15 Best Asian Singers: The Ultimate Playlist

best asian singers
The best Asian singers. Image by Larm Ramh on Unsplash.

It’s no secret that some of the most talented singers on the planet come from Asia, and today we’re here to celebrate the continent’s finest.

The region is home to the globally relevant popular music scenes in China, Japan, Korea, and India, as well as vibrant smaller markets.

We’ll cover the best 15 Asian singers across pop, rock, hip-hop, and beyond, so prepare for some powerhouse vocals!

15. Hua Chenyu

Hua Chenyu is one of the most famous Chinese singers and pop stars. A relatively new artist, he gained mainstream appreciation when he appeared on Chinese television series Singer 2018.

The pop singer distinguished himself from numerous talented vocalists on the show with his powerful, dynamic voice and stage presence.

He’s undoubtedly one of the best Asian singers from the younger generation, and with just five studio albums to his name, he’s got plenty of room to grow further.

14. Mitski

Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski has forged a unique career on her own terms since breaking onto the scene in 2012.

Known as one of the best Asian singers and performers, she’s subverted traditional pop music and implemented indie, folk, and rock elements into her compositions.

She’s the sole writer on the vast majority of her own songs, and her critically-acclaimed albums display a continued artistic growth and boldness to explore uncharted territory

Related: 15 Best Asian Musicians: Superstars of Rock, Rap, K-Pop, and More

13. Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama is one of the best Asian singers from the new generation. The sensational Asian star was born in Niigata, Japan, and moved to London at age five.

She signed to The 1975’s record label Dirty Hit in 2020 (making her a labelmate of the number nine singer on this list, Beabadoobee). She then dropped her critically-lauded first studio album Sawayama.

Sawayama is a bit of a wildcard creatively, freely mixing art pop with R&B, rock, and electronic music.

Her dynamic vocals are not her only calling card – she’s also a fashion model and made her acting debut this year with John Wick: Chapter 4.

12. Lu Han

Hailing from Beijing, China, Lu Han is the real deal and can sing, rap, dance, and act with aplomb.

The pop star is one of the best Asian singers and one of the biggest draws in the Chinese market. In fact, he’s been so successful as to become the second highest-paid celebrity in the country, according to Forbes. 

Lu Han cut his teeth in South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo before departing in October 2014 and making his solo debut.

Beyond his music career, he’s also appeared in variety shows, dramas, and films, such as playing the lead role in Time Raiders, which broke Chinese box office opening weekend records.

11. Ayumi Hamasaki

The Empress of J-pop is undoubtedly one of the best Asian singers, as evidenced by her widespread influence and popularity in Japan and beyond.

She has many soaring ballads and classic pop songs to her name and has also added dance and rock music elements to her output.

Born in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at age 14 to pursue a singing and acting career.

Her debut album, A Song for ××, was released in 1998 when she was 21, and debuted at the top of the Oricon charts and eventually sold a million copies.

She’s since sold more than 60.94 million units, making her the highest-selling Japanese solo artist ever.

Related: The 10 Best K Pop Songs of All Time 

10. Eason Chan

We’ve now hit the top 10 best singers in Asia, and among Asian male singers, Eason Chan is a massive name.

He has been named the best Mandarin Male Singer three times, being the only artist to achieve this apart from Johnny Yin. He’s also been ranked sixth on the Forbes China Celebrity Top 100 list. 

Chan is known for his expressive, emotive vocals and is widely considered one of the greatest singers of his generation in the Cantopop, Mandopop, and Hokkien pop spheres.

9. Beabadoobee

Who is the greatest Filipino singer? Bedroom pop phenomenon Beabadoobee is undoubtedly at the top of the list.

The 22-year-old recording artist only started playing guitar at 17 and learned to play the instrument from watching YouTube tutorials.

She’s since grown leaps and bounds as a songwriter and vocalist, and how quickly she has blown up and matured as an artist is a sight to see. Her nearly 15 million monthly Spotify listeners would no doubt agree.

Initially known for a dreamy indie rock aesthetic, she’s since expanded into various genres in pop and rock and helped along by high-profile touring spots such as supporting labelmates The 1975 and Taylor Swift, her star keeps growing.

8. Koji Tamaki

Kōji Tamaki is one of the best Asian singers to emerge from the rock and roll world, having forged his name fronting major 1980s Hokkaido rock act Anzen Chitai.

The singer-songwriter and guitarist emerged as a solo artist in 1987 with his debut album All I Do, which became one of several top 10 Japanese chart hits. Beyond rock music, he has explored folk, pop, and country music in his wide-ranging discography.

His moving vocals are widely lauded in Japan, and he has been voted the greatest singing voice in the country. Critics have also described him as a “living national treasure of music” who only gets better with age. 

7. Teresa Teng

Who is Asia’s sweetest voice? Many pop fans would say the Eternal Queen of Asian Pop, Teresa Teng.

The Asian pop diva is a cultural icon in Chinese pop music, and it’s been said wherever there are Chinese-speaking people, there is the music of Teresa Teng. 

Since beginning her career in 1967, she has sold 48 million albums and has sung on more than 1700 recordings.

She has quite a command of Asian languages and has recorded in her native tongue of Mandarin, Japanese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Shanghainese, Indonesian, Italian, and English.

Related: 20 Best Asian Rappers That You Need to Know 

6. Twice

Hailing from South Korea, Twice’s nine-piece girl group has several of the best Asian singers in popular music.

The group is famed for its stunning visuals, scintillating dance routines, and powerhouse vocals.

Main vocalist Jihyo leads the charge with her broad range and distinctive style, although the group has several talented pop singers and rappers.

Nayeon and Jeongyeon are also noted as standout vocalists in the multi-talented group.

Twice has also found success at home and internationally, for example, on the US, Canadian and Japanese charts.

They’ve sold 15 million albums in the Korean and Japanese markets, no doubt helped by their three Japanese members, Mina, Sana, and Momo, who enable the group to make Japanese language versions of their songs.

5. Jay Chou

The King of Mandopop is considered by many to be the best male singer in Asia and has sold 30 million records across his 23-year career.

Chou’s pop songs focus on pulling the heartstrings, and he has many superb ballads.

He has a vast fanbase across the Chinese market, and despite widespread piracy in the region, all of his albums have sold at least 2 million records.

Chou deftly weaves pop vocals with rock and rap influences into his work. The multi-talented star can play a wide range of instruments in addition to producing his records and writing a significant amount of his songs.

4. Hikaru Utada

Japanese-American superstar Hikaru Utada has forged an internationally successful career across four decades.

She is known as one of the best Asian singers in the pop, R&B, and dance genres. 

Utada’s Japanese-language debut album First Love is the biggest-selling Japanese album of all time and was the first of her six consecutive number-one hit albums. 

Most of her 11 studio albums are certified Platinum or above in her home country, and over the years, she’s built a presence on the US, Korean, and Chinese charts.  

The Japan Times called Utada “the most influential artist of the decade.” Her consistently strong and commercially relevant musical output is a testament to that.

Related: The 10 Best K Pop Bands in the World 

3. Blackpink

Few would deny that South Korea’s Blackpink are some of the best Asian singers, and their meteoric rise brooks little argument on the subject.

Since forming in 2016, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa have indisputably proved the appeal of K-pop internationally, being the first Korean girl group to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Albums chart with their 2022 album Born Pink.

They’ve broken too many music industry records to list here, but the group’s appeal stems from their powerful vocals, jaw-dropping visuals, and sensual dance routines.

South Korean-New Zealand songwriter Rosé is the most accomplished singer in the group, and her emotional, soulful vocals lead the quartet musically.

Related: BLACKPINK Members: Everything You Need to Know About the Sensational Korean Girl Group 

2. Shreya Ghoshal

Indian diva Shreya Ghoshal is considered by many to be the best female singer in Asia.

The south Asian singer’s beautiful melodies are instantly recognizable, and she’s widely known for her staggering vocal range and dynamic control.

After winning a reality television singing competition at 16, she made it into Bollywood with her 2002 screen debut Devdas, for which she won multiple awards.

She’s been featured five times in the Forbes Top 100 celebrities in India list and has been a leading playback singer in Indian cinema for the past two decades.

1. BTS

Who are the most popular Asian singers? The megastars in South Korean boy band BTS are some of the best candidates for that honor.

The Asian music chartbusters feature talented musicians and songwriters in the group’s seven-piece lineup.

Lead vocalists Jungkook and Jimin make up the core vocal power in BTS, but each member has their place in the group’s arrangements through singing, rapping, or both.

Jungkook is known for his wide range and technical aplomb, while Jimin’s angelic high vocals are the group’s signature.

BTS is the best-selling act in South Korean history, having sold over 30 million albums in their home country.

Their international appeal is also substantial, as the five-time Grammy Award winners became the first Asian act to sell out Wembley Stadium and the Rose Bowl in 2019.

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Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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