9 Boy Banders Who Tried Going Solo Way Before Zayn

This morning Zayn Malik began his quest for solo stardom by releasing his first single “Pillow Talk,” which is 100% about having sex, most likely with Gigi Hadid.

But all anybody really wants to know is: will Zayn’s solo career be a success or nah?


There’s a sad truth about boy bands. No matter how popular, talented, successful they are, they have a short shelf life. After they break up, though, there are always one or two members who think it’s a good idea to keep on going as a solo artist. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t. If we’re being honest, most times it doesn’t. 

While it’s too soon to tell whether Zayn’s going to be the Justin Timberlake or the JC Chasez of 1D, we can examine the first singles of nine former boy-band members to see how Zayn’s attempt stacks up. 


Nick Lachey – “Shut Up”

Formerly of 98 Degrees and “Newlyweds” fame, Nick Lachey failed to make a dent on the charts with his first single. But watching him dance in front of a trailer park while singing about how the world stops when him and his lover take off their clothes is three minutes and 12 seconds of your life that you will be fine with donating to the cause.


Brian Littrell – “Welcome Home (You)”

While “Welcome Home (You)” was a big hit on the Christian charts, unsurprisingly the rest of the world wasn’t ready to embrace Brian’s new career path, and so nothing much came of his gamble. At least he followed his heart, even if it drove him to create sappy music videos that could double as Hallmark original movies. 


Omarion – “O”

While we’ll always have a special place in our heart for the guy who made our sexy bodies go “bump bump bump,” nobody really remembers B2K. What they do remember is Omarion, who started off his solo career with a number-one album and is still running the game while promoting buttplay, because that’s just the way he rolls. 


Ricky Martin – “Livin’ La Vida Loca”

Okay, so technically “Livin‘ La Vida Loca” wasn’t the ex-Menudo member’s first single as a solo artist, but it was the first to make it big in the United States, making him a household name we all still remember, even if he hasn’t released anything major since 2000. 


Nick Carter – “Help Me”

Nick Carter may have been the most popular backstreet boy, but he struggled to stand out as a solo artist. Which is probably why he was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars last year. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.


Justin Timberlake – “Like I Love You”

Justin Timberlake is the rare boy bander whose solo career flourished. He hit the ground running with his first single, and even managed to make hanging out in the parking lot of a 7/11 look cool.


Joe Jonas – “See No More”

Let’s just say that there’s a reason why you probably don’t even remember this song coming out. Here’s hoping Joe finds more success with his new band DNCE. 


Ashley Parker Angel – “Let U Go”

Did you forget about Ashley Parker Angel? Did you forget about O-Town? Even though his first single, “Let U Go,” enjoyed a modest success and a couple of weeks at the top of the TRL countdown, now Ashley Parker Angel is just somebody that we used to know.


Nick Jonas – “Chains”

Obviously, we all know how this one worked out too. Although Nick’s first single “Chains” was a song you either loved or felt meh about, his second single “Jealous” was a major success, going triple platinum in the US. While Nick isn’t quite at Justin status, it’s clear he’s on the right path to get there. The fact that he’s super hot doesn’t hurt.

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