Youngest artists to release albums in history, from Stevie Wonder to North West

From a Guinness World Record holder aged two to a Motown legend, these eight singers were making music from a very young age

Kanye West's daughter, North, has announced she will be releasing her first album, titled Elementary School Dropout. AFP; Getty Images
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The news that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s 10-year-old daughter, North West, is set to release an album, has shone a spotlight on the next generation of musical stars.

North announced onstage at a listening party for West’s latest album Vultures 2 in Phoenix, Arizona, that her first album would be titled Elementary School Dropout – a nod to her dad’s 2004 debut The College Dropout.

The tween’s announcement follows her appearance in West’s new music video for his song Talking, a collaboration with fellow rapper Ty Dolla $ign, in which she raps: “It’s your bestie, Miss, Miss Westie / Don’t tryna test me / It’s gonna get messy”.

The video has since been viewed more than 17 million times on YouTube.

Despite not yet being a teenager, North isn’t the youngest person to have put out their own music. Releasing nursery rhymes and classical music to pop and rap, here are some of the youngest singers to have their own albums.

Nonoka Murakata, aged two

Murakata was just two years old when she entered the Guinness World Records as the youngest solo artist to release an album.

The toddler from Bunkyo, Japan, released the album Nonochan Nisai Kodomouta in May 2021, which featured an array of regional and national children’s songs.

Known at Nono-chan, Murakata first found national fame when she won silver in Japan's 35th Nursery Rhyme Children's Song Contest in October 2020 as the youngest person to come second and released her album the following year.

Atithi Gautam K C, aged three

Gautam, from Lalitpur, Nepal, released her eponymous album in July 2010 at the age of three, with her parents saying she started singing aged 20 months.

The album featured nine Nepali-language songs and was released at a ceremony where she sang the national anthem.

She followed up with a second album, Top of the World, in 2011, and a third, Gurans and Sakura in 2016, which featured songs in English, Japanese and Nepalese.

Emily Bear, aged five

A piano prodigy from Illinois, US, Bear composed her first song aged three after her grandmother discovered her musical talents when she was two.

She released her debut album in 2007 titled Five Years Wise, which comprised four original songs.

Her second album, Diversity, was produced by Quincy Jones and went to number one on the US Billboard chart. She has gone on to win an Emmy and a Grammy.

Aaron Carter, aged nine

The brother of Backstreet Boy star Nick Carter, Aaron released his self-titled debut album in 1997 at the age of nine. It sold over a million copies. The follow up, 2000’s Aaron's Party (Come Get It) shifted three million.

Florida-born Carter began performing when he was seven, enjoying gold and platinum-status album success, performing on Broadway and later appearing on Dancing with the Stars.

He died aged 34 in November 2022 of accidental drowning following a drug overdose.

Jackie Evancho, aged nine

The American singer began gaining fame by entering talent competitions in and around her native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She released her first album, Prelude to a Dream, in November 2009 when she was nine. Featuring the song Amazing Grace, it made its debut at number two on the Billboard Classical Albums chart.

Her next album, O Holy Night, released when she was 10, entered the Billboard 200 at number two, making her the youngest solo artist ever to debut in the top 10 and the youngest solo artist to go platinum in the US.

Charlotte Church, aged 12

Born in Cardiff, Wales, soprano Church released her first album, Voice of an Angel - a collection of arias and traditional songs - in 1998 when she was 12.

The multi-million selling album went to number one on the US Billboard Classical Albums Chart, going two-times platinum, and made her the youngest artist with a number one album on the UK’s classical crossover charts.

Stevie Wonder, aged 12

The musical pioneer released his debut album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, in September 1962 on the famous Tamla Motown record label.

While the album did not feature Wonder singing, it showcased his composing and playing talents, as he performed on the harmonica, bongos, drums and organ.

While still 12, he would go on to release another album, Tribute to Uncle Ray, following up with Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, which was released when he was 13 and became his first number one album in the US.

Lil’ Bow Wow, aged 13

The US rapper whose real name is Shad Gregory Moss, released his debut album at the age of 13.

Ohio-born Moss began rapping aged six under the moniker “Kid Gangsta” and was discovered by rapper Snoop Dogg when he performed at a concert in LA.

Snoop Dogg gave Moss his stage name and enlisted him to appear on his 1993 album Doggystyle when Moss was six.

Lil' Bow Wow's album, Beware of the Dog, came out in 2000. It went double platinum, and the track Bow Wow (That's My Name) that featured Snoop Dogg topped the US rap chart.

Updated: March 16, 2024, 3:04 AM