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'00s Pop Stars Who Haven't Figured Out They Aren't Famous Anymore

Nicki Swift 12/8/2022 Trinity Archie
Ashlee Simpson in dark eye makeup © Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock Ashlee Simpson in dark eye makeup

The '00s were an exciting time for pop music. Icons like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera dominated the charts, singers put on memorable live performances, and hits like Spears' "Oops! ... I Did It Again" and Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" blared through car speakers. Pop music has changed a lot since then, and while these changes impacted fans, some might say that musicians have been on the receiving end of most of these shifts. Nowadays, stars like Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish top the charts.

Some of the biggest stars of the '00s are now rarely spoken of. Others have fanbases that grew up and seemingly left them behind. Sometimes, stars accept the fact that they are no longer on top and go on to pursue other endeavors. Kevin Jonas, for example, works as a contractor. Of course, he still dabbles in music with the Jonas Brothers, but it's nice to see that he's willing to take on a less glamorous job. Still, there are quite a few stars who continued to chase the spotlight even after their fanbases fled.

Here are a few '00s pop stars who haven't figured out they aren't famous anymore:

Willa Ford

Willa Ford performing © Scott Gries/Getty Images Willa Ford performing

Some might say that Willa Ford became a one-hit wonder after she released her song "I Wanna Be Bad" in 2001. The single did moderately well and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Pop Airplay chart. It also peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. As a new artist with a successful debut single under her belt, it seemed that Willa Ford had the potential to go on to maintain fame for years. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. The singer's second single, "Did Ya' Understand That," didn't do nearly as well as "I Wanna Be Bad," she revealed to Billboard.

Ford explained how she felt the September 11 terrorist attacks played a role in the song's failure. "A lot of people don't realize this, but my second single was released on September 11, 2001," she said. "Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still, as it should have. My second single didn't do well because anything that launched that day kind of got canned." Things really came to a halt for the musician after her record label went through some major changes, according to Billboard. Despite all of the challenges that suggested making a comeback would be incredibly difficult, Ford returned to music to release the single "Rock Tonight" in 2014. Although this song might not have revived the star's singing career, she was able to find success as a celebrity interior designer and actor.

Fergie

Fergie poses © Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock Fergie poses

Fergie stood out as the only female vocalist of rap group Black Eyed Peas, so it is perhaps no surprise that she went on to embark on a solo career. She released her first album as a solo artist, "The Dutchess," in 2006. The well-rounded record brought fans infectious hits like "Fergalicious" and "Glamorous," as well as more slow-tempo ballads like "Big Girls Don't Cry."

According to Billboard, these songs performed well on the charts. "Glamorous" spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while "Big Girls Don't Cry" spent one week at No. 1. "London Bridge" was among Fergie's most successful singles given this song spent three weeks in the No. 1 spot on this same chart. With all of this success, you would think the "Clumsy" singer would be able to keep up the momentum, but her second album didn't do so well.

Fergie released her sophomore album, "The Double Duchess," in 2017 — yes, a whole 11 years after her first record. "The Double Duchess" peaked at No. 19 and was named one of the "Biggest Musical Flops Of 2017" by Forbes as a result. Perhaps Fergie's decision to take over a decade-long hiatus contributed to the album's poor performance. Unfortunately, it seems that she may not have realized that she didn't possess the level of fame needed to guarantee success after such a long break. Fergie told Entertainment Weekly that welcoming her son, Axl, into the world took up her time.

Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado poses © s_bukley/Shutterstock Nelly Furtado poses

Nelly Furtado seemed to be on top of the world in the early days of her career, but even after she wasn't nearly as popular, she continued to release music. According to Billboard, Furtado began her career in her home country of Canada, and it wasn't long before she became a star in the United States and beyond. The singer's debut album, "Woah, Nelly!," contains her breakthrough single, "I'm Like a Bird," which was released in 2001. This song peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Woah, Nelly!" peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Top Albums chart. The musician's third album, "Loose," arguably secured her spot as a '00s pop star. It brought fans hits like "Promiscuous" and "Say It Right."

Furtado released a Spanish album, "Mi Plan," in 2009. It received praise from critics and even won a Grammy, but it didn't exactly top the charts, according to PopCrush. After the singer's fifth album, "The Spirit Indestructible," didn't perform as well as her first few projects, she continued to pursue music as an independent artist, as she revealed to Billboard. Did Furtado still have the level of fame needed to thrive without the support of a major record label? "It was really symbolic for me," Furtado said of her decision to go independent. "I got to get this album back from Interscope, so I get to own this album."

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake in suit © magicinfoto/Shutterstock Justin Timberlake in suit

Justin Timberlake was one of the biggest stars of the '00s due to both his success as a solo artist and his time in NSYNC. After the singer released his highly-successful album, "20/20 Experience," in 2013, he took a break from releasing new music. Some might argue that Timberlake could afford to step away for a bit at that point in his career. After all, "20/20 Experience" was a huge success. The album spent an impressive three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart. Despite this, Timberlake's return to music in 2018 didn't go as smoothly as it could have. "Man of the Woods" was the first album the star released after five years, and it received poor reviews.

Combine this with the fact that Timberlake came under fire in 2021 for his past treatment of Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, and it's perhaps no surprise that the star's fame isn't holding up these days. The "Mirrors" singer did issue an apology for his past after receiving criticism online. He took to Instagram to share a statement that read in part: "The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It's designed this way. As a man in a privileged position, I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn't recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life, but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again."

Jesse McCartney

Jesse McCartney in white hat © Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock Jesse McCartney in white hat

Actor and singer Jesse McCartney is arguably most well-known for his hit single "Beautiful Soul," which was released in 2010. His debut album, "Beautiful Soul," debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart. His sophomore album, "Departure," performed even better. It debuted at No. 14 on the same chart. After McCartney's third album debuted at No. 15, his fourth album, "In Technicolor," ended his streak of moderate success. It debuted at No. 35. The star has gone on to release music that hasn't garnered many sales, but his loyal fanbase has made it possible for him to continue to tour over the years. After releasing the album, "New Stage," in 2021, McCartney announced a tour of the same name.

The former teen star spoke to Euphoria magazine about his lengthy career, and it seems that he isn't discouraged by not being the biggest star on the planet. "It's been an amazing and fruitful career," he shared. I've had the opportunity to do many things through many mediums whether it's acting or music. It's not like anybody has the perfect plan or blueprint, especially when you're 16 or 17 entering the industry. You really don't actually know how it's gonna go down. Any perceived idea of what you think it's going to be is always changed."

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne in pink jacket © Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock Avril Lavigne in pink jacket

Avril Lavigne seemingly took a break from the music industry following the release of her self-titled album in 2013. The star, who is known for her edgy image and chart-topping pop-rock hits, returned to music in 2019 with her album, "Head Above Water." This was, unfortunately, one of her lowest-selling projects. Her next album, "Love Sux," did moderately well compared to her previous success, but Lavigne's level of stardom is nowhere near where it was at the start of her career. Still, Lavigne continues to tour and churn out music with the edgy pop-rock-esque image and style that initially made her famous as a teen.

Lavigne spoke to the Guardian about her career journey, and it turns out she knew who she wanted to be from the start. "I wanted to be angsty and to sound more like a band; I didn't want to be all bubblegum pop," she shared. "I wanted to turn my emotions into lyrics. I was honestly just very, very pure. Although Lavigne might not be on the same level of fame she was at the start of her career, she is uplifting the new generation of musicians who look up to her. "That younger generations are discovering my stuff and that Billie, Olivia, and Willow [Smith] go out into the world and continue to shatter the mold like I did 20 years ago is super-inspiring."

JoJo

JoJo with jewels in hair © DFree/Shutterstock JoJo with jewels in hair

Former teen singer and actor JoJo was only 15 years old when her single "Too Little Too Late" earned the No 3. spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2005. She achieved similar success with her first hit, "Leave (Get Out)," in 2004. It looked like JoJo was on track for a lengthy career at the time, and it turns out that she has achieved exactly that — she's gone on tour and released new music. However, the star hasn't been able to maintain the same level of fame she possessed as a teen. JoJo revealed the reason for her career struggles during an interview with Rolling Stone.

She shared that she was involved in a legal battle with her record label for nearly a decade. The musician wasn't able to release new music during this period as a result. "I got on a cycle of not loving myself and not believing that I really had a future," JoJo said of the difficult journey. The singer went on to reveal that she also faced mental health struggles throughout the legal battle. "I was very depressed during that time, and I dealt in the ways that I dealt," she admitted. "My coping mechanism of choice was alcohol to get out of my mind. It made me feel as good as I could. I got on a cycle of not loving myself and not believing that I really had a future." JoJo then shared that she's doing better these days.

Christina Milian

Christina Milian in green © Tinseltown/Shutterstock Christina Milian in green

"Dip It Low" singer Christina Milian was one of the many multi-talented stars of the '00s. She starred in films like "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and "Man of the House" and released a number of catchy hits. The singer hit a bump in the road in her career after she was dropped from her record label, Island Def Jam in 2006. Digital Spy alleged that Milian and her label parted ways because she didn't want to record what would later become Rihanna's hit single, "S.O.S (Rescue Me)." A representative for the star shared a statement with Digital Spy that read, "Christina Milian and Island Def Jam have decided to end their relationship due to creative differences. This was a mutual decision."

Two years later, Milian signed a deal with MySpace Records. The singer spoke to Billboard about making an album with the new record label. "I've been out of the game for one-and-a-half years, and I think I'm long overdue for a comeback, so I'm treating this album like it's my last chance to make an impression," she said. This partnership didn't last long, and Milian later signed to rapper Lil Wayne's Young Money label in 2012. The musician has since seemed to put music on the back burner and has instead moved forward with ventures like reality TV and acting. Milian might not be as famous as she once was, but she seems determined to remain in the entertainment industry.

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson in bangs © Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Ashlee Simpson in bangs

Jessica Simpson's edgier sister, Ashlee Simpson, appeared to have what it took to maintain a long-standing music career after she released her debut single, "Pieces Of Me," in 2004. The song debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and its success may have led Ashlee to escape her older sister's shadow. The musician's debut and sophomore albums both made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Album sales chart. With a famous sister and such an impressive debut, some might say that Ashlee had all of the tools needed to maintain fame — but she didn't.

A lip-sync scandal during a 2004 "Saturday Night Live" performance might be to blame. Simpson walked off stage after the vocals of "Pieces Of Me" began playing instead of the intended song, "Autobiography." Because the musician's voice began blaring through the speaker while she clearing wasn't performing, viewers criticized her for lip-syncing. Simpson revealed why she didn't sing live that night during an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" in 2018. "What happened there was I had a vocal problem," she shared. "I had two nodes beating against each other, and I woke up, and I had no voice ... I should have said 'No, I will not go on, I will not do this.'" Although many fans seemingly turned on Simpson after the scandal, she continues to release music and document her life on reality TV. She doesn't appear to be bothered by her dwindling fanbase.

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