11 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Russian Singers

Last updated

Russia has a lively music industry with many of its own dazzling pop stars and personalities. But there are likely some famous singers you didn’t know were Russian! They thrive in the world of pop and classical music. 

This list features 11 of the most famous Russian singers that you should check out. Their sounds are unique and exciting, and you’ll find something to love. Let’s get started.

1. Alla Pugacheva

One of the legends in the Russian music industry is Alla Pugachevia. She started her career in 1965 and continued to perform and create music today.

She is known for her insane ability to sing in several languages, including Russian, English, German, French, Kazakh, Hebrew, Finnish, and Ukrainian. 

In Russia, she is beloved for her emotional performances and musical range. In 1991, she was awarded People’s Artist of the USSR, exemplifying how loved she was by the Russian public.

Pugacheva’s talent extends beyond just her lustrous voice. She was not only the leading lady in a musical film The Woman Who Sings, but she also played a role in crafting the music for the film.  

2. Lena Katina

Next up we have Elena Sergeevna Katina. She is a famous Russian pop artist that goes by the stage name Lena Katina. She began her career as part of the pop duo t.A.T.u. 

Katina is known for her fiery red hair and dazzling stage presence. In 2009, Katina broke away from t.A.T.u. to pursue a solo career, which became a successful endeavor.

Over the years she released several hits, including “Never Forget” and “Who I Am,” which cemented her success as an individual artist. Some people revere t.A.T.u. as the greatest Russian musical act, thus also making Katina a legend in the Russian pop community. 

3. Nyusha

Successful pop star Anna Vladimirovna “Nyusha” Shurochkina has released eight singles that topped the charts in Russia, giving her the record for most number-ones of any Russian artist. She won Best Russian Act twice in less than five years. 

She sang in rock bands as a teenager, showing her love for singing and songwriting from an early age. But her career took off in 2008 when she won seventh place in New Wave, an international singing competition, and garnered more and more attention moving forward.

Though her latest music release was in 2015, Nyusha continues to perform around Russia. 

4. Regina Spektor

One of the most well-known pianist and singer-songwriters from Russia is Regina Spektor.

She has found major success in the Russian world of music as well as in America, specifically in the underground music scene in New York City. She is in the Bronx Walk Hall of Fame for her musical contributions in 2019. There is even a Regina Spektor day observed in New York City on June 11th. 

Beyond her musical prowess, she has a massive heart and has done significant philanthropic work. Through her music, she raised money for several nations in distress, including Tibet, Haiti, Sudan, and Chile.

She also is a large supporter of Planned Parenthood, specifically locations in New York City.  

5. Al Jolson

Next up we have Al Jolson. He was a singer and comedian born in Russia. Later, he moved to the United States at a young age and grew up in Washington, DC.

He began his career as just a child, performing with his brother in vaudeville acts. Years after, he performed in many musicals such as Bombo, Big Boy, and Sinbad

While he went on to perform in films and compose popular songs, there is a shadow over his memory as some of his comedic acts were in poor taste. He was well-known for his blackface acts, which were and are insanely offensive and unacceptable. Nevertheless, he is still one of the most well-known Russian singers.

6. Dima Bilan

Our next Russian singer is Dima Bilan, who is known as Russia’s Enrique Iglesias because the artists have similar styles, mannerisms, and music.

He is a suave singer that mainly produces soft ballads and romantic music. His success in Russia is undeniable, as he has multiple number-one hits.

He specializes in classical singing and combines this sound with contemporary pop, making rich sounds attractive to all ages. He first broke into the international market with the song “Believe” in 2008 after he sang it for the year’s Eurovision Song Contest during the semi-finals.

Since that time, Bilan has had continued success ever since. 

7. Alina Baraz

Russian-American singer and musician Alina Baraz has a unique sound that makes her popular. It combines pop, electronica, and R&B.

When she released her first music in 2015, people immediately gravitated toward the sound, and her songs were a massive success online. The beginning of her career was a collaborative EP titled Urban Flora, which was an instant hit. 

As her career continued, she has pivoted more toward her R&B sound, making music with rappers and R&B singers such as 6LACK, Khalid, and Galimatias. Her most recent hit was the single ​​”Endlessly” off of her 2020 album It Was Divine

8. Elena Zoubareva

One of the most incredibly talented Russian opera singers is Elena Zoubareva. She has a gorgeous voice that has gained her success in both her homeland and America.

Zoubareva has a talent for opera crossover music, meaning she combines more contemporary sounds with classic opera for revolutionary performances.

Her voice was recognized as divine from the young age of eight when she starred in the operatic role in the musical Thumbelina

She performs all across Europe and America in massive theaters such as the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, the Boston Conservatory, JFK Library, Berklee College of Music, and the Moscow Army Theater.

She recently had an appearance in the Brad Pitt movie World War Z, where she played an eerie and mysterious opera singer toward the end of the film. 

Related: Read about more renowned female opera singers.

9. Michael Bolton

Born Michael Boloton, well-known American singer Michael Bolton has Russian roots—all his grandparents were Russian immigrants.

A Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, Bolton specializes in pop-rock ballads and was the frontman for the band Blackjack for years before embarking on a solo career.

His career peaked in the 1980s and 1990s with hits like “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” and “When A Man Loves A Woman,” both of which went to #1.

Over his decades-long career, Bolton has released 24 studio albums and won 6 American music awards and 2 Grammys, cementing his legendary status. While he isn’t as active now, his songs are still played and appreciated today. 

10. Vladimir Vysotsky

For our penultimate singer, we have Vladimir Vysotsky, who was a famous Russian poet and singer-songwriter. He died young under mysterious circumstances.

He died of a drug overdose from a cocktail of stimulants, alcohol, and sedatives. However, many of these were prescribed and supplied to him by doctors and friends.

This fact led to the suspicion surrounding his passing, but his death only seemed to increase his fame, as now his published poetry book and famous film scores have become treasured pieces of Russian culture.

11. Timati

Finally, we have Timur Ildarovich Yunusov, who goes by Timati and is a contemporary Russian rapper. He is also a singer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur, diversifying his success in many industries.

While his rapping and singing career is what made him famous, he has pivoted toward more political and business activities. 

He has received some backlash for his vocal support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and was also involved in a clothing rip-off scandal. He started a clothing company that turned out to be stealing designs from smaller websites and then price gauging, causing his reputation and fame to plummet in recent years.

Despite this, his name is still prominent as one of the best Russian singers. 

Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Russia

Whether you’re surprised about learning Regina Spektor and Timati are Russian or have never heard of any of these singers, this is your chance to explore the exciting world of Russian music. 

Check out some of these fun videos and listen to the wide range of Russian music the country offers, from soft ballads to heavy metal. 

Did we miss someone off this list? Let us know who you think we need to add.

Photo of author
Written by Laura Macmillan
Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.