Top Artists of the Decade

1. Drake: Drake has been in the entertainment business from 2001 and on, and debuted his first album, “Thank Me Later”  in 2010. The album was a success, and it even earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Over the years, Drake released many albums and mixtapes which all brought him success. He is among the world’s best selling artists, with over 170 million records sold, he is also ranked as the world’s highest certified digital singles artist by the Recording Industry Association of America. Drake holds many Billboard chart records and has won four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, 27 Billboard Music Awards, and more, solidifying his spot as number one on this list. He has been on top of the game, and his achievements back that statement up.

2. Beyonce: Beyonce first rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, and while in the group she released her first album, and eventually released her second studio album in 2006 after Destiny’s child disbanded. She then continued on with acting, until releasing the album “4” in 2011, and then “Beyonce” in 2013, and “Lemonade” in 2016, two very critically acclaimed albums. She became the first and only music act in the Billboard 200 chart history to debut at number one with their first six solo studio albums. Beyoncé is one of the best selling artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide as a solo artist and a further 60 million records with Destiny’s Child. This solidifies her spot as number two on this list. 

3. Justin Bieber: Justin Bieber released his debut EP, “My World”, in late 2009 at a young age, and it was certified platinum in the US. But, in 2010, Bieber released his first studio album “My World 2.0” which contained his popular single “Baby”, which debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 12 million units. The album was also certified triple platinum in the US. In the following years, Bieber released three more studio albums, and then went on to participate in various collaborations. Bieber has sold an estimated 150 million records, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. His US album and singles sales total 44.7 million. He may not be as popular in the music industry as he was at the beginning of the decade, but there is no ignoring the fact that Bieber once used to be at the top of the game. And despite not even putting out any recent albums, he has maintained a very dedicated fanbase. 

4. Bruno Mars: Bruno Mars rose to fame in 2010 when he released his successful singles “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B and “Billionaire” by Travis McCoy, both songs which featured his vocals on the hooks. His debut studio album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” in 2010 peaked at number three on the Billboard chart in the US and nabbed number one in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This album created the popular singles “Just the Way You Are”, “Grenade”, and “The Lazy Song”. Mars went on to release two more studio albums, “Unorthodox Jukebox” and “24K Magic”, both very popular albums with popular singles that brought Mars great success. Mars has sold over 200 million singles, and 26 million albums worldwide, solidifying him as one of the best selling artists of all time. He has released seven number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since his career launched in 2010, attaining his first five faster than any male artist since Elvin Presley.

5. Adele: After her debut studio album “19” in 2008 critically and commercially acclaimed success, Adele released her second studio album in 2011 titled “21”. The album dwarfed the success of her debut, earning her numerous awards in 2012, including an insane number of six Grammy Awards. The album has been certified platinum 17 times in the UK, and overall the fourth best selling album in the nation. And, because of this album, Adele has been mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. She was the first female artist to have two albums in the top five of the Billboard 200 at the same time and two singles in the top five of Billboard Hot 100. “21” is also the longest running number one album by a female solo artist in the history of the UK and US album charts. “25” was her third studio album and earned her five Grammy Awards and more. Adele is obviously one of the world’s best selling artists, with more sales than 120 million records, securing her spot on this list.

6. Taylor Swift: After her debut success, Taylor Swift released her 2010 album “Speak Now”, which won her even more fame, two Grammy awards, and said album even became her first to come out with over a million copies in the US. Over the years she released two albums titled “Red” and “1989”, albums that came out with popular singles such as, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”, and “Blank Space”. Her sixth album “Reputation” was released in 2017 and made her the only musical act to have four consecutive albums sell one million copies in their first week in the US. She has sold more than 50 million albums, making her also one of the best selling music artists of all time, and she is the most awarded musical act at the American Music Awards and the most awarded woman at the Billboard Music Awards.

7. One Direction: One Direction came to be in London, England in 2010. The band is made of four males, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. There used to be a fifth member, Zayn Malik, but he left the group in 2015. All of One Direction’s albums topped the charts in most major areas, and their popular singles did the same. Their most memorable singles include, “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Story of My Life”. The group has won almost 200 awards, and they earned an estimated $75 million in 2013. The band has sold a total of 50 million records worldwide. They are currently on hiatus, the four members pursuing personal projects. Despite not releasing music as a group, they are still popular as individual artists, and are still popular to this day. 

8. BTS: BTS is a group of seven South Korean men, who when they first debuted, they weren’t that popular. It took them years until they got their first big win with their album “Wings”. But once they released the first installment of the Love Yourself series, an EP titled “Love Yourself: Her”, they broke into the US markets with the popular single “DNA”. They followed this up with an album called “Love Yourself: Tear” in 2018, that dwarfed their previous success, and soon released another installment, “Love Yourself: Answer”, than in turn also dwarfed both previous releases in numbers. The band became the first Korean act to top the Billboard 200 with their albums  “Love Yourself: Tear” and “Map of the Soul: Persona” in 2019. This made BTS the first group after the Beatles to have earned three number one albums in less than a year. BTS have done other great feats, such as selling out Wembley Stadium, and even broke the record for the single highest-grossing time in Rose Bowl Stadium history. As of 2019, BTS accounts for $4.65 billion to the South Korean economy, showing just how powerful and influential they are. Despite all of this, BTS is not higher on this list because they only came into the US chart spotlight over the course of these past few years, and are on this list because of their immense growth in fame and achievements over those years. 

9. Nicki Minaj: Nicki Minaj released her first studio album “Pink Friday” in 2010, which immediately gained her some attention and peaked at the number one spot on the US Billboard 200. Minaj has, over the years, released four total albums and has various memorable singles such as “Starships” and “Super Bass”. Minaj has contributed a lot to the rap music industry, especially regarding the fact of her gender. Minaji has been called one of the most influential female rap artists of all time, and some have even given her the nickname of the “Princess of Rap”.  Throughout her career, Minaj has earned multiple awards in various award shows such as the American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. She is one of the best selling artists of all time, having sold 30 million singles as a single artist, and even 60 million as a featured artist. 

10. Carrie Underwood: Carrie Underwood, even before 2010, has been incredibly successful, with having the best selling solo female debut album in country music history, and the best selling country album of the last 16 years in 2005. In 2012, Underwood released her fourth Underwood’s fourth album, “Blown Away” in 2012 and it earned her a Grammy Award and was that year’s second best-selling release by a female artist. Her next two albums brought her even more success and awards, and with her sixth album “Cry Pretty” in 2018 she even became the only woman to hit the Billboard 200 with four country albums. Underwood is one of the most successful music artists, and she has sold 70 million records worldwide. She is on this list due to her immense success in earlier years, deserving this spot on this list. 

Honorable Mentions:
Lady Gaga, Post Malone, and Ed Sheeran