Perhaps a surprise to some, India is a hotbed for great singers. There’s a lot of great talent to discover, so buckle up as we tell you all about the best Indian singers.
The 15 Best Indian Singers of All Time
15. Javed Ali
Delhi-born Javed Ali was born in 1982. Now 40 years old, the talented playback singer is considered one of the best Indian singers of all time and has been featured in many Indian classic films with fun, colorful soundtracks.
Nominated for a screen award for Best Male Playback, Ali is multilingual but prefers to sing in his native Hindi.
Ali has an impressive song list, including hits like “Srivalli,” “Sande Bazi,” and “Tum Tak.”
Javed is a great singer and easy on the eyes, which is clear by his bevy of female fans.
14. Sunidhi Chauhan
Sunidhi Chauhan is popular for many reasons, including being labeled as one of the most underrated female Indian singers and a true gem of the music industry.
Now 39-years-old, Chauan started singing at local events in her hometown when she was only five years old.
Now a household name in India, Chauhan had her first taste of fame when she appeared in the Indian film Shastra at 13.
Sunidhi has won no less than seven awards for her music and film achievements and is the voice behind the song “Ruki Ruki Si Zindagi.”
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13. A.R. Rahman
Two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman is a singer and music composer from India.
Born in Chennai, Rahman made his film and music debut in the 1992 Tamil film Roja.
This film was only the start of what would grow to be a three-decade-long career that would earn him the title of one of the best Indian singers in the world.
Rahman’s impressive song and film career include the songs “Kay Sera…Sera,” taken from the 1999 film Pukar, and “Nadaan Parinde,” taken from the 2011 movie Rockstar.
Give this talented singer a listen and see why he deserves a spot on our list of the best Indian singers.
12. Krishnakumar Kunnath
Krishnakumar, better known as KK to his fans, sadly passed away after a sudden heart attack after one of his brilliant shows in 2022.
A massive loss to the Indian music scene, the singer passed away when he was only 55-years-old.
KK started his career making TV advertisement jingles and later moved on to film and music.
His greatest hits include “Meri Maa,” “Paaron,” and “Geri Geri,” all of which were taken from the hit films he starred in.
11. Kavita Krishnamurthy
Singer and Indian film actress Kavita Krishnamurthy has impressive award nominations and wins.
Starting her career in 1991, Kavita received a nomination for Best Female Playback Singer by Filmfare and is responsible for songs like “Bin Tere Sanam” and “Maiyya Yashada.”
One of the best female Indian singer/actresses, she has also appeared in several films, including the hit Bollywood movies Karma, Mohra, and Devdas.
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10. Sukhwinder Singh
Born in the Punjabi city of Amritsar, Sukhwinder Singh always hoped to see his name in lights as he believed his true passion and talent lay in the Indian film and music industry.
Fast forward a few decades later, and this internationally acclaimed singer would find himself living the dream he had for himself since childhood.
Famously, his song “Jai Ho” was used in the soundtrack for the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which won many prestigious awards after its release in 2008.
9. Alka Yagnik
Hindi Cinema star Alka Tagnik takes the number nine spot on our Indian singers list, and rightly so.
Born in Kolkata, India, the talented artist proved herself to be one of the best Indian singers thanks to popular songs like “Payaliya,” “Mela Dilon Ka,” and “Maiyya Yashoda.”
A little know fact about Alka is that she has been in a long-distance marriage for well over twenty-five years, preferring to focus on her true passion, music.
Preferring to be called the moniker Mukesh, this talented man and one of the best Indian singers enjoyed fame and fortune for many years before he sadly died in 1976.
Ranked as one of the greatest Indian Playback singers, Mukesh Chana Mathur would all but take over the Hindi film industry with appearances in the hit films Friends, Kalyanam, and Ramji Rao Speaking.
Mukesh enjoyed a four-decade-long career in the film industry that ultimately ended when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
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7. Kumar Sinu
Anyone who has ever watched a Hindi or Bollywood movie would know the name Kumar Sinu.
Labeled by some as the “King of Melody” in Bollywood, the actor/singer retired fairly recently, citing his dislike of what the industry is becoming as his reason to enjoy a simple, quiet life away from the glitz and glamor of Bollywood.
For fans, this meant having to go back and listen to his songs from old films like Ka Rishta and the television show Kistmat to get a glimpse of their favorite singer in action.
The retired playback singer has an estimated net worth of $9 million.
6. Sanu Nigam
43-year-old Sanu Nigam was born in 1973 and is most known for his many Hindi and Kannada cinema appearances, including Veer Zaara and Kurbaan.
The easy-on-the-eyes singer retired in 2019 after a public spat with the music company T-series.
While we are not too sure about the details of the spat, we know that it must have been big for one of the best Indian singers to all but abandon his lucrative career.
Sanu was signed to Universal Sound India and Magnasound Records and made a name for himself with songs like “Do Pal,” “Shukran Allah,” and “Deewana Tera.”
5. Kishore Kumar
Not just a handsome face, Kishore Kumar is known for his interesting singing voice that includes yodeling and various accents and sounds.
With songs like “Kenne Ki Nahin Baat,” “Bhini Bine Ye Bheegi Bheegi,” and many more in the list of achievements, the singer was often referred to as the best 80s romance singer.
Kishore Kumar sadly passed away in 1987, leaving fans wondering just how popular he would have become had his career not come to a screeching and untimely halt.
4. Asha Bhosle
Nicknamed the “Queen of IndiPop,” Asha Bhosle is more than just one of the best Indian singers. She has added entrepreneur, actress, and TV personality to her already-impressive resume.
Often regarded by many as the most influential woman in Hindi cinema, Bosle has only slowed down her acting roles, choosing to have the flexibility of selecting which roles she would like to tackle next.
Bosle’s first role in Hindi cinema was in the 1948 film Sawaan Aaya: Chunariya, while she was last seen in 2019 in the drama Saand Ki Aankh.
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3. Shreya Ghoshal
Shreya Ghoshal is a name that all Indian music and film lovers have come to know over the years.
At only 38-years-old, this talented woman has starred in many films and is now one of the wealthiest singers in India, with a net worth of $25 million.
Her songs include “Papa Mere Papa,” “God Allah Aur Bhagwan,” and the exciting “Chandra.”
Be sure to give them a listen as we get closer to number one on our list of the best Indian singers of all time.
2. Mohammed Rafi
Who is India’s legendary singer? Many would say Mohammed Rafi.
Winner of the esteemed Padma Shri award, Mohammed Rafi was considered one of the most influential singers in India, with songs like “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” on the list of his accomplishments.
Rafi passed away following a heart attack at the age of 55. But, thankfully for us, he left behind a lifetime of memories and songs to keep him in our hearts and minds forever.
1. Lata Mangeshkar
An online search will quickly identify Lata Mangeshkar as the best Indian singer of all time.
Starting her career at the young age of just 13, Lata was born in 1929 and passed away after a long career at the ripe age of 92.
With a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award on her mantle, she was known for her distinctive voice, covering a range of no less than three octaves.
You can listen to songs like “Bangle Ke Peechle,” “Tere Liye,” and “Lo Chali Main” to hear this incredible voice from a woman that had a lifetime of making beautiful music and films.
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