19 Best 2010s Singers, All Popular Music Artists

Dan Reynolds

Lead singer of Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds has risen to become a hugely influential figure in percussion-heavy pop rock. No doubt, his singing style is being put on notice by the singers of tomorrow, who will one day soon reference Reynolds as their primary influence.

Imagine Dragons spent their early years (2008 through 2011) assembling their band, recording demos they uploaded to MySpace, and releasing several EPs.

Their 2012 single, “It’s Time,” would prove their breakthrough hit, reaching number 15 on the charts. Soon to follow was their debut album, Night Vision.

The music of Imagine Dragons has become ubiquitous and is practically an internet meme. Some love it, and some hate it, but either way, the Dragons have found a winning formula they don’t appear to have any intention of deviating from.

Will the 2010s be remembered as their heyday? Likely, yes. After 2012’s Night Visions, they went on to release Smoke + Mirrors in 2015, Evolve in 2017, and Origins in 2018.

So far, the 2020s have also proven a prolific time for the band, however, so you just never know what could happen next.

Dan Reynolds

Adam Levine

The always-fit and heavily inked Adam Levine is best known as the singer of the L.A. pop outfit Maroon 5. The band has had considerable longevity and originally began its 30-year run in 1994 as Kara’s Flowers.

The band started in high school and would go on to self-release their independent album, We Like Digging? In 1995. The band caught the attention of Reprise Records, who signed them in 1997.

Unfortunately, their album went over like a lead balloon. So, the members of the band decided to focus on college before re-launching as Maroon 5 in 2001.

Having signed with an indie label, the band would go on to release Songs About Jane in 2002, which was spurred on by the success of tunes like “She Will Be Loved,” “This Love,” and “Harder to Breathe.”

By 2009, Levine felt the band didn’t have much of a life left. He was quick to take back that statement, however, and Maroon 5 would continue their touring efforts in 2010.

In 2011, they would headline the Super Bowl XLV pre-show, perform at Rock in Rio, and even appear on Saturday Night Live. The 2010s were quickly shaping up to be a prolific time for the band.

That was about the time that Maroon 5’s keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael decided to go on hiatus. The band kept on, however, beginning work on Overexposed, which featured hits like “Payphone” and “One More Night.”

The 2010s would also see the release of V and Red Pill Blues.

I’m not a fan of Levine’s singing style myself, but that will not stop the band’s continued domination.

Adam Levine

Tyler Joseph

Known best as the singer and ukulele player of Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph will probably be another one of those singers whose influence will be felt on young up-and-comers in a matter of a few years.

The duo got its start in 2009, though Joseph and drummer Josh Dun met at a much younger age and would not come together as a duo until later. Joseph would get to work on his music, releasing a solo basement EP, No Phun Intended in 2007.

Joseph would go on to form a band with Nick Thomas and Chris Salih. The band would release their self-titled album, Twenty One Pilots, in 2009, tour locally, and participate in Battle of the Bands contests.

Salih and Thomas both left the group in 2011. Salih introduced Joseph to Dun, and when Dun saw what Joseph was up to, he was done (I know, bad pun).

The group went on to release Regional at Best in 2011, and they kept building their fan base, touring, and posting to social media until they played a sold-out show at Newport Music Hall in Columbus. This, along with their Regional at Best tour finally landed them a contract with Fueled by Ramen.

In the 2010s, we would also see the release of Vessel, Blurryface, and Trench, spawning hits like “Holding On to You,” “Stressed Out,” “Ride,” “Jumpsuit,” and “Nico and the Niners.”

Tyler Joseph

Miley Cyrus

With her Hannah Montana years mostly in the rearview mirror, smoky-voiced singer and daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus would eventually find her stride as an often high, hypersexual, twerking sensation in the 2010s.

Miley’s final hurrah with Hannah Montana and journey to solo success, however, wasn’t without its pitfalls. She knew she wanted to embrace a more mature image, but her early releases didn’t do all that well. Her final soundtrack as Hannah Montana was also a commercial failure.

Cyrus would also face quite a bit of controversy during this time, and she would be dropped from film projects too. Having appeared on multiple popular releases like “Fall Down” and “23,” though, Miley would finally find her way again.

Her “comeback” single, “We Can’t Stop,” hit the top of the charts in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Soon on its heels was “Wrecking Ball” and its music video, which showed Miley swinging naked on – you guessed it – a wrecking ball.

It wasn’t all twerking and simulated sex for the young starlet, who would follow up 2013’s Bangerz with Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015) and Younger Now (2017). But what it did for Madonna, it did for Miley too.

Miley Cyrus

Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen originally gained mainstream attention by placing third on Canadian Idol, which was in its fifth season, in 2007. Jepsen followed up her appearance with her debut album, Tug of War, in Canada, in 2008. It would not see an international release, however, until 2011.

And while not all fans or listeners know the exact details of what happened next, they will no doubt appreciate the reference. In 2012, her silly single, “Call Me Maybe,” with the help of Justin Bieber, would become her breakthrough hit. It even became the best-selling single of the year.

Jepsen has kept the releases coming. After 2012’s Kiss, she also released Emotion in 2015 and Dedicated in 2019.

Emotion was very different from her bubble-gum pop-oriented Kiss and was inspired by alternative styles and 1980s music. Its lead single, “I Really Like You,” at least to me, was no less goofy (maybe even goofier) than “Call Me Maybe,” but it was nevertheless a top-five hit.

Dedicated did all right too, even if there weren’t any standout hits.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Adele

Having just found fame with 2008’s 19, the 2010s would remain prolific for the English singer-songwriter Adele.

There are usually a few years in between any Adele release, and the 2010s would see the two albums – 21 and 25 – come to fruition.

Her failed relationship would inspire much of the material heard on 21, which ended up becoming a bit of a sleeper hit. It was never expected to become as successful as it ultimately did, and it even became the world’s best-selling album of 2011 and 2012.

Unless you’ve been following her from the start, 21 is what you know her for – especially “Rolling in the Deep,” “Someone Like You,” and “Rumour Has It.”

Her 2015 release, 25 would come to incorporate electronic elements, but the lyrical melodrama is just as present as it was on 21, and you can add to that nostalgia, motherhood, regret, and new love as key themes.

The release was just as explosive as the last, if not more so, with songs like “Hello,” “When We Were Young,” and “Water Under the Bridge.”

Adele

Rihanna

Rihanna was well-established in the 2000s and probably could have ridden her success to the bank in the 2010s. She didn’t, though, because, between 2010 and 2012, she would release an album per year, yielding Loud, Talk That Talk, and Unapologetic. She would also release Anti in 2016.

The 2010s, however, would also see the pop and R&B star adding fashion mogul to her resume. Now, where most music entrepreneurs have modest and humble successes with their “side” ventures, Rihanna’s fashion empire has become a force to reckon with. Her estimated net worth now totals $1.4 billion beating out Taylor Swift’s nevertheless impressive $600 million.

Rihanna would have more than enough hits in the 2010s, including “What’s My Name?,” “Diamonds,” and “Work,” among others.

Rihanna

Marcus Mumford

Marcus Mumford, of course, is none other than the lead singer of the London folk band Mumford & Sons.

Mumford & Sons was formed in 2007. As a proponent of the so-called “West London folk scene” (which has been downplayed by the band), Mumford & Sons would find management in 2008. Labels had an eye on them, but reps were clear that they weren’t ready for mainstream yet.

The band kept growing its fan base, however, and they even embarked on a massive UK tour. This all culminated in an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and an EP titled Love Your Ground.

The band recorded their self-funded Sigh No More in 2009, signing with Island Records, Dew Process, Glassnote Records, and Cooperative Music, each representing them in different regions of the world.

The lead single, “Little Lion Man” made a bit of a splash, and things took off from there.

During the 2010s, the band would release Babel, Wilder Mind, and Delta. You will no doubt remember “I Will Wait,” “The Wolf,” and “Guiding Light,” among others.

Marcus Mumford

John Legend

Singer and pianist John Legend would successfully establish himself in the 2000s, finding breakthrough success in 2004. As his popularity continued to rise in the late 2000s, he picked up three Grammy Awards (and that’s just one highlight).

Legend would begin touring in full force from 2011 to 2015, releasing his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, along the way.

In the 2010s, Legend would also release 2016’s Darkness and Light, as well as 2018’s A Legendary Christmas.

His career may have gone through some ups and downs, but on balance, Legend has come out on top.

Reference “All of Me,” “Love Me Now,” and “Bring Me Love.”

John Legend

Top 2010s Singers, Final Thoughts

What did you like best about the 2010s? Which singers were your favorite? Is there anyone else you would add to this list?

We hope you enjoyed this guide, and we look forward to your return.

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