Top 5 Music Artist Transformations of 2017

Script written by Michael Wynands In 2017, these artists transformed not only their musical style but their aesthetic style as well. These musical artists such as Paramore, Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Kesha did a 180 degree transformation this year. Who knows what they’re going to do next year, but we can’t wait to find out!
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Top 5 Music Artist Transformations of 2017


In this biz, reinvention is a must. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 5 Music Artist Transformations of 2017.

For this list, we’ll be discussing some of the most high profile artists and musical acts to significantly change their sound, look, and personal philosophies in 2017. Sorry Lady Gaga, Joanne debuted just a little too early to make the cut.

#5: Paramore

Who could’ve guessed that these pop punk rockers had it in them to make a lasting career in the music industry? Their legions of fans, that’s who. Although their followers might’ve been emo kids and Warped tour faithfuls back in the day, that fan base has since grown into adulthood, and Paramore’s sound has grown with them, embracing a more mature new wave and ‘80s inspired synth pop rock style. Listeners could hear the seeds of transition on Paramore’s 2013 self-titled album, but with the release of 2017’s After Laughter, its lead single “Hard Times,” and the accompanying music video… the new Paramore debuted fully formed. The critics? They LOVED it.

#4: Harry Styles

The shift from adolescence to adulthood is always hard. But when you’re an international heartthrob whose every move is tracked and dissected by fans and tabloids, well, that makes it downright impossible. Despite the odds, former One Direction member Harry Styles managed to go solo and forced people to re-evaluate their preconceived notions about him and his music. While his fellow members pushed further into the pop genre, Styles looked backwards, releasing an album steeped in rock history. Some criticized it as derivative, but for the most part, fans and critics appreciated the move. What can we say… it’s a sign of the times.

#3: Kesha

Kesha’s last couple of years have been tumultuous. In 2014, she accused longtime producer Dr. Luke of, among other things, sexual assault and battery. The fallout saw Kesha being legally forced to put her career on hold due to her contract with Dr. Luke’s label Kemosabe Records and the parent company, Sony. She managed some workarounds to perform in 2016, but under limited terms. Finally, in 2017, Kesha returned, and did so with a vengeance. Not only has her music taken on a country twang, but her lyrics and personal style have a new, fierce sense of independence and empowerment to them. Kesha weathered a storm, but came out better than ever.

#2: Katy Perry

Katy Perry has been owning the airwaves for years, smashing records left and right by consistently releasing one hit single after another. So you might be asking yourself why she’d bother to reinvent herself? One word: woke. According to interviews with the pop superstar, Hillary Clinton’s loss of the presidential race was a turning point in her life, one that made her realize that she needed to make a personal change if she ever hoped to effect change on a larger scale. As she told the New York Times, she needed to confront misogyny, and focus on self-discovery. The process and end result is 2017’s “Witness”, an album fixated on change.

#1: Miley Cyrus

Few musicians have had a career more clearly demarcated by stylistic shifts and personal transformations than former “Hannah Montana” star Miley Cyrus. She went all out with 2013's “Bangerz,” making her personal brand one defined by twerking, drug use, and overtly sexual outfits and acts. Many people thought that there was nothing left she could do to shock the public, but then she went and proved everyone wrong in 2017, by doing the exact opposite of what the world expected: releasing a tame music video. With “Malibu” and “Inspired,” Miley has kept the free spirit “Happy Hippie” attitude, but has seemingly traded out the drugs for clean living, and replaced the shock value with a more personal approach to songwriting.

Do you agree with our list? Which musical act do you think has undergone a transformation most successfully? For more entertaining top 10s and musically-inclined Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.
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