Ever since the days of ancient Greece, music has been an important part of Greek culture. From Pythagoras’s observations of sound to the Greek modes, they’ve contributed hugely to music as we know it today.
One other way they’ve given to music is through the large number of talented singers that have come out of the country. Greeks have always had a love for music and singing, and have produced some of the greatest singers of all time.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the lives and careers of 15 of the greatest and most famous Greek singers of all time. Let’s get started.
1. Nana Mouskouri
Nana Mouskouri grew up in Athens, where she started singing at six years old. She had a deep, raspy voice that was unusual for a child, and it revealed that she had only one vocal chord, which contributed to her sound.
She originally went to school to study opera but found a passion for jazz. Mouskouri was first noticed while singing in Jazz clubs and gained popularity by winning prizes at local festivals.
In 1960, she signed a recording contract with a Paris-based company and went on to record the soundtrack for a German documentary. In the documentary, she sang a song called “White Roses From Athens,” which sold millions of copies in Germany.
Since the early 1960s, Mouskouri has released over 200 albums, has appeared on many TV shows, and even hosted her own show. Today, she lives in Switzerland, and her last music tour was in 2018.
2. Haris Alexiou
Known for her unique voice and strong stage presence singing Greek folk music, Haris Alexiou was born in Thebes, Greece.
She began her singing career in the early 1970s by being featured on other famous artists’ albums, including beginning a lifelong friendship with Greek composer Manos Loizos.
In 1975 she released her first album 12 Songs and since then Alexiou has recorded over 30 albums and won several awards for her music.
The last album she recorded was in 2007, and she still performs her Greek songs around the world.
3. Demis Roussos
When he was 17, he began participating in several music bands in Athens although he didn’t start getting noticed until 1967 when he joined the band Aphrodite’s Child.
His career took off in 1968 in Europe while he was playing bass guitar and singing in his band. His solo career didn’t start until the early 1970s when he released several of his own albums.
His career soared, and he had several hit songs, including “Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye.” He continued to release albums and toured from the 1970s until the early 2000s.
He appeared on different TV shows, won several awards, and sold over 60 million albums worldwide.
4. Maria Callas
One of the greatest Opera singers of all time, Maria Callas was born in Manhattan, New York to Greek immigrant parents.
They later moved back to Greece when Callas was young where she went to school to study music in Athens and soon after began appearing in Greek opera houses.
In 1946, Callas’ career skyrocketed when she began singing in Italian operas. She was known as “The divine one” throughout her career until it ended in 1965.
But, sadly there was a noticeable strain on her voice, which contributed to her ending her career short.
5. Anna Vissi
Born in Cyprus in 1957, Anna Vissi was a singer who began performing early on in her life.
At the tender age of six, she began studying singing, and she had her first big performance at 12 in a competition that she won. Then at 14, she was performing solo on television after moving to Athens with her family.
However, it wasn’t until she was 20 years old that she really made a name for herself internationally when she went on tour with other artists, Haris Alexiou and George Dalaras.
Since then she has gone on to represent both Cyprus and Greece in Eurovision song content
She may be in her mid-60s, but Vissi isn’t slowing down and she’s still performing and producing music, albums, and starring in television productions. In fact, she is still putting out top 100 singles in Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Spain.
6. George Dalaras
Born in Piraeus, Greece, George Dalaras is considered one of the best contemporary Greek singers and recorded his first song, “Expectation,” in 1967 and in 1972, his record Asia Minor went gold.
He is an avid traveler and has collaborated with a number of big orchestras in various countries, including the Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Russia, Canada, and England.
In his 50-year career, he has recorded more than 70 albums and sold over 15 million records. Today, Dalaras lives in Greece with his wife and daughter, enjoying his life.
7. Vicky Leandros
Vicky Leandros is a pop singer born in Corfu, Greece. She moved to Germany as a young child, and that is where she began her music career releasing her first song in 1965 and soon became popular.
She was invited to sing at the Eurovision Song Contest and won fourth place. Her song quickly spread, and her albums began selling worldwide.
She went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest one her second entrance, further propelling her music career. She has won numerous awards, and her latest album was released in 2015.
8. Yannis Philippakis
Yannis Philippakis was born in Karpathos, Greece, but mainly grew up in South Africa. His parents divorced when he was young, and he would visit his father in Greece every summer.
Thanks to his dad, he became interested in music, who taught him Greek music during his visits. He studied English Literature at Oxford but dropped out to focus on music. In 2005, he formed the band FOALS.
Philippakis is the lead singer and guitarist for the band Foals. The band is considered British indie rock and has gained popularity worldwide releasing six albums since 2008.
9. Agnes Baltsa
Mezzo-soprano singer Agnes Baltsa was born in Lefkada, Greece, and began studying singing in 1958. She was granted the Maria Callas scholarship and continued her studies in Germany.
She began her opera career in 1968 singing for many German operas. Her opera works are extensive, her most famous being Carmen by Georges Bizet.
She also starred as an opera singer in the Austrian film Duett. Her most recent performance was at the Greek Opera House in 2017.
10. Eleni Foureira
Eleni Foureira was born in Athens, Greece, and took an interest in music at a young age.
Her career started in 2007 when she became part of the girl group Mystique. The group had a few hit songs before dismantling in 2009.
Her first solo album went platinum in 2010 and she went on to release several more albums that also performed very well. She was also a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Greece.
In 2018, she signed a record deal with Sony Music and became a chart-topping artist. Foureira continues to release popular music today and has won several awards for her talent.
11. Sakis Rouvas
Born in Corfu, Greece, Sakis Rouvas is a pop singer, model, and actor who got involved in theater at a young age. While singing at local clubs, Rouvas started getting noticed by executives and other artists.
He released his first album in the early 1990s, and it quickly topped the Greek music charts. By the early 2000s, he had released eight albums.
He also had a short acting career, appearing in several films between 2007 and 2008. In 2021, he released his 14th album, which was considered the best-selling Greek album of 2021.
12. Sotiria Bellou
Sotiria Bellou was born in Euboia, Greece, and began singing and playing guitar at three years old.
Her singing career began in the early 1940s, and she was considered a Rebetiko singer. Rebetiko was considered urban Greek music during its time.
She was known for her powerful voice that would pick up perfectly on gramophone records. From the 1940s to the 1970s, she collaborated with the best Rebetiko composers.
She was also a political activist who led an openly challenging life.
13. Stefania Liberakakis
Stefania Liberakakis is a pop singer, YouTuber, and actress who although born in the Netherlands was born to Greek parents and she often spent time in Greece during her childhood.
She won several singing contests in her early career and released her first song in 2018 called “Stupid Reasons.” She was also part of the girl group, Kisses, in 2016.
She participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 and came in tenth place. In the last few years, she has also started a career in voice acting, providing a Dutch voice for various dubbed versions of notable movies, like Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr.
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1938, Marinella is a folk singer and musician who began participating in theater as a child.
She tried to give up music to focus on school, but that didn’t last long. She ended up joining an artistic group in her teens and then a military theater in her early 20s.
In 1957, she released her first song and soon became widely known in Greece. During her career, she released several albums and collaborated with many artists. She is widely respected in Greece, but she no longer does tours.
15. Giannis Ploutarhos
Giannis Ploutarhos is a contemporary singer and songwriter born in Mavrogeia, Greece.
He started singing when he was six years old, and then at 16, he began singing in nightclubs. But, it wasn’t until he released his debut album in 1998 that he started to receive some success.
However, his second album released in 2000 was certified gold, which propelled his career exponentially.
Since then, he has released several albums and won numerous awards with his most recent album being released in 2011.
Summing Up Our List Of Great Greek Singers
As you can see from our list above, there is a wide range of musical styles represent in Greek artists.
Whether it be folksy songstresses, swoon-worthy jazz artists, trendy pop singers, or divine opera divas, there is no shortage of talent calling Greece home.
We hope you enjoyed learning about some of their lives and let us know who we should add next to the list!