15 Of The Greatest and Most Famous Filipino Singers Of All Time

Last updated

The Philippines have produced some of the best singers, actors, and music producers of our time, but they aren’t always as well-known as singers from other countries. You might not know that some of the singers you love are Filipino. 

The most famous Filipino singers include people like Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Gary V, and Jed Madela. Ranging from opera to rock, these singers have risen to fame from their roots in the Philippines. 

Without further ado, here are some of the greatest and most famous Filipino singers of all time:

1. Lea Salonga

Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga, professionally known as Lea Salonga, is one of the most famous theater and stage actresses on Broadway.

Born in Manila in 1971, Salonga grew up in the Philippines and was on stage throughout her early childhood. She recorded her first album at age 10 and was the first Filipino to sign on with an international record label at age 22.

She has been a Broadway legend since starring in “Miss Saigon” on the West End in 1991. At only 20 years old, she won a Tony award for her performance. 

Although most of her career has been in musical theater, her albums were a hit too. Some of her notable songs and covers include “Afraid For Love To Fade,” “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal,” and “I Remember The Boy.”

Salonga has performed for over thirty years in several movies, TV shows, and musicals, including “Les Miserables.” She also provided the singing voice for two separate Disney princesses, Jasmine, and Mulan.

2. Regine Velasquez

No list of famous Filipino singers is complete without Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez. A staple of Filipino culture and television, she rose to prominence by winning the Asia Pacific Singing Contest in 1989. 

Since then, Regine has released over 17 studio albums, 15 compilation albums, 8 soundtrack albums, 5 extended plays (EPs), and 1 live album. Some of her most popular songs include “Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang,” “Love Me Again,” and “Dadalhin.”

She has made guest appearances on multiple television shows and provided soundtracks for movies, TV, and concerts throughout her three-decade career.

Velasquez has influenced many of the other younger singers and performers on this list, such as Jona Viray, Kyla, and KZ Tandingan.

She is one of the few Filipino singers to have a star on the Filipino walk of fame and continues to perform in the music industry up to this day. 

3. Gary Valenciano

Edgardo Jose Santiago Valenciano, more popularly known as Gary V, is one of the most dynamic Filipino performers and TV personalities up to this day.

He began his career in 1982 at the age of 18, debuting as a singer in the TV program “The Pilita and Jackie Show.” He quickly rose to fame and had his first solo concert in 1984.

He is best known for his energetic performances during his concerts, thus earning him the nickname “Mr. Pure Energy.” His stamina is all the more admirable, as Valenciano has been living with Type 1 Diabetes since his early teenage years.

He has released almost 40 albums throughout his three-decade career. Valenciano has also won the Awit Award for best male performer 12 separate times. He has also starred in several TV shows and movies.

Some of his most popular songs include “The Warrior Is A Child,” “Pasko Na, Sinta Ko,” and “Kailangan Kita.”

4. Jed Madela

John Edward Madela Tajanlangit, known professionally as Jed Madela, is one of the most active Filipino singers on the Internet.

He gained worldwide popularity in 2003 after ranking #1 consistently for 3 days in the “Voice Asia’s” internet poll, earning him the the People’s Choice Award. He was also the first Filipino male representative in the mentioned competition, and he won the Silver Trophy at the finals.

That same year, Madela was granted the Best Voice of Asia Male Singer of the Year 2003 by the Mainhill Awards of Kazakhstan. He was also the first Filipino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) and has released nine albums since. 

He is known for his melodic and high countertenor vocal range. Some of his most notable songs and covers are “Let Me Love You (From the Bottom of My Heart),” “The Past,” and “Forevermore.”

Jed has used his fame as a springboard for others, judging singing competitions and mentoring young artists as they navigate fame. He is also a staple on daytime talk shows in the Philippines. 

5. Jake Zyrus

Born Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco in Laguna in 1992, Zyrus was formerly known as “Charice” until his coming out as transgender in 2013. He has since used the name Jake Zyrus.

Zyrus has been performing publicly since he was a child, but he had his first big break in 2005 after winning 3rd place in the Filipino singing competition for pre-teens and kids, “Little Big Star.”

His distinctive high-octave voice that’s reminiscent of Whitney Houston’s at a young age caught the attention of international media. In 2007, Zyrus was invited as a guest at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

The following year, Zyrus made more international TV appearances, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She also performed at some of Canadian record producer David Foster’s concerts.

Zyrus’s first album Charice made the Billboard top ten in America in 2010, making him the first Asian solo artist to do so. He further released two albums and pursued an acting career throughout the 2010s, before coming out as a transgender man and undergoing reconstructive surgery.

He continues to perform up to this day and is an LGBTQIA+ icon for many Filipinos.

6. Sarah Geronimo

Sarah Asher Tua Geronimo, known simply as Sarah Geronimo, is currently one of the most-streamed Filipina singers.

Born in Manila in 1988, Geronimo rose to fame in 2002 after winning the local singing contest “Star For A Night.” Through that competition, she earned a recording contract with Viva Records.

A year later, Geronimo released her debut album Popstar: A Dream Come True, and it quickly became a success, featuring some of her popular songs “Forever’s Not Enough” and “Sa Iyo.”

Since then, she went on to have a career in acting and in TV hosting and endorsing.

In 2015, her soundtrack album The Breakup Playlist, together with local actor Piolo Pascual, made it into 9th place on the Billboard World Albums. In 2020, her single “Tala” placed 12th on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales, and it even became a dance craze.

Geronimo has won several awards during her career, including the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Golden Artist Award.

7. Arnel Pineda (Journey)

Born in Manila in 1967, Arnel Pineda rose to prominence in the Philippines in the 1980s.

At age 15, he and his band Ijos won several local, national, and finally, international competitions, shooting him into stardom being the lead singer. 

After several different bands and iterations of fame, Pineda was contacted by American rock band Journey and asked to audition. Since 2007, Pineda has been the new lead singer of Journey since Steve Perry left the band.

Aside from his popularity with Journey, Pineda also has a solo singing career prior to joining the band.

However, he has also had his singing career before joining Journey. His debut album in 1999, Arnel Pineda under the Warner Bros. label, was a huge success, featuring some of his notable songs “Sayang” and Iiyak Ka Rin.”

8. Ice Seguerra

Cariza Seguerra was born in the Philippines and started his performance career early, participating in beauty pageants for kids and singing competitions throughout his childhood.

He actually first appeared as a contestant in a local TV show contest “Little Miss Philippines” when she was only three years old. Her quippy remarks and cute persona quickly earned the love of the masses, and she eventually became a host of the show for 10 years.

As a child singer and actress, he was known as “Aiza.” But after coming out as a lesbian in 2007 and as a transgender man in 2014, he has since used the stage name “Ice.”

Some of his most popular songs are “Pagdating Ng Panahon,” “Pakisabi Nalang,” and “Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa.”

In 2016, he has become an important member of the Philippine government, being appointed chairperson of the National Youth Committee.

9. KZ Tandingan

Kristine Zhenie Lobrigas Tandingan-Monterde, professionally known as KZ, is a Filipina singer and rapper.

Born in Digos City, KZ won the country’s first season of “The X Factor” in 2012. After that, she signed an independent record deal and was able to release multiple records.

She is often referred to as the “Soul Supreme” of Asia because of her soulful voice and lyrics. Her jazzy covers of songs such as “Two Less Lonely People in the World” and “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako” have peaked at #2 and #3, respectively, on the national charts.

In 2018, KZ joined the judge’s panel for the Chinese TV Series “Singer 2018” and became internationally known. Her songs and albums have increased in popularity since.

10. Moira dela Torre

Unlike many of the artists on this list, Moira dela Torre didn’t rise to fame as the result of a singing competition or talent show.

Instead, she started off writing and singing commercial jingles for companies like McDonald’s, Johnson and Johnson’s, and Surf. 

However, Moira’s covers of famous songs did eventually lead her to a singing competition, where she scored runner up. Her covers of songs like “Torete” and “Titibo-Tibo,” along with her sweet, soulful, and soothing voice, earned her the attention of many fans nationwide.

Eventually, she released her first EP Moira, and her single “Love Me Instead” hit the charts. Her fame rose significantly after singing the soundtracks for the Filipino romantic-comedy film “Camp Sawi.”

She is known for her heartbreaking and touching songs, which she often co-writes with her singer-songwriter husband Jason Marvin Hernandez. Some of her well-known singles are “Paubaya,” “Malaya,” and “Tagpuan.”

11. Melanie “Kyla” Alvarez

Melanie Alvarez, whose stage name is Kyla, has single-handedly brought R&B music to the Philippines, earning her the title “Queen of R&B.”

She began her career at an early age, joining and winning several prestigious TV singing competitions. In 1997, at the age of 16, she won 3rd place in the Metropop Young Singers’ Competition.

In 2000 at the age of 19, she signed her first recording contract with OctoArts EMI Philippines. It was not until her second single “Hanggang Ngayon” that she rose to fame. 

She soon shifted to R&B yet she is still known for the versatility of her voice, often singing soulful songs. Many of her singles ranked #1 in local charts, including “Human Nature,” “If The Feeling Is Gone,” and “Not Your Ordinary Girl.”

Kyla was the first East Asian woman to win an MTV Music Award and has a star on the Philippines Walk of Fame.

12. Jona Viray (La Diva)

Jonalyn Roxas Viray is better known by her stage name, Jona. She rose to fame in 2004 after becoming the first grand winner of local TV singing contest “Pinoy Pop Superstar.”

Known as the “Philippines’ Soul Princess,” Jona performs a variety of operatic styles and melismatic singing.

In 2016, she was part of a group called ASAP Birit Queens, known for their high, belting voices. For a while, Jona was a member of the group La Diva, a female version of the Italian opera quartet Il Divo.

However, Jona paved her own career as a solo artist. Some of her popular songs and covers include “Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita,” “Pusong Ligaw,” and “Close to Where You Are.”

13. Alex Castro

Born in Quezon City in 1985, Alex Castro’s early life didn’t revolve around performing at all. Instead, Alex Castro was an elected government official by age 17 and served his local government for several years. 

In 2009 at the age of 24, however, he entered the local TV singing contest “Are You the Next Big Star?” and won the competition and shot Castro into singing and television fame. 

Since his debut performance, Castro has dabbled in film, television, and modeling, as well as continuing to perform cover songs. Among his most notable covers are “Huling El Bimbo,” “Awit Ng Kabataan,” and “Narda.”

He is currently focusing on family life and his career in politics, but he continues to be one of the most popular singers in the country of all time.

14. Bella Poarch

Social media personality and TikTok influencer Bella Poarch, better known as “Bella,” is a Filipino-American up-and-coming singer.

Born in the Philippines in 1997, Poarch migrated to the US with her family and adoptive American father when she was a child. She enlisted in the US military after her high school graduation and served four years before becoming a TikTok star in 2020.

She has only released two songs so far, “Build a B*tch” and “Inferno,” but both songs were quick chart-toppers.

Bella Poarch’s career is just beginning, but as she grows, she’s sure to continue to create excellent music and grow her career. 

15. Angelika Dela Cruz

Maria Lourdes Egger dela Cruz-Casareo, better known as Angelika dela Cruz, is more than just a singer. She is also a prolific actress in the Philippines and around the world.

Her singing career began in 1994 at 13 years old when she sang the theme song for a Tagalog dub of the popular Japanese anime “Sailor Moon.”

Two years later in 1996, she released her debut album under BMG Records and another album in 1999. Her songs “Miss Na Miss Kita,” “Dito Ba,” and many others became regular hits on local radio stations.

Although Angelika Dela Cruz mostly acts now because of legal issues with her record company, her singing career was an essential part of her life.

Summing Up Our Thoughts Of Well-Known Filipino Singers

Each of these singers has made an impact on the world from their humble beginnings.

Many other popular international singers also have Filipino blood in them, and they’re proud of it: Bruno Mars, Olivia Rodrigo, Enrique Iglesias, and Jasmine Trias, just to name a few.

Did we miss anyone from our list? Let us know and we’d be glad to add them!

Photo of author
Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. Since then, he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.