25 Best Singers Of All Time (India)

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Published on  |  Last Updated on July 15, 2023

Indian Music is vast and diverse. So we have picked out some of the singers who we though you should know about. From the singers from the 40s to todays musicians. The blog gives you glimpse of best singers of Indian music.

Manna Dey

Probodh Chandra Dey famously known as Manna Dey was an Indian playback singer. Revered as one of the greatest and most legendary singers of India. Starting his musical journey as an assistant music director. Then debuting in the year 1943 with the song “Jago Jago Aayi Usha” composed by K.C Dey for the movie Tamana. In the following year, Dey sang for the movie Amar Bhupali in three different languages Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi. Which helped in cementing his name in the world of Indian music.

Throughout his musical career, he recorded almost 4000 songs. Giving numerous hits along the way such as “Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh” or the duet with Kishore Kumar “Yeh Dosti.” The contribution made by him in the field of Indian music and cinema is unparalleled. Dey has also won many awards and honors for his music. His artistry has been celebrated not only by the audience but by the Government of India as well. In the year 1971, the Government of India honored Dey with the “Padma Shri” and the “Padma Bhushan” in 2005.

Manna Dey

Mohammad Rafi

Talking about legends we can never forget to mention Mohammad Rafi Known as the “Voice of Indian Cinema”. Trained in Hindustani classical music Rafi started singing at All India Radio in 1941 from Lahore. Recording his first song a duet with Zeenat Begum “Soniye Nee, Hiriye Nee” for the Punjabi film Gul Banoch in 1944. To pursue his music career he shifted to Bombay in 1944. Making his debut as a playback singer in the film “Gaon ki Gori (1945).” Rafi recorded his first song “Aji Dil Ho Kaaboo Mein.”

Rafi throughout his career had many successful collaborations with numerous music directors and composers such as Naushad, Shyam Sunder, S.D Burman, and many more. These collaborations created musical magic for instance “Deewana Hua Badal”, “Ude jab jab Zulfe Teri” and many more. With his soulful voice, he never failed to mesmerize the audience. In the year 1977, he won the National award for the song “Kya Hua Tera Vada” for the movie “Hum Kisise Kum Naheen”. Rafi also held international concerts, some of the venues being the Royal Albert Hall in 1978 and the Wembley conference center in 1980. The government of India honored Rafi with the “Padma Shri” in the year 1967.

Mohammad Rafi

Kishore Kumar

Abhas Kumar Ganguly known to the world as Kishore Kumar is one of the legends of India. He is known for being a genius in the field of arts. Starting his career as a singer in the year 1948 with the song “Marne ki Duayen kyon Mangu” for the movie “Ziddi”. From excelling in various fields from singing, acting, directing, and music composing. Unlike his other contemporaries, Kumar did not have formal music training. Further, he was widely known to incorporate the technique of yodeling in his songs. Some of them are “Yeh Dil Na Hote Beechara”, and “Zindagi Ek Safar Hain Suhana.” 

Under the musical composition of S.D Burman Kumar, he lent his voice to the actor Dev Anand. Producing musical gems from the 50s to the 70s. One of the amazing examples of his versatility is the song “Aake Seedhi Lagi Dil Pe.” In which he sang both the parts of a male and a female singer for a supposed duet. Accompanied by Pran and Kumar’s exceptional acting the song was a huge success amongst the audience. Further blending the magic of cinema and music, Kumar has created illustrious music such as “Hal Kaisa Hai Janab Ka”, and “Ek Chatoor Nar” in the musical movie Padosan. Kumar holds the record of having the highest number of Filmfare awards for the Best Playback Singer Male category. Kumar keeps on inspiring up-and-coming singers. Many acts like Kumar Saanu KK Sunidhi Chauhan are avid admirers of Kishore Kumar. 

Two Legends in One Frame: Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar is an Indian singer. Regarded as one of the best singers in India and the world. Known as the “Queen of Melody”. Mangeshkar got her first break in “Dil Mera Thoda Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora” in the movie “Majboor”(1948). Continuing her career in playback singing she sang the iconic song “Aayega Aanewaala” in the movie “Mahal” in 1949. With a career spanning over 8 decades, Mangeshkar has given the Indian music industry countless songs in different genres and languages. Under various composers and directors from S.D Burman to A.R Rahman.

Her collaboration with Naushad for the magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam created the glorious song “Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya.” Which has become an anthem of love for the people across India. Her diverse discography has patriotic songs like “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo”, and heart-wrenching songs like “Lag Ja Gale”, and Luka Chuppi. Revered as the “Nightingale of India” Mangeshkar has sung in over 36 languages. Her exceptional work in the music industry has been recognized all around the world. Mangeshkar has been lauded with various honors. Some of the more notable ones are the Bharat Ratna from the Government of India in 2001 and the Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France in 2007.

Asha Bhosle

Asha Bhosle is an Indian singer and sister of the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. Bhosle is among one of the most prominent Hindi singers of all time. Having a career spanning over 8 decades, Bhosle has sung over 12,000 songs. Her first act as a playback singer was for the Marathi movie “Majha Bal”  in 1943 with the song ‘”Chala Chala Nav Bala”. Debuting in Hindi with the song “Saawan Aaya” in the movie Chunariya (1948). Bosley started earning prominence in the late 50s with the success of the songs from the movie  Naya Daur (1957) With the duets with Rafi like “Saathi Haath Badhana” and “Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri”.

Also known widely for her versatility and having a great hold in the westernized tune she gave numerous hits like “Aaja Aaja”, “O Mere Sona Re”, and “O Haseena Zulfowali”. Further, she expanded into different genres like ghazals and Qawallis and gave iconic songs like “Dil Cheeze Kya Hain” and “In Aakhon ki Masti Mein”. With such a long and prolific career Bhosle has won national awards and 2 Grammy nominations. She was honored with the Padma Vibhushan in 2000 by the Indian government.

Asha Bhosle

S. Janaki

Sistla Janakior popularly known as S. Janaki is a living Indian music legend. Respectfully known as “Janaki Amma” by the people. Her exceptional talent in music gave her the title of the “Nightingale of South India.” With four national awards, Janaki’s career spans 6 decades. She has made history in Tamil Telugu Kannada and many more industries. Starting her career as a playback singer in 1957 in the Tamil movie Vidhiyin Vilayattu. In her first year as a playback singer Janaki sang songs in six different languages. Because of her extensive contribution to the Tamil music industry, she is given the title of “Isaikkuyilby the people of Tamil Nadu. Some of her famous Tamil songs are “Kannan Mananilayai” in Deivathin Deivam (1962), “Sendhoora Poove” in 16 Vayathinile (1977), and Inji Iduppazhagha.

In her career, S. Janaki recorded the most number of songs in the language Kannada. “Shiva shiva ennada naaligeyeke” for the film Hemavathi (1977) the song is widely known for its composition and difficulty level of the song. Also known as Gaana Kogile’ (Singing Cuckoo) in Karnataka. Janaki has given multiple hits in Malayalam as well such as “Ettumanoorambalathil” in 1981 for the movie Oppol. Being a pillar of music in the Telugu industry by producing songs like, “Vennello godari andham” in 1984 for the movie Sitaara, She has also given many hit songs in the Hindi language. Being one of the maestros of music in India she has sung over 48,000 songs. The government of India honored Janaki with the Padma Bhushan in 2013 which she refused. S. Janaki will go down in history as one of the finest singers of India.

S. Janaki

K. J Yesudas 

Kattasery Joseph Yesudas also known as K. J Yesudas is an Indian playback singer who is considered to be one of the finest Indian music personalities food stop with a career spanning 6 decades. Yesudas has given innumerable hits it’s in various languages Tamil, Telugu, and many more. His first popular song was “Jaathi Bhedam Matha Dwesham”. On for November 1961. Malayalam film “Bharya” became his first major break with the songs like “Aadam Aadam” and “Dayaaparanaaya”.

Yesudas found more success in the coming years. In 1967 he delivered hit songs like “Ezhuthiyathaaraanu”, “Kalichirimaaraath and a”Maankidaavine” composed by M.S.Baburaj for the movie Udhyogastha. Furthermore, he has given numerous hits in the Hindi language as well such as jaaneman jaaneman, “Tu Jo Mere Sur Me, Sur Milale” Aaj Se Pehle Aaj Se Zyada. Known as gaanagandharvan the celestial singer. Holding the record for winning the national award 8 times. It happens to be the highest number achieved by any singer to date. The government of India honored Yesudas with the Padma Shri in the year 1975, the Padma Bhushan in 2002, and the Padma Vibushan in 2017 By the Government of India. 

Icons of Music: K.J Yesudas and S.P Balasubrahmanyam

S.P Balasubrahmanyam

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam or popularly known as SP Balasubrahmanyam is an Indian singer. He’s revered as one of the best Indian singers of all time. Made his debut on 15th December 1966 with the song “’Emiyee Vinta Moham’” in the movie “Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna”. Slowly branched out to other languages like Tamil and Malayalam. In the year 1980 Balasubrahmanyam garnered international recognition for the songs in the movie “Sankarabharanam”.

Becoming a household name in the 80s and the 90s, with songs like “Hum Bane Tum Bane Ek Duuje Ke Liye”, “Tere Mere Beech”,” Mounamelanoyi Ee Marapurani Reyi”, “Didi Tera Devar Deewana” and many more. With a glorious career spanning over 5 decades, Balasubrahmanyam has won numerous awards and accolades, For instance, six national awards, Filmfare awards, and many more. Throughout his career, Balasubrahmanyam has recorded over 50,000 songs in 16 languages. The government of India honored him with Padma Shri in 2001, Padma Bhushan in 2011, and Padma Vibhushan in 2021 given posthumously for his astounding contribution to the field of music.

Udit Narayan 

Udit Narayan is an Indian playback singer. making his debut in the year 1980 with the song “Mil Gaya” in the movie “Unees-Bees”.  Narayan Got his breakthrough in 1998 in the movie “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” with beautiful songs like “Papa Kehte Hain”, “Ghazab Ka Hain Din” and “Ae Mere Humsafar.” The song “Pehla Nasha” from the movie “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar” catapulted him to stardom. Throughout his career, Narayan has given numerous hits for instance “Yeh Hum Aa Gaye Hain Kahaan”, “Ghanan Ghanan”, and “Radha Kaise Na Jale” to name a few. With multiple successful tracks in his discography, Narayan has won many awards and accolades. some of the notable ones are four national Film Awards, and five Filmfare awards. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri in the year 2009 and with the Padma Bhushan in 2016. 

Udit Narayan 

Kumar Sanu

Kedarnath Bhattacharya famously known as Kumar Sanu is an Indian playback singer. Sanu got his first break in the year 1988 with the song “Jashna Hai Mohabbat Ka” for the movie “Hero Hiralal.” further he rose to prominence in the 90s by singing in blockbuster movies such as “Jaane Jigar Jaaneman”, “Tuu Meri Zindagi Hai”, “Nazar Ke Saamne” from the movie Aashiqui 1990, “Baazigar O Baazigar”, “Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein” from the movie “Baazigar” in 1993 and many more. Known as the “King of Melody” of Hindi cinema, Sanu has garnered many awards and accolades in his career. Sanu Is the record holder of winning the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer consecutively five times from the year 1990 to 1994. The Government of India honored Sanu with the Padma Shri in 2009.  

Kumar Sanu

Kavita Krishnamurthy

Sharada Krishnamurthy famously known as Kavita Krishnamurthy is an Indian classical and playback singer. Krishnamurthy is trained in Rabindra sangeet and Hindustani classical music. During her college days, she had the opportunity to sing alongside Lata Mangeshkar for the Bengali film Shriman Prithviraj in 1971.

In 1978 she made her Kannada debut with the song “Ondanondu kaaladaga”. “Tumse Milkar Na Jaane Kyon” in 1985 was the first major hit in Krishnamurthy’s career. Following the success of the song Krishnamurthy gave numerous hits like “Hawa Hawaii” and “Karte Hain Hum Pyaar Mr. India Se”. With her melodious voice, Krishnamurthy has also bagged many awards winning the Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer Awards consecutively from 1995 to 1997. In 1994 “Pyaar Hua Chupke Se” from the movie 1942: A Love Story was a mega-hit amongst the audience and won the 1st Filmfare award. “Aaj Main Upar”, “Mera Piya Ghar Aaya” and “Dola Re Dola” are also award-winning songs. The government of India honored She was with the Padma Shri in 2005.

Kavita Krishnamurthy

K.S Chithra

Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra famously known as K.S Chithra is an Indian singer. Chithra is a cultural icon in India because of her magnificent work in the field of music. She has recorded over 25,000 songs in languages Indian and foreign from Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi to Latin Arabic, English, and French. Trained in Carnatic music.

Chithra started her career in the year 1979 under MG Radhakrishnan. During her career, she has sung many majestic songs for instance, “Padariyen Padippariyen “Manjal Prasadavum”, “Indupushpam Choodi Nilkum Raathri”, “Maana Madurai” and “Payalein Chun Mun” She is a recipient of six national awards in various language, 9 Filmfare Awards South. The government of India honored her with Padma Shri in 2005, and Padma Bhushan in 2021. Chithra also became the first Indian woman who was honored by the British Parliament at the House of Commons, United Kingdom.

K.S Chithra

Rekha Bhardwaj

Rekha Bhardwaj is an Indian playback singer. Starting her career in the year 2002 by releasing my album ‘Ishqa Ishqa’. Bhardwaj’s breakthrough was in the year 2006 with the song “Namak Ishq Ka” 2006 film Omkara. Bhardwaj Went on to collaborate with different music composers and produced successful tracks. For instance, “Sasural Genda Phool” in 2009 for the movie Delhi-6, “Raat ke Dhai Baje” and “Pehli Baar Mohabbat” for the movie Kaminey in 2009, Phir Le Aya Dil for the movie Barfi in 2012, and many more. In the year 2011 Bhardwaj the National Award for the song “Badi dheere jali” from the movie Ishqiya. She is also the end recipient of the Filmfare award twice in the year 2009 in 2011. 

Rekha Bhardwaj

Mohit Chauhan

Mohit Chauhan is the Indian singer. Starting his career as the vocalist in the band “Silk Route”. The band released their first album Boondein in 1998 the songs “Dooba Dooba” and “Pehchan” did extremely well amongst the audience. His debut as a playback singer came in 2002 in the movie Road with the song “Pehli Nazar Mein Dari Thi”.

Chauhan collaborated with many famous music directors such as A.R Rahman and Pritam and produced hits like “Khoon Chala” and “Tum Se Hi”. Further, he kept releasing successful songs with Masakali, Kuch Khas Hai, and many more. His commercial success came with the songs for the movie Rockstar which was followed by other hits such as Khawabo Ke Parindey and Abhi Kuch Dino. He has won two Filmfare awards and was also listed in the Forbes celebrity top 100 of 2012.

Mohit Chauhan

Alka Yagnik

Alka Yagnik is known as one of the most prolific Indian playback singers. Trained in Indian classical music. At the age of 6, she started singing for Akashvani at All India Radio in Kolkata. Yagnik got a breakthrough with the song “Ek Do Teen” from the film Tezaab in 1988. Besides Hindi Yagnik has sung in over 25 languages. For instance, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Gujarati.

In her long career, she has given an ample number of hits such as “Choli Ke Peeche”, and “Agar Tum Saath Ho.”Yagnik has won many awards as well including seven Filmfare awards, and 2 National awards. In the year 2022 Alka Yagnik became the most streamed artist on YouTube with 15.3 billion streams and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Alka Yagnik

A. R. Rahman

Allah Rakha Rahman known to the world as A. R. Rahman is an Indian music composer, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Known as the “Mozart of Madras” Rahman is a true and magnificent artist and is a gem not only for the Indian music industry but for world music. Debuting as a music composer in 1992  in the film “Roja” directed by the legendary director Mani Ratnam. Rahman produced some of the most iconic tracks of Indian cinema. He also participated as a playback singer in the album with the song “Chinna Chinna Aasai” with singer Minmimi.

In 1994 Rahman composed “Urvasi Urvasi” for the movie Kadhalan and sang alongside Suresh Peters. His collaboration with Suresh Peters continued in the following year as well. In 1995 Rahman once again came together with Mani Ratnam for the movie “Bombay”. Which led to the creation of a soundtrack that came to be known as one of the best Indian music productions of all time. Some of them are “Kannalanae” by K. S. Chithra and “Humma Humma.” Rahman continued producing and singing great music for various movies. For instance, 1998 “Dil Se Re for the 1998 movie “Dil Se”, “Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera” for the movie Swades in 2004, and many more.

A.R Rahman
Awards and Accolades

In the year 2008 Rahman composed the music for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. And bagged the Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the 81st Academy Awards. He further acquired international recognition as he also won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album and Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2010 Grammy Awards. Rehman’s abundant contribution to the field of music and art earned him the nickname of “Isai Puyal” in Tamil which translates to musical storm. The Indian government honored him with the Padma Bhushan in the year 2010. 

Shankar Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan is an Indian singer music composer and is a part of the famous trio Shankar Ehsan Loy. Mahadevan is widely known for the fusionist style of his music which include Carnatic Hindustani and jazz. In the year 1998, his album breathless topped the Indian music charts. Giving numerous hits throughout his career, for instance, the iconic song “Kajra Re”, “Desi Girl”, and many more. Mahadevan’s discography contains over 7000 songs as a playback singer. Mahadevan produces songs in various languages for example Hindi, Tamil Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. Further, winning the national award on numerous occasions. First in 2000 with the song “Yenna Solla Pogirai”, then in 2007 with the song “Ma” from “Taare Zameen Par” and in 2012 with the song “Bolo Na” from “Chittagong”. Mahadevan also received a Padma Shri in 2019 from the Indian government.

Shankar Mahadevan


Shantanu Mukherji also known as Shaan is an Indian playback, singer, music composer, actor, and host. Starting his music career in the year 1996, with the release of the album “Naujawan” under the Magnasound recording company. The album was received well by the audience. Making his debut in the movies in the year 1999 with the song “Musu Musu Hasi” for the movie the Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi. The song was popular amongst the audience. Recording many hit songs during his career. For instance, “Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe, Behti Hawa Sa Tha, Chand Sifarish, and many more. He has won many awards including Filmfare awards.

Left to Right: Shaan and Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam is an Indian playback singer music director actor and dubbing artist. Nigam Made his debut in the movies as a playback singer with the song “O Aasman Wale” in the movie “Aaja Meri Jaan.” In the 90s songs like “Yeh Dil Deewana” and “Sandese Aate Hain” brought attention to the singer. In the 2000s and 10s, Nigam achieved more commercial success with songs like, “Zoobi Doobi”, “Main Hoon Na”, and “Kal Ho Na Ho.”He also won a National award for the same. With a diverse discography and of his extensive contribution to the Indian music industry. Nigam is also known as the modern Rafi. In 2020 Government of India honored him with Padma Shri.

Sunidhi Chauhan

Sunidhi Chauhan is an Indian singer who made her debut at the age of 13 with the song “Ladki Deewani Ladka Deewana” in 1996 for the movie “Shastra.” In the year 1999, she sang the song “Ruki Ruki Zindagi” for the movie “Mast.” The song was very well received by the audience. Chauhan’s commercial breakthrough came in the year 2000 with the song “Mehboob Mere” from the movie “Fiza”. With her powerful vocals and undynamic voice, Chauhan has given numerous hits. For instance, “Dhoom Machale” from the movie Dhoom, And “Udi” from “Guzarish.” Chauhan made her international debut in the year 2010 by featuring in the alternate version of the song “Heartbeat” by Enrique Iglesias. Chauhan has been listed in the Forbes celebrity 100 of India list from there 2012 to 2015.

Sunidhi Chauhan

Shreya Ghoshal

Shreya Ghoshal is one of the finest Indian musicians of modern times. Starting her musical journey at the tender age of 4. Ghoshal is also trained in Indian classical music. At the age of 16, she won the television music reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Her sweet voice and skillful vocals caught the attention of the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He gave her the opportunity to sing for the character “Paro” in the movie “Devdas.” Which resulted in the creation of the iconic duet song “Dora Re Dola” with Kavita Krishnamurthy. Another one of the songs “Bairi Piya” from the same movie was also an instant hit amongst the audience.

Ghoshal has been among the few singers who have dominated the world of Indian music from the early 2000s till the present day. Giving unforgettable hits such as “Barso Re”, “Yeh Ishq Hai”, “Mere Dholna”, “Manwa Lage”, and many more. With her extensive discography, she has collected a number of prestigious awards and accolades. For instance, four National awards seven Filmfare awards, and ten Filmfare South Awards.

Shreya Ghoshal

Monali Thakur  

Monali Thakur is an Indian playback singer and actor. She’s the daughter of singer and actor Shakti Thakur. Thakur Gained popularity after participating in the music reality show “Indian Idol 2.” In the year 2008 Thakur got her breakthrough in the movie ”Race” with the songs “Khwab Dekhe” (Sexy Lady) and “Zara Zara Touch Me” composed by “Pritam.” Thakur has given multiple hits like “Sawaar Loon” from the Film “Lootera” in 2013. For which she also won the Filmfare award. Further, Thakur also won the National Award for the song Moh Moh Ke Dhaage” from the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha in 2015. 

Monali Thakur  

Arijit Singh

Arijit Singh is an Indian singer and music composer. Born to a Sikh father and a Bengali mother Singh showed an interest in music from a very early age. His talents were recognized and encouraged by his parents. Subsequently, he was trained in Indian Classical music. In the year 2011, he made his Hindi debut with “Phir Mohabbat” in the movie “Murder 2”.

The singer collaborated with many music composers like Vishal-Shekhar for the song “Dua” and “Phir Le Aaya Dil” with Pritam for the movie “Barfi”. But his breakthrough came in the year 2013 with the song “Tum Hi Ho” from the movie “Aashiqui 2” composed by Mithoon. Over the years he released many successful songs such as “Ilahi”, “Kabira” and “Dilliwali Girlfriend.” Singh has become one of the widely known Indian singers of today’s time. With an amazing discography, he has also won many awards accolades for instance, Six Filmfare awards, also has won a National award for the song “Binte Dil” from the movie Padmavat.

Arjit Singh

Sid Sriram

Siddharth Sriram better known as Sid Sriram is a Carnatic musician, playback singer, music composer, and producer. Born in Chennai Tamil Nadu Sid moved to California with his parents at the age of 1. Sid started learning Carnatic music from the tender age of three with his mother Latha Shriram. Focusing on his musical career Sid graduated from Berkeley College of Music in music production and engineering. Starting his career as a singer with “Adiye” composed by none other than A.R Rahman. Over the years giving numerous hits such as “Srivalli” from the movie “Pushpa” The Rise” became an Internet sensation and garnered wide appreciation from audiences from all around the world. Sriram also sang “Urike Urike” and “Kumkummala” for the movie “Brahmastra”. Sid is one of the contemporary talents who has composed produced and sung in various languages Tamil, Telugu Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, and Marathi.

Sid Sriram


Anirudh Ravichandran also known as Anirudh is an Indian singer, music composer, and music producer. Making his debut as a musical composer with the mega-hit song “Kolaveri Di” which took the Internet by storm. Anirudh has also worked with various artists such as Siva Karthikeyan and veteran S. Janaki. After signing with Sony Music in 2016 he has produced independent albums. In 2017 aneroid launched his first single “Surviva” which became the fastest Tamil song to get 1,000,000 streams


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