With the emergence of online streaming and internet fan culture, the 2010s have been a transformative era for the pop landscape. Not only most figures have changed, but the musical genres, the way people get music, and trends have also experienced a drastic change. Here are some of the top pop females who thrived in the dynamic years of the 2010s.
1. Cardi B
Cardi B entered the pop scene through her debut album ‘Invasion Of Privacy’ and spawned her smash hit ‘Bodak Yellow.’ With its fresh and aggressive rhymes, the single made her first female rapper to top the Hot 100 after almost two decades. It was followed by another hit ‘I Like It,’ which further boosted her whirlwind breakthrough. She capped the decade by winning a Grammy for the ‘Best Rap Album’ category in 2019.
2. Jessie J
Touting soulful voice, smart pop sense, and a pragmatic appeal, the English singer-songwriter Jessie J stormed the early 2010s with chart-topping hits, ‘Price Tag,’ ‘Bang-Bang,’ and ‘Domino.’ The first of which catapulted her to fame in 2001, selling over a million copies until the following year. It peaked at number 23 in the U.S. Hot 100 and reached number one in countries, such as Ireland, France, and New Zealand.
3. Selena Gomez
Selene Gomez is a multi-talented artist who entered the pop scene in the late 2000s with her band ‘Selena Gomez and The Scene.’ It was in 2013 when she embarked on a solo journey as a performer and released her debut album ‘Stars Dance.’ The pop-dance record became number one on the Billboard 200, and its single, ‘Come Get It,’ entered the top ten on the Hot 100. Banking on strong vocals, emotional ballads, EDM, and dubstep, her stardom grew steadily over the years as she explored new horizons.
Behind the limelight, Sia was responsible for writing hit songs for the likes of Flo Rida, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Beyonce. In 2014, Sia made a name for herself as a solo performer through her album ‘1000 Forms Of Fear,’ which produced her biggest hit ‘Chandelier.’ Two years later, she released another album, ‘This Is Acting,’ that spawned ‘Cheap Thrills,’ another smash single.
Lorde rose to stardom through her electro-pop debut hit, ‘Royals,’ in 2013. The song was off her debut album, Pure Heroine, that touted sonic cohesiveness, compelling lyrics, and sheer creativity. Those were elements enough to earn her a Grammy nomination for the said record. What Lorde offered is a dark deviation from the usual vibrant pop of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
6. Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea is a multi-platinum Australian rapper that launched into mainstream pop in 2014. Her first album, ‘The New Classic,’ debuted straight at number 1 on the Billboard Rap Chart. It was a significant feat as Azalea became the first female international artist to achieve the distinction. She was renowned for her smash singles, such as ‘Fancy,’ ‘Black Window,’ and ‘Problem’ featuring Ariana Grande.
A determined pop singer-songwriter, Kesha started her career behind the limelight, writing songs for the Veronicas and contributing as background vocals for Britney Spears. She first gained public attention when she was featured in Flo Rida’s hit single ‘Right Round.’ A year later, she released her debut album, ‘Animal,’ and produced her smash club dance hit ‘Tik ToK,’ which she also co-wrote.
8. Ellie Goulding
Leaning on her distinct soprano voice, lyrical prowess, and emotionally moving songs, Ellie Goulding quickly soared into stardom through her debut studio album, ‘Lights.’ However, it was in 2015 when Goulding established herself as a pop artist after releasing the smash single ‘Love Like You Do’ from her third studio album, ‘Delirium.’ The same single gave her first Grammy Award nomination for the ‘Best Pop Solo Performance’ category.
9. Lana Del Rey
Boasting a distinct type of pop that centered on glamor, melancholy and tragic romance, Lana Del Rey gained popularity via her second album, ‘Born To Die,’ in 2012. She co-wrote every single on the record and provided decades with songs, each filled with stunning ideas, such as ‘Video Games,’ ‘Blue Jeans,’ and ‘National Anthem.’ Sure enough, Lana Del Rey became the tragic, romantic musical figure of the decade.
10. Dua Lipa
In 2015, Dua Lipa arrived in fashion through her self-titled debut record that reached millions of sales worldwide. She blended her soulful vocals with a catchy, rebellious style of pop, closely resembling Pink, Sia, and Jessie J. Her breakthrough hit ‘New Rules,’ spent 45 weeks on the Billboard Pops Chart. Its video made her the youngest female artist to achieve one billion views on YouTube.
11. Demi Lovato
From being a Disney pop star, Demi Lovato steered away from the shadow of her Camp Rock Days through her debut album ‘Don’t Forget in the late 2000s. In 2011, she solidified her status as a star with the album ‘Unbroken,’ with the smash single ‘Skyscraper.’ Its second single, ‘Give Your Heart A Break,’ peaked only at number 16 in the Billboard charts, but the album still remained successful, receiving a three-time platinum status in the United States alone.
12. Miley Cyrus
Crossing different genres from pop to country, indie, and hip-hop, Miley has become one of the most influential female artists in pop culture in the decade. She first established her presence through her first singles, ‘The Climb,’ ‘Party In The USA,’ and ‘7 Things.’ Then, as the decade progressed, her sound became more eclectic, releasing smash hits, such as ‘Adore You,’ ‘We Can’t Stop,’ and ‘Wrecking Ball.’
13. Nicki Minaj
With her unique style and inescapable charisma, Nicki Minaj launched into stardom through her debut album, ‘Pink Friday’ in 2010. She established herself releasing hit after hit, making the American rapper one of the best crossover pop artists in line with Drake, Missy Elliot, and Beyonce. She was renowned for her smash hits, ‘Super Bass,’ ‘Anaconda,’ and ‘Starships’ that not only topped the charts but recorded hundreds of millions in streams.
Blending pop, R&B, dance, adult contemporary, and EDM material, Rihanna has been a consistent figure in the upper stretches of the pop charts since her debut in the late 2000s. By the turn of the new decade, Rihanna continued to release hit after hit, such as ‘Only Girl,’ ‘Where Have You Been,’ ‘We Found Love,’ and ‘Diamonds.’ Today, she boasts 9 Grammys and 12 Billboard Music Awards under her name.
15. Katy Perry
Mixing classic pop-culture with the fresh trends, the bodacious and flirty Katy Perry instantly became the decades pop persona. She cemented her position as pop superstar through her album ‘Teenage Dream,’ which spawned million-selling singles, such as ‘California Girls’, ‘Last Friday Night,’ and ‘Firework.’ Her 2013 album, ‘Prism,’ was also a massive success, with smash hits like ‘Roar’ and ‘Dark Horse.’ Perry is the only music performer to achieve three Digital Single Diamond Awards from RIAA.
16. Ariana Grande
When Ariana Grande first broke through the limelight in 2013 with her hit single ‘The Way,’ many thought she was the heir to Mariah Carey’s throne due to her powerful vocals. However, in 2014, Grande proved to more than just an inheritor but instead made a name for herself through the hip-hop EDM hit, ‘Problem.’ She continued to evolve after that, releasing singles like ‘Bang-Bang,’ ‘Love Me Harder,’ and ‘Break Free.’ Today, she is one of the brightest pop stars, dazzling the crowd with her iconic ponytail, babydoll dresses, and gusty self-confidence
With a career that already spanned almost two decades, Queen Bey isn’t done yet. In the 2010s, she kept her status as one of the most prominent female pop stars. She proved that more than just being a powerful singer, a creative songwriter, and an incredible dance, she was a transformative artist as well. It became very apparent with her recent albums, ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Homecoming: The Live Album,’ with the latter winning her another Grammy in 2019.
Banking on the mezzo-soprano voice and relatable songs that talked about anger, heartbreak, and regret, there’s no wonder why Adele quickly catapulted to stardom in the 2010s. Her second album, ‘21’, is what made her a worldwide superstar, spawning hits such as ‘Someone Like You,’ ‘Set Fire To The Rain,’ and ‘Rolling In The Deep.’ She went on hiatus due to a necessary operation on her vocal cords. But, she regained status in 2015, with her album, ‘25,’ and startled the pop scene with her powerful ‘Hello.’
19. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is one of the greatest artists produced by pop culture. After her first two albums in the late nineties, her extravagance and creativity never stopped, as evident on her subsequent albums ‘Born This Way’ in 2011, ‘ARTPOP’ in 2013, and ‘Cheek to Cheek’ in 2014. What made people love her is her value for self-love and self-expression, outside pop’s giddiness, and her ever-changing exterior. She boasts over 30 million worldwide album sales, and more than 150 million sales, placing her as one of the most prominent living forces of the pop industry.
20. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift was 2010’s biggest pop phenomenon. She was a prominent start that seamlessly crossed from her country roots to the eclectic mainstream pop. What makes Swift standout is her sharp, savvy lyrical writing prowess, which allowed her to make every song personal. While she started her career in the last stretch of the 2000s, she moved to superstardom status through her 2010s albums, ‘Red’ in 2012, ‘1989’ in 2014, and ‘Reputation’ in 2017. Today, she continued to command the pop scene, a realm which she deservingly belongs to.
Amid the drastic changes that happened in the 2010s, these female pop figures thrive, made a name for themselves, and brought us some of the best music of the decade. Have you heard of them all?