Every member in a band has a specific role based on where they talents lie. Some are meant to play instruments, others are meant to sing; each one is key in bringing the band’s sound together. They consider themselves a family, a team, in which all members contribute and have a say. Yet we often hear about lead singers starting solo projects, venturing out on their own. With their band they already have fame, fortune and fans; so what then compels these lead singers to cut the cord and move forward?                                                                                                                                                                                                             Reason #1
Because they need a side project.
Lead singers in this category have every intention of continuing to make music with their band, but need to take a break to explore other musical directions. It’s not an ego trip or a diva moment, they just want to do their own thing for a while. Clear their heads. Gwen Stefani did it with No Doubt. They were at the top of their game with the release of Rock Steady in 2001 and then Gwen decided to follow her own inspirations and explore her creative mind. By herself. So she went out and got herself some Harajuku Girls, put out two solo albums, launched a clothing line and had two kids somewhere in there. In September 2012, No Doubt is finally set to release their next album. This is a classic case of having your cake and eating it too. Stefani wins no matter what: not only does she remain the face of the band, but now due to all the extra exposure as a solo artist, there’s even more attention on her. It becomes distracting and as a result, the rest of the band fades into the background.

Reason #2
Because they can do better.
This is most common in groups that feature more than one lead singer, because they inevitably end up competing with each other so they don’t get replaced. Justin Timberlake is a perfect example. As ‘N Sync gained popularity, it was abundantly clear he had the best voice. The division of vocals started to work in Timberlake’s favour and he became their unofficial lead singer. Although they were doing incredibly well, he knew (or at least his people did) he could do better on his own, no sharing required. Like he used the rest of them as supporting acts to launch himself. Well we all know how that turned out. As for the the rest of the group they all sort of fell apart and only re-appeared on reality television and as a wannabe astronaut. This comes off as a clear decision, no confusion, no looking back. Everyone appears to be amicable about the situation, everyone has moved on, gone their separate ways. Timberlake’s the only one left in the music industry and let’s face it, he deserves to be there.

Reason #3                                                                                                                                       Because they think they can do better.                                                                                                    A lot of the time lead singers will go off and do their own thing seemingly to make a statement. To irritate band members, because of their own egos, because they think they are the band. The break up is usually unfriendly, chalked up to irreconcilable differences, too many differing opinions and no one getting along. It usually involves storming out of a room and dramatically slamming the door. Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, fits right in here. During the 90s, they were one of the top grunge bands to enter the scene. They dropped five albums in eight years and then broke up abruptly in 1997. He’s a talented musician who thought he could do better, thought he was better. Since then, Cornell released a solo album in 1999, followed by three albums with a new band Audioslave, who broke up in 2007. Next he put out three more solo albums, last of which was released in 2011. But last year, Soundgarden decided to reunite and go on tour. So many years gone by and he decides to crawl back to his original band. Like his temper tantrum was finally over. This displays signs of a fickle mind, uncertainty, regret; like he doesn’t know what he wants or where he belongs. He needs to figure that out.

Lead singers will pursue a solo career for a number of reasons: more attention, more fame, more money, more freedom of expression, and so on. Some thrive, some fail and some don’t make any mark at all. What remains consistent is the original band is forever changed. No Doubt has become that band Gwen Stefani sings for on the side; ‘N Sync has been removed from everyone’s vocabulary; Soundgarden is now that grunge band Chris Cornell came back to. They lose their identity as a band and fans lose interest and move on. Flying solo has its rewards, no question. Too bad the rest of the band ends up alone too.

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