toppers collaborating with other artists. “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am in 2012 was particularly popular. It was a worldwide success, with over 8 million in sales.

Spears also broke records and became the biggest show on the Las Vegas strip in decades. Toward the end of the 2010s, her family struggles launched a fan crusade to advocate for her legal rights.

13. Katy Perry

In the 2010s, Katy Perry found a creative way to produce goofy, purposeful pop music for the world.

Perry first caught our attention in the late 2000s when she reported that she’d kissed a girl. In the 2010s, she built on this fun musical reputation by taking us to California (“California Gurls”), a firework show (“Firework”), and the roaring jungle (“Roar”).

Perry understands what it takes to make pop music fun while not losing artistic focus. Her live performances are dazzling, and her onstage energy is remarkable.

Though she had initially intended to release gospel music, Perry has solidified herself as a household pop music name.

14. Nicki Minaj

Known for her various alter-egos in her music, Nicki Minaj is our rap queen with an impressive versatility to her talent.

Minaj was born in 1982 in Port of Spain to two gospel singers. After a slightly turbulent home life in her early years, she moved to New York and took classes in performing arts. She initially was an actress but began to discover and develop her talents in rap and vocal artistry.

Fast forward to the 2010s, Minaj released four iconic studio albums that have solidified her as a staple in the rap community, along with hit songs “Super Bass” and “Starships.” Her playful and forceful rap and singing talents have solidified her presence in the music industry.

15. Post Malone

Austin Richard Post—Post Malone to fans—put his name into a rap name generator; out popped an instantly successful music career.

Malone’s career is a testament to the power of dedication. He moved to Los Angeles and began creating music in a small band.

When Malone uploaded a song to SoundCloud and its music video to YouTube, his career gained serious traction. Well-known rap names noticed him, and before he knew it, he was on his way.

Since then, Malone has released four studio albums and toured with several high-profile artists. His hit single “Congratulations,” featuring Quavo, stayed 50 weeks in the charts and is certified Diamond.

His abilities in singing and rap have set him apart from the rest, cementing his status as an A-list performer.

16. Kendrick Lamar

Our next singer, Kendrick Lamar, is often considered one of music’s most creative and influential rappers of our time.

Growing up in California, Lamar found interest in writing poetry and focusing on rhymes in his early teens. His talents impressed a local music producer, who helped him record and release a few mixtapes over the years.

In the early 2010s, he signed to a record label. He spawned quite a number of hit albums and singles, but his best work is considered to be “Humble,” released in 2017.

Lamar is known to be politically motivated with his lyrics and is not afraid of causing controversy with his story-telling talents. He empowers his listeners to speak up and be passionate about the things they believe.

17. Harry Styles

If the arena full of screaming girls wasn’t proof enough, Harry Styles’s impressive album sales prove his mesmerizing vocal talents.

Styles found fame in the early 2010s when the British boy band One Direction launched into the spotlight. The five young men rocketed to acclaim, seemingly overnight. They swooned crowds with their easy-on-the-ears ballads and entertained us with their boyish charm.

After disbanding, Styles went on his path, forging a successful solo career. He released two solo albums to critical acclaim, and during the 2010s, he had the song “Sign of the Times” as his #1.

Styles’s ability to find success in all genres of music speaks to his likely longevity in the world of music.

18. Bruno Mars

Listening to Bruno Mars, one might think they have found themselves in the glory days of soul music.

Offering beats in hip-hop, funk, soul, and R&B, Mars spent the 2010s at the top of the charts with several #1 hit songs, like “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.”

Mars and his band of talented instrumentalists released three successful studio albums during the decade and wowed crowds worldwide.

The singer has a knack for delivering music that genuinely gets audiences in the mood to dance, love, and sing along. The passion Mars incorporates into each song is unmatched by anyone in the industry.

19. Demi Lovato

The 2010s were a turbulent time for Demi Lovato, but that didn’t stop her from inspiring and thriving regardless.

Lovato got her start on the Disney Channel by acting in a few series and original movies. Lovato shared her vocal abilities in the films, which launched a music career.

As the 2010s progressed, Lovato’s themes matured. She shed the skin of her childhood days and expressed empowerment and curiosity in her lyrics, shown in her songs such as “Sorry Not Sorry.” She branded herself as a beacon of confidence and hope for anyone who needed the extra boost.

20. Calvin Harris

Though not primarily known for his vocal abilities, Calvin Harris knows what it takes to make a party jump.

Harris successfully delivered some of the most well-known and easily-recognized party anthems of the 2010s, like “Feel So Close” and “Summer.”

The Scottish DJ started by recording demos of electronic music in his bedroom. Harris took advantage of the MySpace craze by posting his music there, and his music caught the attention of the right people.

Social media led Harris to where he is today. His tracks have topped the charts and featured some of the most beloved names in music. Occasionally Harris sings for his songs as well, making him a multi-faceted talent.

21. Lizzo

In the final years of the decade, Lizzo gained the traction she’d been seeking for years.

Lizzo is the only true flutist to grace this list. She was classically trained in the flute as a child and carried her love of playing with her. She frequently showcases this in her music today.

After moving to Minneapolis as an adult, Lizzo began recording music. She signed to a label in 2016 but didn’t earn critical acclaim until her third studio album dropped in 2019. It contained the re-release of her song “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo’s first #1 on the charts.

Lizzo frequently sings about body positivity, female empowerment, and self-love. She carries her joy into the new decade as we go happily with her.

22. Sam Smith

The music career of English singer-songwriter Sam Smith first began when they featured on Disclosure’s “Latch” followed by “La La La” by Naughty Boy, the latter of which shot to #1.

It didn’t stop there though; their debut album, In the Lonely Hour, in 2014 was an instant success. Two of the album’s singles, “Money on My Mind” and “Stay with Me,” helped it climb to the top. The latter garnered Smith several awards—Song of the Year, Publisher of the Year, and Award-Winning Songs.

Their best work would probably be “Writing’s on the Wall,” which they co-wrote with Jimmy Napes, for the James Bond film Spectre. It went on to #1, after which they received a Guinness World Record for the first James Bond theme song to the charts in the UK.

Summing Up Our List Of Famous 2010s Singers

The 2010s saw an uprising in the music industry. With the birth of streaming music, listeners could easily access all their favorite music.

The artists of the 2010s did not disappoint. They delivered music that empowered us, made us dance, made us question systems, and gave us unity.

As the world continues to evolve, we know one thing: Music is a driving force that can bring about change and bring us together. The artists of the 2010s set the bar incredibly high for future musicians.

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Written by Laura Macmillan
Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.