Several artists were dropped from their labels early in their careers, only to find success later. Kelly Rowland, Sevyn Streeter, Jhene Aiko, and Tamar Braxton all had solo deals and were dropped/ shelved before reaching major success.
“It Won’t Stop” singer Sevyn Streeter was first signed to TUG/ Universal Records with the group TG4, a girl group Chris Stokes put together as a female counterpart to B2K. The group spawned one semi-hit, “Virginity,” and was immediately shelved, and soon after dropped from Universal altogether. She was later discovered by producer Rich Harrison on MySpace, and was asked to join his brainchild, RichGirl. The group had a hit with “Swagger Right” featuring Fabolous and Rick Ross, and even went on tour opening for Beyoncé. However, once again, the momentum slowed before a debut album could surface and the group was dropped. Now, back at it as a solo artist, Sevyn is poised to be one of the biggest new voices in R&B under Chris Brown’s label CBE Entertainment, and is well on her way to leaving a lasting impression.
Jhene Aiko is currently riding high off the success of her hit single “The Worst,” but things were not always smooth sailing for the LA native. She, like Streeter, was signed to TUG, provided backing vocals for B2K and even toured with the group. Unlike Streeter, she left TUG and Epic Records on her own accord to continue her education, but faced much adversity for that decision, including labels telling her that she was poor at “selling herself” as an artist. Clearly, she has risen above the label hopping and has found a home with Def Jam where she clearly is flourishing.
Tamar Braxton often speaks of being dropped by various labels five times before finding her current success. First signed as a member of The Braxtons with sisters Toni, Towanda, Trina and Traci through Arista, the single “Good Life” failed to take off and the group was dropped. Later, as a threesome, Tamar, Towanda and Trina signed to Atlantic Records and released So Many Ways. The album didn’t fare very well and they were dropped once more.
In 2000 Tamar inked a solo deal with DreamWorks Records and released her self-titled solo debut. The successful and she was dropped once again. She also recorded for Casablanca Records and Universal, both of which didn’t work out. It wasn’t until her current deal with Epic that she was truly able to show the world her talent with songs like “All The Way Home” and “The One.”
“Dirty Laundry” singer Kelly Rowland has had several ups and downs throughout her solo career. When longtime Destiny’s Child home Columbia Records released her debut solo album Simply Deep to moderate success, they gave the green light to her second album, Ms. Kelly. Unfortunately, Rowland was the victim of the sophomore slump and was soon dropped by Columbia due to Ms. Kelly’s lack of commercial success.
She was then signed to Universal Motown, where she released the smash “Motivation.” Universal Motown turned to Republic Records and Kelly dropped Talk A Good Game in summer 2013. While buzz songs like “Kisses Down Low” and “Dirty Laundry” did well as singles, the album received a lukewarm response. Kelly has since left Republic, but will no doubt land on her feet as she always does.
These stories and so many others in the music industry go to show just how much persistence pays off and that if you really want something and are willing to work though the failure, you will end up on top, just like these ladies.