21 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Hispanic Singers Of All Time

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Today, Hispanic singers are an integral part of shaping the entertainment industry worldwide. They have been creating beautiful, melodious music for many years, and it’s great to see that their music has been resonating not just in their locality but in all parts of the globe.

In fact, the likes of Ricky Martin, Selena, and Enrique Iglesias — just to name a few — have taken the world by storm with their distinct music.

Let’s take a deep dive into 21 of the greatest and most famous Hispanic singers that have ever graced the music industry.

1. Ricky Martin

The Latin Pop God Ricky Martin is undoubtedly an international pop sensation and possibly one of the most influential singers in the world.

It’s not by accident that he’s won over 200 awards that include two Grammys, a Guinness World Record, five Latin Grammys, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — among others.

He started out singing into wooden spoons when he was only six in his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now, Martin performs for millions of people on stages around the world. He started doing commercials at nine and joined a boy band, Menudo, when he was 12. 

His solo career started in 1991 with Sony Music Mexico, and it hasn’t slowed down since. He’s released a combination of 24 studio and compilation albums across his three-decade career. His most notable being Vuelve, Sound Loaded, and Música + Alma + Sexo.

He’s done acting, broadway, coaching on music tv shows, and managed to maintain his image as the most fashionable Latin man in entertainment and his status as a sex symbol along the way. As he is happily married to a man now and a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. 

2. Selena

The Queen of Tejano Music, Selena, was born in Texas but had Mexican ancestry and strongly embraced Latin culture. She’s just as remembered for her contributions to fashion as she is for her music, making her one of the most influential Latin artists of all time.

She debuted at age eight with her older siblings in a band called Selena y Los Dinos. She signed with EMI Latin Records and released her first solo album in 1989. Her third album Entre a Mi Mundo, came out in 1992 and was on the Billboard 100 for eight months in a row. 

She won a Grammy in 1993 and was responsible for Tejano music gaining so much popularity at the time, thanks to her album Amor Prohibido being #1 on the Latin charts in 1994. 

She was tragically killed at age 23 to the devastation of her family and the world, but the impact she made lives on through her music. 

3. Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Miguel Iglesias Preysler, more known as simply Enrique Iglesias, is a famous male Spanish singer and songwriter who was the best-selling Spanish language act of the ’90s.

He was able to broaden his horizons when he made a successful switch to the English language market in the early 2000s. 

He has bounced around between record labels throughout his career but has produced an incredible 62 singles, 18 albums, and 80 music videos that alternate between English and Spanish.

Iglesias is one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time and holds the record for having 27 #1 singles on the Billboard charts. 

4. Shakira

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, better known as Shakira, is a famous Colombian singer and songwriter and one of the most popular Hispanic performers worldwide.

Her father wrote stories on a typewriter, which intrigued and inspired Shakira. At only four years old, she wrote her first poem called “La Rosa de Cristal.”

Her poems eventually turned into song lyrics, and by age eight, she wrote her first song, “Tus Gafas Oscuras.” With a little bit of hustling, Shakira signed her first record deal at 13 with Sony Music Colombia. 

Her third album, Pies Descalzos, sold more than 4 million copies and launched a two-year world tour. She’s now working on album number 12 and working as a judge on the TV show Dancing with Myself. 

She’s won numerous awards and has also become a goodwill ambassador since she founded an NGO for children in Colombia in vulnerable situations.

5. Gloria Estefan

Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García, popularly known as Gloria Estefan, is a singer and actress of both Cuban and American descent.

She started her music career as the lead singer of her husband’s group, Miami Latin Boys, later called Miami Sound Machine. Their signature song, “Conga,” earned Estefan worldwide fame in 1985.

Since then, she has released other memorable songs such as “Anything For You,” “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” and “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” which all became huge hits.

Throughout her career, she has won 7 Grammy Awards, sold more than 100 million copies of her albums around the world, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

6. Celia Cruz

Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, or Celia Cruz, was born in Havana, Cuba.

She was the daughter of hardworking parents and the oldest of 14 siblings. Cruz often sang them to sleep while her neighbors listened in. It was clear from the beginning that she was destined for greatness. 

She was a versatile performer, recording several different music styles such as guaracha, rumba, afro, son, and bolero. Guaracha music originated in Cuba and is the reason she was known as “La Guaracha de Cuba” for a time. 

She was also referred to internationally as the “Queen Of Salsa,” thanks to her musical contributions.

Throughout her career, she released 37 studio albums, as well as a plethora of live albums and collabs. She won numerous prizes and distinctions, including two Grammys and three Latin Grammys. 

7. Marc Anthony

Born Marco Antonio Muñiz Rivera, Marc Anthony is the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time and even holds a Guinness World Record for it. He’s sold more than 12 million albums worldwide and won three Grammys and six Latin Grammys. 

Anthony was the youngest of eight, born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents. His dad was a professional guitarist, so he taught Anthony how to sing in Spanish and English. He also exposed the young singer to a wide variety of musical genres early on.

Anthony started working in underground New York as a session vocalist for freestyle music. He then found a job as a songwriter and backup vocalist not soon after.

It didn’t take him long to sell more salsa records than anyone else alive, thanks to his unique style that was heavily influenced by the music his father showed him growing up.

He’s still very active in his career today, and he has also released his 14th albumin 2022, Pa’llá Voy.

8. Vicente Fernández

The King of Ranchera Music, Vicente Fernández, was a singer and actor, as well as a film producer hailing from Mexico.

As a child, he used to go to the movies with his mother, where he earned a taste for music after seeing Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete on the big screen. He got his first guitar and started studying folk music at age eight. 

He started his career busking in Tijuana and went on to record more than 50 albums that earned him four Grammys, 14 Lo Nuestro Awards, nine Latin Grammys, and a place in the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

9. Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lynn Lopez, also known by her stage name J.Lo, is a singer, dancer, and actress born to Puerto Rican parents. 

Lopez got her big break starring in a film about Selena. Starring in this role inspired her to pursue a music career alongside her acting one, so she signed with Sony Music and got started on her debut album, On The 6.

She has since put out eight other albums, with her fifth, Como Ama Una Mujer, being entirely in Spanish.

More than just a performer, Lopez is also a businesswoman. In 2001, she launched a clothing line, and in 2018, she launched a makeup brand. She’s also been a celebrity judge on American Idol and World of Dance. She also performed the Super Bowl LIV halftime show with Shakira.

Lopez has done it all, and she’s done it with class and is one of the most famous female singers of the 2000s.

10. Placido Domingo

Born José Plácido Domingo Embil, Placido Domingo is a musically diverse Spanish opera singer, conductor, and polyglot. He regularly sings in his native Spanish, as well as Russian, German, Italian, English, and French.

He is best known for his lirico-sprinto tenor voice range, giving us memorable performances such as “La Donna è Mobile,” “Recondita Armonia,” and “Largo al Factotum.”

Throughout his long career since 1957, he has won 14 Grammy awards and played 151 different roles in the opera. He has even become the most acclaimed Otello of his time. 

11. Julio Iglesias

Born Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva, Julio Iglesias is considered the most commercially successful Spanish singer in the world. He is also the father of Enrique Iglesias, who is also on this list. 

Originally playing football while studying law, he only discovered his love of music after a serious accident left him unable to walk for two years. He picked up the guitar to regain the dexterity of his hands and never stopped playing. 

Since 1958, he has performed in over 5,000 concerts and sold over 100 million records in 14 different languages. His songs such as “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” “Nathalie,” “Esa Mujer,” and many others are forever iconic in the entertainment industry.

He has created such a big mark that in 1989, he was chosen as the Special Ambassador for the Performing Arts by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and was given the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts of Spain.

12. Marta Sanchez

Spanish singer and guitarist Marta Sanchez started her interest in music early in her life, being the daughter of an opera singer. However, she didn’t pursue a career in opera.

She started performing publicly with a group called Cristal Oskuro but quickly joined up with another band, Olé Olé when she turned 19. This band is where her career took off and turned her into one of the most popular Spanish sex symbols of the ’80s.

With Olé Olé, Sanchez rose to fame as the vocalist, releasing hits like “Lili Marlen” and “Bailando Sin Salir de Casa.” She eventually left to launch her solo career. In 1993, she released her first solo album and sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. 

She’s still active today, even though her seventh and most recent album, 21 Días, came out in 2015. She’s been busy attending festivals, raking in awards, singing duets, and performing worldwide. 

13. Luis Miguel

Nicknamed “The Sun Of Mexico,” Luis Miguel is a versatile Mexican singer who has sung songs in tango, pop, ballads, and boleros, among others.

Even though he never sang in English, he won six Grammys and six Latin Grammys, with his first being at 14 for a duet with Scottish singer Sheena Easton. 

When he was a kid, his father, who was also his manager, made him watch and analyze any and everything to do with Elvis Presley. Though a bit strict and demanding, it’s his father’s discipline that’s credited in large part for his success.

Today, he’s still making music and touring the world. 

14. Juanes

Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, or more simply Juanes, is a Colombian singer and child prodigy. He started piano at only two years old and the guitar at seven.

During his teenage years, he joined the rock band Ekhymosis and released eight successful albums with them. While he first started playing hard rock and heavy metal, he has since branched out into Latin rock, Latin pop, and Cumbria, among other genres. 

As a solo artist, he has released nine albums to date and has won two Grammys, 20 Latin Grammys, and many other awards. He’s been wildly successful since and is one of the best-selling Latin artists. 

15. Luis Fonsi

Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López-Cepero, or Luis Fonsi, is undoubtedly most known for his song “Despacito,” which helped him break six Guinness World Records and sell over 11 million copies. He sings with rapper Daddy Yankee, and the song was later remixed by Justin Bieber. 

Born in Puerto Rico, Fonsi’s family moved to Orlando, Florida, when he was 10 years old. He was part of an acapella group during his high school days.

He dropped out of college despite having a full scholarship to pursue a career in music. The risk paid off, however, as he was offered a recording contract with Universal Music Latin not soon after.

He has been active in the music industry since 1998. The Puerto Rican singer has also won many awards including four Latin Grammys and five Billboard Music Awards. He’s produced 11 albums and gone on 10 different tours throughout his career so far. 

16. Paulina Rubio

Paulina Susana Rubio Dosamantes, or Paulina Rubio as she goes by on stage, is a Mexican singer, actress, and model. She’s hailed as the “Queen Of Latin Pop” and one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Mexico” twice over. 

Music and fame run in her family, so she was raised in front of cameras and on sets. She started her career at only nine years old with the group Timbiriche.

Apart from the work she did with them, she released 11 studio albums on her own, with her critical best being “Paulina,” which came out in 2000.

She’s toured the world, won awards, judged television shows, and done incredible philanthropic work for the Latino community as well. 

17. ThalÍa

Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda Mottola, known simply as Thalía, is considered one of the most influential Mexican singers and actresses and is also known as the “Queen Of Latin Pop.” She started her music career with a group called Din-Din. 

They recorded four studio albums together but later broke up in 1983, leaving Thalía to fly solo until she joined Timbiriche in 1986. She recorded four albums with Timbiriche as well but left to properly start her solo career. 

She’s now on album 18 and still going strong with concerts, tours, and acting. She also finds time to participate in multiple humanitarian campaigns and learn how to sing in English, French, Portuguese, and Tagalog on top of her native Spanish. 

18. José José

José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz, best known by his stage name José José, was born to a musical family. His mother gave him his first piano in his teens, which he learned to play while working to support his family, along with learning guitar and singing in the church choir. 

He joined a jazz band when he was 19, but his career didn’t set off by then. He also attempted to record several singles on his own with his mother’s encouragement, though none of them were successful.

He finally found success as a soloist in the ’70s with his hit song “El Triste,” which carried over into the ’80s and the rest of his four-decade career. 

Thanks to his tenacious tenor vocal ability he was known as “El Príncipe de la Canción,” or the Prince of Song. He also influenced many Latin pop artists throughout his life. 

19. Bad Bunny

Rapper and record producer Bad Bunny was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, to the name Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio. He’s a multi-million dollar Latin trap and reggaeton rapper, singer, and professional wrestler who started freestyle rapping for his classmates in high school. 

At 14, he started writing songs and putting them on SoundCloud. One of his songs, “Diles,” got him an official record deal with Hear this Music in 2016. 

He had almost immediate success in the Hispanic community with the songs produced at the record company, but he was able to go international thanks to a collaboration with Cardi B on the song “I Like It,” which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Shortly after, he left the record company and released his debut album, X 100pre, which was added to Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. He has since put out two other solo albums and a collaboration with Colombian rapper J. Balvin and become one of the world’s biggest pop star. 

20. Olga Tañón

Born Olga Teresa Tañón Ortíz, Olga Tañón is a Grammy award-winning Puerto Rican recording artist, singer, and songwriter from San Juan. Tañón started her career at just 16 on a TV talent show called “Buscando Estrellas.” 

Her first professional performance was with Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie, but her career gained more traction when she joined Chantelle, a group that helped her explore a merengue music style while cranking out popular hits in the ’80s.

In the ’90s, she recorded several solo albums with Warner Music Latina that went platinum and garnered her international attention. Since then, she’s won two Grammys and four Latin Grammys, and has rightfully become known as the “Woman Of Fire.”

21. J. Balvin

José Álvaro Osorio Balvín, more known as J. Balvin, is a Colombian singer and rapper who is known as the “Prince Of Reggaeton.”

His personal style (grunge aesthetic) and his musical style (reggaeton) were influenced as a kid by rock bands like Metallica and Nirvana and the rapper Daddy Yankee. 

He’s released six studio albums, toured internationally, and collaborated with big-name artists like Beyonce and Ed Sheeran, among many others. Some of his hit songs include “Mi Gente,” “”Machika,” and “Ganas De Verte.”

Besides his musical influence, he also left an impact on the fashion world with his neon blonde hair and bizarre accessories. 

Wrapping Our List Of Great Hispanic Singers

As you can see from this list, Hispanic singers have had an undeniable impact on the entertainment industry today.

They’re all so extremely talented and versatile, producing content in every genre from opera to pop to rap to jazz and everything in between. And their songs are often in multiple languages to boot.

If there are names on this list that you’ve never heard of, take time now to give them a listen. You won’t be disappointed. 

Photo of author

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. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.