14 Female Artists Who Reached No. 1 With Debut Singles
While it took many of today’s best-selling artists more than one try to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, some new artists have been able to top the charts with their very first singles. One of the most recent singers to join that groups? Pop newbie Meghan Trainor, who reached No. 1 with her debut track, “All About That Bass.” Here’s a look back at more female artists whose debut tracks have gone straight to the top.
1. Meghan Trainor
The pop newbie hit No. 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with her catchy debut single, “All About That Bass.” The 20-year-old singer-songwriter, who got her start penning songs for the likes of Rascal Flatts and current Disney star Sabrina Carpenter, initially had trouble getting anyone on board with the song. In the end, she decided to keep it for herself, which was obviously a smart move — it took only a few months after she released the single in June for the song to enter the top five on iTunes and eventually win the Billboard chart.
2. Iggy Azalea
The rapper not only earned her first No. 1 with her debut hit song, “Fancy,” but also provided the unofficial soundtrack for the summer of 2014. The single remained at the top of the charts for seven straight weeks, earning Azalea the longest Hot 100 reign in history for a female rapper. In addition to ruling the charts, “Fancy” was also named Billboard’s official Song of the Summer last year. The song also helped boost the career of British singer-songwriter Charli XCX, who was featured on the track and dropped her own solo single soon after.
2013 was a career-making year for Lorde, thanks to the smash success of her first ever single “Royals.” The song not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, it also ruled the Alternative Songs chart for months. With the release of that tune, the relatively unknown 16-year-old New Zealand was propelled into super stardom, becoming a much-discussed household name. As if that wasn’t enough of a banner first year in any new career, “Royals” also went on to earn Lorde a Grammy for Song of the Year.
4. Katy Perry
The now world famous pop singer tried to make a name for herself as a Christian singer, but didn’t make her real sound known until her 2008 debut single, “I Kissed a Girl.” The song was the first of Perry’s extensive collection of No. 1 singles, reaching the top spot on the Hot 100 chart and remaining there for seven consecutive weeks. In addition to topping the Hot 100 charts, the track became Billboard’s Song of the Summer for 2008 (a title that Perry later gained for a second time with her 2010 hit song, “California Gurls.” The single is now recognized as the tenth best selling single in the 21st century.
5. Carrie Underwood
The country singer became a household name after winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Her first single, “Inside Your Heaven,” debuted at number one on the U.S. chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA and was later included on Underwood’s debut country album, Some Hearts. The song also won Underwood the Billboard Music Awards for Top-Selling Country Single of the Year and Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year. It also eventually helped her win the award for Country Single Sales Artist of the Year.
6. Kelly Clarkson
The pop singer rose to fame after winning the first season of American Idol. She performed her debut single, “A Moment Like This,” on the last episode of the season, after winning the title. The song went on to top the Hot 100 Chart and breaking the record for the biggest jump to No. 1 in the chart’s history. It also became the bestselling single of the year in the country. The song was later included on her 2003 debut album, Thankful, which was certified multiplatinum and earned Clarkson her first Grammy nod.
It’s hard to imagine a world when Beyoncé wasn’t…well, Beyoncé. But like all other artists, she had to start somewhere. Though the singer had already found commercial success with her group Destiny’s Child, she reached a new level of superstardom and fame when she began to pursue her own solo career. Her debut solo album, 2003’s Dangerously In Love, propelled her into becoming a star in her own right, thanks in large part to the lead single, “Crazy in Love.” The catchy song dominated the chart, spending eight straight weeks atop the Hot 100 and giving Beyoncé the first chart-topping single of her solo career.
8. Alicia Keys
The bestselling artist launched her critically acclaimed music career with her 2001 debut studio album, Songs in A Minor. The record, which debuted at No. 1, spawned Keys’ chart-topping first single, “Fallin.” The song was globally successfully, reaching the top of the Hot 100 charts in the U.S. and the top five in several more countries. It’s still considered her signature song and is one of the most successful songs of the 2000s. In addition to earning a nomination for Record of the Year, it also won three Grammy Awards in 2002, including Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
9. Jennifer Lopez
After showing off her vocal abilities in her starring role in the biographical film Serena, Lopez released her debut album, entitled On the 6. She kicked off her music career with a bang with the 1999 hit track, “If You Had My Love.” After several weeks, the song reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart and is now known as one of her signature hits. It’s still one of Lopez’s most commercially successful songs, having gained international success and topped the charts in several other countries.
10. Christina Aguilera
The pop singer released the first single off her self-titled debut album in 1999, peaking atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for five weeks straight. The song was eventually certified platinum, selling more than 1.4 million copies in the country. Now with over 7 million copies sold, it’s widely considered one of the best-selling singles of all time. In addition to producing a successful first single, Aguilera’s first album went on to reach No. 1 and to spawn two more top-selling singles, “What a Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want is You)”.
11. Britney Spears
The catchy chorus of “Baby One More Time” and the Catholic schoolgirl costume in the coinciding music video helped put Spears on the map back in 1998. The song, the title single off her debut album of the same name, marked the first No. 1 hit of her long and successful career. It also gained global success, earning the top slot in every country it charted. The song remains one of Spears’s most classic hits and remains one of the most iconic in pop history, as does the video.
12. Mariah Carey
Carey might be one of the music industry’s most well-known voices today, but that wasn’t always the case. Back in 1990, well before becoming the Hollywood diva she is these days, Carey released her first single of her legendary career, 1990’s “Vision of Love,” off her self-titled debut. The song topped the charts and that album went multiplatinum, eventually going on to spawn three more consecutive number one singles. Since then, Mariah Carey has earned a total of eighteen No. 1 hits, making her the most successful female artist in the history of the chart.
13. Debby Boone
The singer is best known for her 1977 hit, “You Light Up My Life,” a cover of the song originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack of the film of the same name. Boone’s version spent ten straight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart. It also led her to winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist the following year, as well as the American Music Award for Favorite Pop Single. It also earned Grammy nods for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female and Record of the Year.
14. Peggy March
The pop singer (nicknamed “Little Peggy March”) is primarily known for her 1963 bestselling debut song, “I Will Follow Him.” The single was released when she was only 14 and hit No. 1 when she was 15. Having earned commercial success at that age, March broke a Billboard record, becoming the youngest ever female artist to get a No. 1 hit. The track also reached No. 1 in several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and Scandinavia. The song is widely considered the only success of March’s career, although two of her other singles “I Wish I Were a Princess” and “Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love” made it into the top 30 in the U.S.