I dare you to name me an artist or band that hasn’t gone through a rough patch in their career. Like I literally dare you. Even the best of artists enter a dark period at some stage during their superstardom. This can come down to a bad reputation, loss of public interest or simply when they release sh*t music. The main question is, how does one rise from the ashes and return to the top of the charts? The answer(s) are simple.
1) Sample an old 80s song
At the beginning of the 2000s, Madonna’s career was looking pretty feeble. Her 2003 album American Life was the worst received album of her career so far (even worse than 1992’s Erotica *ouch*), and didn’t even produce ONE hit single. Two years later, she stormed back onto the music scene with the irresistible iconic dance anthem Hung Up, which samples ABBA’s single Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). Hung Up hit the top spot in literally every country and Madonna was back and better than she had been in years, with Hung Up remaining one of her most iconic hits of her career.
2) Form your own band
Remember the Jonas Brothers? Yea, me neither. With the band’s career dead and buried by 2009, it was clear that the boys needed a new plan of action. For Joe, it was to form his own band DNCE, who would then go on to release the smash hit Cake By The Ocean, which reached #4 in the UK and #9 in the US, whilst also causing the group to win the 2016 VMA for Best New Artist. Way to go, Joe, (don’t ask me what became of Kevin).
3) Go solo
In contrast to my previous point, many artists have left their groups to pursue a solo career, with great results, of course. For example, when Zayn Malik announced his departure from One Direction, we all wondered what he’d do next. Zayn clearly had only one intention, to dominate the charts worldwide, with debut single Pillow Talk hitting the top spot of almost every iTunes chart there is in the world. The same goes for his debut album, the Alternative-R&B sounding Mind of Mine, which has already been certified Silver in the UK and Gold in the US. A comeback for sure.
4) Enlist the help of A-list songwriters and producers
This option can be considered cheating, but it is definitely a successful method for sky-rocketing back to #1. Just look at Bieber for example. With his career in tatters, Justin Bieber recruited Skrillex, ED SHEERAN, Benny Blanco and many more brilliant writers to produce the brilliant and critically-acclaimed Purpose, a drastic shift from the LA prison cells back into the hearts of the nation. Purpose has already almost sold 2 million copies in the US and hasn’t even been released a year. The comeback of all comebacks if you ask me. Another recent pop comeback thanks to the help of talented producers is that of Miss Britney Spears. After the mess that was 2013’s Britney Jean, Spears went back to the drawing board and hired Burns, Cashmere Cat and Mattman & Robin to help her create the heavenly Glory, which (if you pardon the pun), elevated her back to her glory. Who said she can’t be the princess of pop forever?
5) Change your image
A popular career move and brilliant marketing technique. There have been many image transformations by artists over the years but a few are burned into my mind for the rest of eternity. Exhibit A: Christina Aguilera. When she released Dirrty back in 2002, it was clear Christina had completely changed her image, using sexual themes to *successfully* attract public attention. To this day, her 2002 album Stripped (the second-best selling album of her career), has sold over 4 million copies in the US alone. Similarly, Miley Cyrus sexed up her image for the release of 2013’s Bangerz, which reached #1 in both the UK and US due to the publicity from her adult-themed and sexual music videos, outfits and performances (I’ll not bring up her infamous 2013 VMA incident). When discussing image changes, we can’t avoid the queen of changing her image to suit each album: Madonna. From disco queen to cowgirl to sex maniac, Madonna practically invented the image change, which contributes greatly to her legendary artistry.
6) Write for other artists
A fantastic way to save your career (and to make a lot of money from royalties) is to write addictive hooks for other artists to sing. Australian artist Sia Furler took a break from her solo career to write hits for David Guetta (Titanium), Rihanna (Diamonds) and Beyonce (Pretty Hurts), which provided her with a whole new level of stardom when she released her 2014 album 1000 Forms of Fear, which reached #1 in the US and 2016’s This is Acting, which is already certified Gold in the UK and not to mention the hit singles Chandelier, Cheap Thrills and The Greatest.
7) Drop a surprise album
Ah, we now come to the surprise album. Infamously first attempted (and succeeded) by Beyonce back in 2013 when she released her self-titled album. We all witnessed a new form of publicity, which definitely worked, as the album instantly topped every iTunes chart in the world and spawned the iconic hit singles Drunk In Love and Partition. The album drop was such a success that it has since influenced artists to do the same. In 2016, Rihanna and Drake both dropped their albums Anti and Views out of nowhere, with brilliant results.
So there you have it, your very own step-by-step guide to reviving your wilting career. If you’re reading this, Kevin Jonas, I really hope it works out for you.