The 90s were a pinnacle point in time for the music industry. The 90s produced some of the most famous artists to date, including Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, N*Sync, Mariah Carey, TLC, Green Day, Sublime, and more. There are always the big-name artists, but what about the smaller names, the one hit wonders, the ones who were a little less mainstream? Those are the artists who often wrote the songs we all so adored but then disappeared. Was the spotlight too much? Did they only have that one song in them? Did they blow all their money? A little research proves to answer those questions to some of the most famous 90s artist’s disappearing acts.
If you look up top songs of the 90s, chances are Natalie Imbruglia will appear somewhere on that list. Her song ‘Torn’ released in 1997 was a huge hit. The song stayed on the Billboard charts for 44 weeks and was #1 for 11 of them. After ‘Torn’, Natalie was never really heard from again.
So where is she now? An Australia native, Natalie has been acting a bit on the small screen. She had a small spot in the film Johnny English, opposite Rowan Atkinson. Other than that, Natalie has continued to release albums. Her most recent album, ‘Male’, was released in 2015. Despite her attempts, Natalie just never hit the jackpot again like she did with her hit song in the 90s. In a 1998 interview with MTV News regarding following up after ‘Torn’, Natalie says “I think the whole project from day one has been a little bit daunting . . . I think it’s how you look at it. I mean, I could look at it in the sense of ‘Torn’s’ been so successful and now I have so much to live up to,’ or I could think, ‘Well, better than having no success with ‘Torn’ at all.’ Really, the glass is half-empty or half-full. I tend to be a bit pessimistic, but it’s all good. I can’t complain.”
Seems that Natalie understood the difficulty that loomed ahead after such a huge success. It’s really too bad she was never able to break back into the spotlight again. But ‘Torn’ will always be a huge song in the hearts of all 90s lovers.
Remember the iconic ‘Return of the Mack’ song that hit the radio in 1996? The cool R&B beat behind the unique sound of Mark Morrison was playing through speakers everywhere. I remember riding around bobbing my little head to the song at 6 years-old. After that, he vanished. What happened to the Mack?
I remember in 2016 hearing the remix featuring Fetty Wap. It was pretty good as far as remixes go, especially for remixes for this song. There have been tons. As for Mark, it seems he had quite a bit of trouble with the law. One source claims Mark used a look-a-like to do his community service so that he could go on tour! Another source claims the original crime that caused Mark to receive his sentence, was a brawl that resulted in the death of another man. Apparently, Mark dealt with his shot to fame by abusing drugs and alcohol. This story is a tale as old as time. Too bad for Mark. The Mack probably won’t be returning any time soon.
You might remember the famous song of 1994 entitled ‘You Gotta Be’. Des’ree released the song which did well on the charts, peaking at #5 and remaining on the charts for 44 weeks. The sexy contemporary tune was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, as well as Best New Artist in a Video. But what happened to the sultry songstress?
Des’ree had a lot of success in the U.K., but nothing as popular as ‘You Gotta Be’. Apparently, she sued Beyoncé over a song called ‘I’m Kissing You’ which Beyoncé covered and wanted to release on her album ‘B-Day-Deluxe Edition’. However, negotiations could not be agreed upon. Beyoncé’s team released the song anyway and later removed it after the lawsuit ensued. Other than that, Des’ree has kept a relatively low profile. She hasn’t released any new music since 2003.
If you don’t remember the massive hit ‘This is How We Do It’ you must have truly been living under a rock in the 90s. The party anthem was – and still is – a way to get any party started. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard charts and stayed there for 7 weeks! It was nominated for Best Dance Video and Best Rhythm and Blues Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance. But why did he disappear after such major success?
Montell Jordan went through the low point of losing fame – not to mention being one of the many artists who has been falsely reported to be dead. Montell was reading his own obituaries, reportedly triggered by a false report made by CNN. He brought himself back up from a low place and became a minister. He spoke to Ebony magazine and discussed that he felt like he was putting music in the place of his god, and he had to turn it around. He is happily married and even appeared in an interview with Oprah to discuss his new life dedicated to the lord.
The Tony Rich Project
If you were growing up in the 90s and ever went through a breakup, your probably listened to The Tony Rich Project’s ‘Nobody Knows’ a few times. The sweet song about being in denial about missing the one you love came out in 1995 and hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Though it didn’t soar to #1, the album that contained the song went on to win a Grammy for Best R&B album, ‘Words’, in 1998. Although the song’s success put The Tony Rich Project in the spotlight, it left just as quickly as it came.
Tony Rich released more music over the years but nothing as popular as ‘Nobody Knows’. His most recent album was released in October of 2017 entitled ‘Encaustic’, but didn’t result in much notoriety. Tony’s true success stems from his composer credits with artists such as Boys II Men, Toni Braxton, Michael Bolton, and Johnny Gill. Tony is still in the music industry, but after poor reception for his albums following the great success of ‘Words’, he’s never regained his footing on the charts.
If Blackstreet doesn’t sound familiar to you, maybe the song title ‘No Diggity’ will strike a chord. ‘No Diggity’ was another party anthem that goes hand in hand with the 90s. The song quickly reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for 4 weeks. The song featured the infamous Dr. Dre, so ofcourse, it was going to get noticed. But after that, Blackstreet disappeared, enrolling them into the one hit wonder category.
Despite winning a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, the group couldn’t manage to keep it together. Legal wars between members regarding rights to the group’s name tore members further apart. One member, Teddy Riley, started Blackstreet 2, while another original member, Chauncey Hannibal, continues on with the original name. Neither band is having any success, so disputes over the name seemed all for nothing.
Remember the catchy pop tune ‘Show Me Love’? The popular song hit the Billboard charts and peaked at #7. She also had another song on the charts at the time entitled ‘Do You Know (What it Takes), which also peaked at #7. ‘Show Me Love’ has that quintessential sound you only got in the 90s. It was that pop music you listened to with your friends on the way to the mall to buy your Lip Smackers and CDs. So, did Robyn’s success carry on after ‘Show Me Love’ moved her into the spotlight?
Robyn eventually decided to segway into the electronic/dance genre. She received a Grammy nomination for her electronic/dance album ‘Robyn’ in 2008. Her popular song ‘Dancing on My Own’ was also nominated for a Grammy and was extremely popular – being covered by musicians such as Kings of Leon, Pentatonix, and Lea Michele. Robyn is extremely popular in her home country of Sweden, but she has continued on the path to becoming well-known and respected in the U.S. Unlike other artists on this list, Robyn has picked back up her success and continues to grow in the music world.
What Do You Think?
Were you as surprised as I was with some of these outcomes? I still listen to 90s radio stations on Pandora, iTunes, or Spotify. It just brings back those nostalgic feelings that make me feel so good and almost . . . safe again. Although some of the one hit wonder 90s artists have fallen off, their contributions to making our 90s playlists amazing will be forever appreciated and respected.