The music business is one of the most competitive markets in the world. Falling from the sky-high stardom is as common here as going viral within hours. But some musicians have successfully managed to stay under the spotlight for years, some even decades. Obviously, they are great singers, but is that all? Maybe no. The ability to maintain a positive attitude and consistently making good music is what it takes to be famous.
In this list of the top 20 most popular singers in the world 2021, you’ll see some rising stars and some veterans but all of them have what it takes to keep making it to these kinds of lists for years.
1. The Weeknd
In 2021, The Weeknd won the foremost 10 Billboard Music Awards, and 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards, including Top Artist of the Year, making him the most popular singer in the world. The 31-year-old is known for his works in the R&B and pop genres. Starting his career with some mixtapes, he soon achieved the highest order of fame in the commercial platforms. His albums touch the heart of millions of people, his dark and romantic touch brings out the most vulnerable of us in no time. Some of Weeknd’s most successful albums are Beauty Behind the Madness, Starboy, etc. One of the highest record-selling musicians of all time is devoted to making good music and spreading the message of love.
2. Justin Beiber
Justin Biber is probably the youngest singer to become famous in every corner of the world thanks to his manager Scooter Braun. The 16-year old singer’s debut album My Life 2.0 made him the youngest to get on top of the Billboard 200. His success only got piled up over time. Some of the most popular pop songs like”Cold Water”, “Let Me Love You”, “I’m the One” belongs to him. The winner of two Grammys, a record of 21 MTV Europe Music Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards, 18 American Music Awards, has released 6 albums so far and with the last one Justice released in 2021. Besides being one of the most famous singers in the world, Justin is also a prominent fashion figure with an appreciation for tattoos.
3. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is the latest addition to the list of prominent celebrities in the music industry. The blasting 2001-born newcomer has released singles like “Everything I Wanted”, “Therefore I Am” accumulating billions of views. She is one of the very few singers of her generation with near 100 million Insta followers. People first discovered Billie on Soundcloud and once she signed up with Interscope Records, songs like “Bad Guy” received millions and billions of views and streaming all over the world. The singer who has received 7 Grammys before touching 20, surely has what it takes to become a legendary musician.
4. Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande is the most followed female on Instagram and the third most followed person in the world with 239 million followers. Every song is a hit song when you have millions of followers on Instagram, or so they say. Starting her career around 2013, the singer has so far released 6 albums with the latest one Positions being released in 2020. Grande well known for her steadfast stand in social issues is often included in the most influential person list of magazines like Time and Forbes. Billboard named Ariana Woman of the Year in 2018.
5. Ed Sheeran
The mesmerizing British truly transcends every border with his magical voice. Ed is actually one of those artists who doesn’t need luxurious show-offs, exotics destinations, hot girls in his videos. Keeping it simple is his mantra. Listening to any of his songs like “Castle on the Hill”, “Thinking Out Loud”, “Perfect” — he makes this very clear that storytelling through a song is still the most important part of his artistry. Ed has so far released four albums, the last one being No.6 Collaborations Project. His long list of awards includes four Grammy, an MBE from the British Royal Family, and the second in the list of most-streamed singers on Spotify.
6. Taylor Swift
We like to call Taylor Swift the princess of pop music. She is an absolute delight to listen to and her performance, if needed to summarise in one word, is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Taylor started her career experimenting with country songs in her album of 2006. Since then the experiment process has been pretty consistent in the albums like Fearless, Red, Reputation with 9 in total. The 11-times Grammy winner’s playfield includes pop, electropop, alternative pop, etc. The musical powerhouse released two albums in 2020, Folklore and Evermore. The tremendously successful album duo brought Taylor a Grammy and Real Estate on top of the Billboard 200 chart. The legendary singer never ceases to surprise her fans.
7. Selena Gomez
The heartthrob of pop Selena has redefined herself time and again. The girl from Texas started her career in a TV show, The Wizards of the Waverly Place. Besides producing great music and performing in TV shows, Selena has worked in several movies including “Another Cinderella Story”, “Monte Carlo”, and “A Rainy Day in New York”. Out of her three solo albums, Stars Dance, Revival, Rare, each of them has taken her to another level making her one of the most popular female singers of our generation. The singer was named Billboard Women of the Year in 2017.
8. Zayn Malik
Some people love Zayn for his music, some are just flat for his looks. It’s still a mystery to us how someone can look so hot and cool at the same time. However, keeping the controversial issues aside, let’s focus on the musician who has gathered a fan following of millions through his music. The former member of One Direction has released three albums so far. He has won American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award for his song. Zayn’s solo career started in 2015 when he left the boy band and joined the RCA records. Since then it has always been an upward curve.
9. Dua Lipa
Dua’s career hasn’t even touched the five-year mark yet but that doesn’t mean she can’t be the UK’s one of the most popular singers. Her first album, Dua Lipa, came out in 2017. It was a success by all means. Got to number three on the UK albums chart, topped the UK singles chart, even won a couple of Brit Awards. Having successfully established her name in the industry, Dua has so far released only two albums. Second, Future Nostalgia became an international success in 15 countries. Dua won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for the album. The rising star released several hits in 2021.
10. Adam Levine
The lead singer of the band Maroon 5, is one of the most popular pop stars of our time. Maroon 5 has been on the top of pop bands since they started in the early 2000s. Songs like “Girls Like You”, “Payphone”, and “Memories” are crushing it even today, and to speak of the man behind the voice, his talents are too many to describe. Besides being a singer, Adam is also a successful entrepreneur running a music instrument brand and some other businesses.
11. Miley Cyrus
Like most of our entries, Miley deserves a separate article on her because of the number of contributions she has made. The famous actress from “Hannah Montana” literally shocked the audience by retaining her success as a child actress. So far, she has released seven albums, almost all of them ranked on the Billboard 200 top five list. Time 100 listed her on seven consecutive issues from ‘08 to ’14. Billboard also placed the star of the Cyrus family on their Greatest of All-Time Artists chart. So, if you didn’t believe in Miley, it’s about time you give her a chance.
12. Shawn Mendes
The Canadian music prodigy brings a different kind of vibe to the table. His masterful ability to express very different stories by words and tune is just unmatchable. You may love him for his mavericks in the song “There Is Nothing Holding Me Back”, you may love him for his flamboyance in “Senorita”, or maybe his take on domestic violence in “Treat You Better” melted your heart. Shawn has a wide range and unmeasurable depth when it comes to music. He has so far released four albums and carries the badge for being the youngest male artist ever to have four number Billboard 200 albums.
13. Post Malone
The reason Post Malone is the only rapper in this list says a lot about his success history and popularity. Post started his singing career officially in 2016 and within a couple of years, he had two albums on top of the Billboard 200. His early singles were also frequently finding themselves in the R&B and Hip Hop list. Post is undoubtedly an authority figure on rap sharing a seat with singers like Drake and others. The leading tattooed rapper’s most significant achievements include six Grammy awards nominations, a record for being the first solo artist ever to rank simultaneously on both Billboard Rap Airplay and Adult Contemporary.
Khalid made his entry into this massively competitive industry with a double-platinum album American Teen at the age of 19. The rest is history. His next project was with Logic in the single “1-800-273-8255” that received a Grammy in the same year. Within one year of being in the industry, he started collabing with musicians like Halsey, Benny Blanco, Normani, etc. He worked with Shawn Mendes in a single “Youth” depicting the turbulent socio-political situations of some of the hotspots. Khalid, who has two albums yet. Free Spirit, his second album released atop the Billboard 200.
15. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato started their career with acting. After appearing in a couple of TV shows and films, it was time to consider music seriously. Their first song wasn’t a single or an EP but actually a movie playback, which Demi recorded for the movie “Camp Rock”. It peaked on Billboard Hot 100 at number nine, consequently, they signed with Hollywood Records and released the first album in 2008 named Don’t Forget. It gained instant popularity and went up to number two on Billboard 200. Since then, the two-times Grammy-nominated artist has released seven albums with the latest one being Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting Over.
16. Sam Smith
Sam’s first album got out in 2014. In the Lonely Hour — their first album was a massive success. A bunch of singles like “Money on My Mind”, “Stay With Me” made it to both national and international level charts. In total the album received four Grammy awards. They also won the Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for his single “Writing’s on the Wall”. Sam’s three albums are all huge hits in their own rights. Sam is undoubtedly one of the most talented singers of our time and they will continue to mesmerize us with such music.
17. Doja Cat
Doja Cat is one of the rising stars of modern music. She released her debut single in 2014 but took a few years off from music due to personal reasons. Once Doja made her comeback in 2018, her first album Amala got released. The internet was kind to her as she went viral for the Mooo! Meme and the songs started getting tons of attention. But that wasn’t all, soon Doja collaborated with singers like Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Megan Thee Stallion. Each of her singles started getting into the Billboard charts. The singer has so far released two albums, with a few multi-platinum singles.
18. Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X is a huge youngster in the hip-hop genre. He entered the market in 2018-19 with his debut single “Old Town Road”. The song was a diamond-certified single and stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with a record-breaking duration of 19 weeks. Following his success on the single, he released his first EP named 7. He has received two Grammy awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Forbes included him in their 30 under 30 lists, while Time named him under 25 of the most influential people on the internet. The rising figure of Country rap and hip has released his first album in 2021, Montero.
19. Chris Brown
Chris Brown has been in the industry for the past two decades or so and still getting more and more desirable like a bottle of fine old wine. His first album was released in 2004. Chris’ first single “Run It” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With a grand total of nine albums, his consistency has made him shine more than most of his contemporaries. However controversial his personal life is when it comes to music the Grammy-winning singer is most sincere and dedicated.
20. Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo came in the limelight for her fantastic performance in Bizaardvark, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. But that’s not her only identity. She released her first single in 2020. The song “Drivers License” became so popular that an 18-year old singer became the first to touch 1 billion in streams in 2020. Following up on Olivia’s success, she released another single — “Deja Vu”. Though the second one didn’t do as well yet it was a success too. If she continues this way, within a very brief time Olivia is going to be the next Billie Eilish in pop.