In any decade, there are bound to be promising artists who slip through the cracks after a single or two – think of Soft Cell (“Tainted Love”) and A-ha (“Take On Me”). Now that we’re in the 2020s, we can reflect on some of the biggest one-hit wonders of the 2010s, who didn’t quite charm radio or adapt to dominate the streaming era. Here are seven of those forgotten gems, as well as what they’ve been up to since.
Wally De Backer, who performs as Gotye, topped charts in 2011 with “Somebody That I Used To Know,” an angsty breakup song with a memorable, geometry-filled music video. The Australian artist has been making and independently releasing music since 2001, but in 2014, he claimed he would retire for the time being. His daughter was born in 2015, and the most recent song he has released is 2016’s “Sometimes It Snows In April.”
Rock band AWOLNATION formed in 2009 and found success with their 2011 track “Sail,” their only true hit to date. They’re still making music and have toured with the likes of Fall Out Boy and twentyonepilots. Their most recent record, Angel Miners & the Lightning Riders, came out in April 2020.
- Cher Lloyd
British pop star Cher Lloyd broke America in 2012 with her smash “Want U Back,” which she followed up with hits like “With Ur Love” and the Becky G-assisted “Oath.” Her last big single in America was 2014’s “Sirens,” but she’s still making music and finding success in the UK. Part of the reason for her seeming radio-silence and 2015 hiatus has been her exploration of different record labels, including Universal Music Group.
Korean artist Psy went viral in 2012 with “Gangnam Style,” which was the first YouTube video to accumulate one billion views. Follow-up singles “Gentleman” and “Hangover,” which features Snoop Dogg, found lesser success, but still made a splash in the U.S. His most recent song, “Winter Night,” came out in December 2019. He now focuses on P Nation, the entertainment company and record label he founded in 2019 to help young k-pop stars progress their careers.
- Elle King
Elle King’s rockabilly-esque “Ex’s and Oh’s” took over radios in 2015, and she found more success with follow-up singles “America’s Sweetheart” and “Under the Influence.” She released her second album Shake The Spirit, in 2018, as well as an EP called Elle King: In Isolation earlier this year during COVID-19 lockdowns.
- Alex Clare
Alex Clare’s “Too Close” was nearly impossible to avoid in 2012, even appearing in various Internet Explorer commercials. His most recent album, the acoustic Three Days at Greenmount, came out in September 2018, but aside from a handful of festival gigs he’s been quiet ever since.
After uploading covers on YouTube, pop duo and couple Karmin hit U.S. radio in 2012 with “Brokenhearted” and “Hello.” They went independent in 2014 for more artistic freedom, but disbanded by 2017 so Amy Noonan could pursue a solo career as Qveen Herby.
Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.