solo projects
[Photos by: Patrick Stump/Spotify, Hayley Williams/Lindsey Byrnes, Gerard Way/Spotify, Anthony Green/Spotify]

Sometimes after a band break up, a band member will bounce back to save our broken hearts from drowning in sadness with an amazing solo project. Other times, musicians complete and record a tracklist on their own that doesn’t fit in with their main band. 

Here are 10 solo project debuts that we just couldn’t get over. 

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Gerard Way

My Chemical Romance announced their breakup in 2013, but that didn’t stop frontman Gerard Way from continuing to make music. Way released his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien, just a year later. The record hears a heavy David Bowie influence from front to back, and Way dips his toes into a sound unlike any he’s ever done before.

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani started her track to fame as the lead singer of the ska-punk group No Doubt before releasing her 2004 debut solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Stefani jumped genres with a smooth and natural transition, as if she was made for a solo career. She helped pave the way for women in rock during her time spent in No Doubt. With her solo debut, Stefani’s solo debut encouraged other artists to embark on their own journeys, such as the Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie. 

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Patrick Stump

Following their fourth album, Folie À Deux, Fall Out Boy slipped into a hiatus, giving Patrick Stump time to work on his solo debut. Stump released Soul Punk in 2011 and completed the entire album on his own, from writing to production, minus the bonus version of the “This City” remix featuring rapper Lupe Fiasco. Soul Punk was able to showcase the Fall Out Boy frontman like never before, as it revealed his bare bones for the world to see and remains unforgettable. 

Anthony Green

Anthony Green began leaving his mark on the scene through his work with Saosin and Circa Survive. The frontman made his solo debut with the 2008 album, Avalon, through Photo Finish Records. His classic vocals are layered over a calmer sound than his previous works, with themes of love, forgiveness and redemption. This softer side of Green appealed to fans both new and old, which most solo debuts aren’t able to do.

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Tilian Pearson

Tilian Pearson formed Tides Of Man before he became known as the clean vocalist for Dance Gavin Dance following the departure of Jonny Craig in 2012. After years spent fronting bands, Pearson released his debut solo album, Material Me, in 2013 through Vital Records. As a man who’s fronted post-hardcore bands throughout his career, Material Me displayed a softer side to the high-pitched vocalist. Pearson has since released multiple solo records throughout the years while continuing to front Dance Gavin Dance. In turn, he’s reminded fans that juggling multiple projects is no problem for the multitalented vocalist. 

Dallas Green

Dallas Green rose to fame as the guitarist and singer for post-hardcore band Alexisonfire while occasionally releasing tracks under the name City And Colour. Green named the project after himself, his first name being a city and his last name being a color. He later rewrote some of those songs before sharing his debut, Sometimes, with the rest of the world in 2005. Sometimes reflected a side of the frontman unlike ever before, focusing on softer sounds. Green’s solo debut proves that stepping out, or finally into, one’s comfort zone can result in beautiful outcomes. 

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Frank Iero

Frank Iero became known as the guitarist for My Chemical Romance before, but their 2013 breakup didn’t slow him down. He released his debut solo record, Stomachaches, in 2014 under the name frnkiero andthe cellabration. The guitarist turned frontman played every instrument on the album, minus the drums, which were completed by former My Chemical Romance drummer Jarrod Alexander. Stomachaches gave Iero the ability to showcase both his vocal and lyrical ability layered on top of his punk roots while reminding us that you don’t have to be an already known frontman to create a record of your own. 

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace rose to punk fame as the founder, lead singer and guitarist for Against Me! Grace made her solo debut Bought To Rot in 2018 under Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers. Atom Willard (Against Me! drummer) and Marc Hudson make up the Devouring Mothers, the backing band to Grace’s solo project. With the Devouring Mothers, Grace was able to create fresh songs without any Against Me! expectations on the line.

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Andy Biersack 

Andy Biersack is well known as the founder and lead singer of the glam-metal group Black Veil Brides. Taking on stage name Andy Black for his solo project, he released his debut album, The Shadow Side, in 2016. The Shadow Side is more poppy than his previous work with Black Veil Brides. It hears guest performances from Quinn Allman (formerly of the Used), Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio, blink-182), Gerard and Mikey Way (My Chemical Romance) and many other scene favorites.

Hayley Williams

While it might be the most recent debut on this list, Hayley Williams first project without Paramore has made one of the biggest splashes. The vocalist broke the internet as 2019 came to a close by announcing she was releasing some new music that she was “going to call [her] own.” Nearly a month later after numerous mysterious teasers, Williams announced her first solo album Petals For Armor with single “Simmer.” Released as three EPs over the following weeks, Williams let fans in with incredibly raw tracks such as “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” featuring boygenius, “Over Yet” and “Dead Horse.” The album snagged No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums Chart earlier this month, making her the first woman to do so as a solo artist and with a group.

What’s your favorite solo project debut? Let us know in the comments below!