Photo Credits: (top) Carly Rae Jepson via Discogs. Gayle via People Magazine [photographer-Acacia Evans].
(bottom) Maisie Peters via Instagram [photographer-@shotbyphox]. Zara Larsson via The Guardian.
Everyone knows the music industry is tough. So many incredibly talented people go unnoticed - whether it's because of finances, location, or lack of resources, there's thousands of artists who deserve to be at the top but struggle to reach it. This list of pop stars are the ones that are so close, yet still so far away. They've got their name out there but their talent still isn't appreciated as much as it should be. Instead of being the 'A' Listers that they should be, they're still struggling to get people to notice not just their name, but listen to and appreciate their music. There are thousands upon thousands of artists that deserve to be recognized, but these Top 10 are what I consider to be the ones that really should've made it by now.
Gayle is obviously known for her viral TikTok song, 'abcdefu'. When a song gets overplayed in the industry, listeners tend to get annoyed. This is exactly what happened with Gayle, and unfortunately because of it she wrongfully got a bad reputation. People assume 'abcdefu' was her first song, her only song, and they don't want anything to do with her anymore. But if someone would just take a few minutes out of their day to look up Gayle and all of her music, they'd realize she's been releasing music since 2020, a year before 'abcdefu' was even a thing. She also has come out with an incredible EP since then, 'a study of the human experience part two' that features 6 songs that really show Gayle as the amazing artist she really is. I highly recommend giving her a chance. Listen to her other songs and then try to tell me she doesn't deserve the attention!
9. Conan Gray
Conan Gray has been writing songs since he was 12 years old. At the age of 15, he began a YouTube channel where he shared music as well as daily vlogs. He was recognized by Republic Records and was signed in 2018. Inspired by Taylor Swift, Conan is not only a phenomenal songwriter, buy he has a beautifully unique voice as well. He has such a rock-star quality, it baffles me that he is not a household name yet. Although he has had a few viral TikTok moments, like with his song 'Heather', his full discography still doesn't get the traction it deserves.
8. Mike Posner
Whether you realize it or not, you know a Mike Posner song. Everyone knows 'Cooler Than Me' and 'I Took a Pill in Ibiza'. In fact, 'I Took a Pill in Inbiza' has gotten over 1.6 BILLON streams on Spotify. Though Mike has written some of the greatest hits we know and love, his name still doesn't come to mind when you think of global superstar. Mike's debut studio album, 'A Matter of Time' came out all the way back in 2009. Since then, he has released an additional (and impressive) 9 albums! He has been open and honest about struggling with his success, always feeling pressured to come out with the next big song and then being disappointed when it doesn't take off. He definitely deserves a lot more attention that he gets.
7. Tate McRae
Although Tate McRae is mostly known for being a dancer on the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance', making it as the first ever Canadian finalist, she is also an incredible singer. Her song 'you broke me first' had it's viral moment on TikTok, gaining over 1 Billion streams on Spotify, but since then Tate hasn't been getting as much recognition for her newer music she's been putting out. She's able to gain streams from her already dedicated followers, but hasn't been able to make it back into the top 20 on the charts since 'you broke me first'. To me, Tate deserves to be a household name and should be playing arenas by now. She's unbelievably talented and really deserves it.
6. Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen has been around for a very, very long time in the music industry. So why isn't she playing stadium tours yet? Her music is incredibly catchy, her voice is beautiful and unique, what's the hold up? Carly had her hit song 'Call Me Maybe' back in 2012, another one of those songs that played non-stop on the radio, but she's been around since way before. Back in 2007, she was 3rd place on Canadian Idol. If every person who knows 'Call Me Maybe' listened to Carly's discography, they'd probably find a lot more songs to fall in love with, especially now since releasing 4 albums. In Carly's instance, I feel that her label and marketing team just don't try hard enough to get people to listen to her. But of course, we can never truly know what happens behind the scenes. One thing I do know, is 'Run Away With Me' is probably one of my favorite songs of all time, and it got blacklisted from radio play due to the featured saxophone sample being used in the song without permission. But let's be honest, this song just wouldn't be the same without it.
5. Maisie Peters
Maisie Peters legitimately has one of the sweetest voices I've ever heard in my life. She knows how to write lovely melodies that will captivate you from the moment you hear it. With recognition and praise from household names like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, you'd think she would've taken the world by storm especially after being signed to Ed Sheeran's record label, Gingerbread Man Records. To impress 2 of the greatest songwriters of all time, that has to mean something. Maisie hasn't been given her chance to shine as bright as she can and her music definitely deserves more attention. She has yet to be on the billboard charts although she has come out with some impressive songs these past few years.
4. 5 Seconds of Summer
5 Seconds of Summer formed in 2011 and posted videos on YouTube of them playing. They were discovered by One Direction's Louis Tomlinson, soon being invited to open up for One Direction's 'Take Me Home' tour. 5 Seconds of Summer has always appreciated the recognition that 1D had given them, but they've always lived in fear of having to live in the shadow of the world's biggest boyband. 5 Seconds of Summer have gone through some incredible moment's in the their career and have be unapologetically themselves.
Though they're incredibly talented (and even better live), they still haven't reached the ability to play a stadium tour and have a No. 1 song on the charts. It's always been clear that they deserve more than they get credit for.
3. Little Mix
Little Mix is technically the biggest girl group in the entire world. They've been breaking records ever since being the first girl group to win 'The X Factor UK' in 2011. They're the best selling girl group of all time, selling more than 60 million records in there 11 years as a band before going on an indefinite hiatus in 2022. Despite this, they never reached higher than No. 67 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can confidently say that these girls are some of the best singers I've ever heard in my entire life. Jade Thirwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock have the craziest ranges and control, it'll blow your mind. Not to mention their tear-jerking harmonies. I think the stigma of liking girl bands (and boybands!) being "uncool" needs to be broken, because Little Mix has always deserved more attention than they received!
2. Zara Larsson
Zara Larsson has one of the most captivating voices I've ever heard. She's had 2 songs go over 1 Billion streams - "Lush Life" and "Symphony" with Clean Bandit. Even with her impressive amount of streams, she still has yet to make it to No. 1, or even the top 10 on the charts. At only 10 years old, she won the talent competition 'Talang', the Swedish version of 'Got Talent'. Her range and pitch are like none other, and though she is Sweden's pride and joy, she still hasn't gotten her name in lights in America.
1. Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter seems like one of the most kind and genuine people, but has had a bit of bad luck. Her talent is undeniable; she's both lyrically and vocally gifted. It doesn't help that she started as a child actor on Disney's 'Girl Meets World'. It's fairly common for Disney actors to often pursue a music career as well, but to me, Sabrina is different. She writes her own music and she does it well. She's 100% authentically herself and has not used Disney to amplify her music career. Sabrina has 5 studio albums, her most recent one being 'emails I can't send' which is extremely underrated. A lot of it has to do with the horrible hate she had to endure after the Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett drama. Even though she was an innocent bystander in a story blown out of proportion, she is still treated like an enemy all this time later. Put the past in the past, and give her music a chance. Her sound is so classic yet unique, and she deserves all the love!
What do you think of this list? Do you have any disagreements or think we missed someone? Follow us on our socials below and let us know your thoughts!
Written By: Kaitlyn Nicole
*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.