When you think of countries with a wealth of talented singers, Chile is probably not the first place that pops into your mind. However, Chile has a vibrant musical culture and history, and the country has produced some incredibly creative and popular singers.
You might not have heard of many of the country’s successful singers, so we’ve compiled a list of the 11 most famous Chilean singers to introduce you to some of this country’s most impressive artists.
1. Ana Tijoux
Ana Tijoux is a French-Chilean singer who rose to fame as a hip-hop MC during the 1990s.
Although she was born in France, Tijoux’s parents are Chileans who fled to France to escape after the 1973 coup in Chile.
Tijoux returned to Chile in 1993, after a friend sparked her interest in hip hop music and dance.
In 1995, she began performing with Las Tetas, and from 1997 to 2006, she performed with a group called Makiza. In 2006, Tijoux went solo and found success through collaboration with another Chilean singer, Julieta Vanegas.
2. Álex Anwandter
As a child, singer-songwriter Álex Anwandter studied the violin and loved Michael Jackson.
He went to university to study psychology but dropped out to pursue music instead. After a brief stint at Escuela Moderna de Música, he began pursuing a career as a singer.
Anwandter became popular as the frontman for the band “Teleradio Donoso,” which was active from 2005 to 2009.
After the group disbanded, Anwandter began pursuing a solo career. He has since received two Latin Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Short Form Music Video.
3. Francisca Valenzuela
Francisca Valenzuela is an American-born Chilean singer. She was born and grew up in San Francisco until age 12 when her family moved back to Chile.
Valenzuela studied classical music as a child and also wrote poetry. She became well known as a poet at age 13 with her book Defenseless Waters.
At 19, she independently released a song she had written as a teenager, which became incredibly popular in her homeland. Rolling Stone magazine in Chile recognized it as one of the top 100 songs of the year.
In addition to her music career, Valenzuela works as a model and clothing designer.
4. Paloma Mami
Paloma Mami, born Paloma Rocío Castillo Astorga, is a singer and songwriter from New York City who spans the genres of pop and trap.
She came up with the stage name Paloma Mami based on Drake’s Instagram handle.
Mami made her breakthrough contestant on the Chilean talent show Rojo el color de Talento. However, she only appeared in two episodes before exiting the show.
After leaving, Mami released her debut single “Not Steady,” in 2018. She was quickly signed by Sony Music Latin following that and after opening for Arcangel at Teatro Caupolicán.
In 2021, her first album Sueños de Dalí went gold. She has been nominated for 23 awards, including the MTV Millennial Award for Viral Artist.
5. Tito Beltrán
Ernesto Beltrán Aguilar, known by his stage name Tito Beltrán is a Chilean tenor who has performed in opera houses around the world.
Born in Punta Arenas, he moved to Sweden at the age of 21 to study Italian opera at Göteberg University under renowned teachers Otto Kern and Robin Stapleton.
As well as opera, Beltrán has performed popular music and appeared at the annual Swedish festival The Rhapsody of Rock.
But, in 2008, he was convicted of child molestation and rape and spent two years in prison and six months under house arrest.
After completing his sentence in Sweden, he began performing again and was selected as one of the first judges on the Chilean version of X-Factor.
6. Roberto Parra Sandoval
Roberto Parra Sandoval, better known by his nickname “El Tío Roberto,” was a singer and songwriter from Santiago. He was a member of the Parra family, a prominent Chilean artistic family.
As a child, he played guitar and, at the age of 14, began performing in clubs in southern Chile.
Luces del Puerto hired Parra to sing. There he met La Negra, a performer with whom he started a romantic relationship.
Parra wrote a book of poetry about the relationship, which he later turned into a play that has become a critical cornerstone of Chilean theater.
7. Víctor Jara
Víctor Jara was not only a well-known singer but also a poet, teacher, theater director, and social justice activist.
He was well known for his contributions as a director of Chilean theater and for helping to establish the New Chilean Song Movement (Nueva Canción Chilena), a genre that emphasized social and political messaging.
He was known for releasing songs with a political stance and was a key figure in a cultural-political renaissance that swept Chile.
In 1973 he was arrested after a military coup by General Augusto Pinochet. He was subsequently tortured and then shot to death for crimes against the regime.
8. Paty Maldonado
Paty Maldonado, born Clorinda Érika Patricia Maldonado Aravena, is a Chilean singer, TV presenter, and political activist from Santiago.
She is best known for her performances of “La Quintralada” and “La Música,” and for acting in telenovelas.
As an open supporter of her country’s military dictatorship, Maldonado is a controversial figure in Chile.
She was against Allende’s Popular Unity government and called general Augusto Pinochet a close friend. She is also the founder of the right-wing party Democracia Nacional de Centro.
9. Monna Bell
Monna Bell was a prominent singer born in Santiago. She won a local talent contest as a teenager and became a regular guest on a regional radio show.
In 1956, she was hired as a vocalist for Robert Inglez’s group, which toured New York and Europe. In Madrid, she was so well-received that she decided to go solo.
Bell gained solo popularity with the release of a novelty jazz tune called “Un Telegrama.”
She released many solo albums and continued to tour internationally through the 1980s, eventually settling down in Mexico and branching out into film and television before retiring.
10. Cristina Gallardo-Domâs
Cristina Gallardo-Domâs is a Santiago-born operatic soprano. She debuted as Madame Butterfly in 1990 in her hometown.
Since then, she has had a successful career touring opera houses in Europe and around the world. She most frequently performs works by Puccini.
Gallardo-Domâs has a degree in music with honors from Escuela Moderna de Música y Danza, and has also studied at Julliard in New York.
She has received many honors and accolades for her performances, including the Gabriela Mistral Award.
11. Mon Laferte
Mon Laferte was born Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte in Chile. She is a Chilean artist with the most Spotify listens and has sold more than 1.5 million digital copies in Latin America. In 2017, she was nominated for five Latin Grammys.
Laferte started her music career at age nine, after winning a guitar in a singing contest. She entered the Chilean talent competition Rojo es el color de Talento in 2003, and released her first album that same year.
The album was an immediate hit, going Platinum in Latin America. Since then, Laferte has released further albums and gone on tour. In addition, she has branched out into visual art, with an exhibition in Mexico City.
Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Chile
Chilean artists may not be as internationally well known as musicians from other South American countries, but they deserve to be!
Many of these artists have made important contributions to the world as musicians and as political activists, actors, directors, poets, and filmmakers.
If you have never heard of the artists on this list, take a moment to listen to their music and get to know them.
Then share this list with people you know to spread the word about these amazing Chilean talents!