Ukraine has a rich history of musical talent, both during its involvement in the Soviet Union and its modern independence. Singers from the country span genres like opera, aria, and pop, with many of them singing multilingually and touring across Europe and the United States.
From the National Opera to the 2022 Grammy Awards, vocalists from this beautiful country have left their mark on the world of music. Now, let’s dive into the world of 11 of the greatest and most famous Ukrainian singers and get to know their history and prestige. Read on!
1. Anatoliy Solovianenko
First on our list is Anatoliy Solovianenko was a Donetsk-born tenor singer and soloist at the National Opera for over 30 years. To this day, he is one of Ukraine’s most critically-acclaimed singers, having sung in New York, the UK, and throughout Russia.
His debut began by winning a local talent show in 1962, after which he received an invitation to the National Opera of Ukraine. During his career, he recorded 18 LPs, primarily arias. He earned the Peoples’ Artist of Ukraine award in 1967 and a Badge of Honor from the Ukrainian president in 1993.
Sadly, in 1999, he died of a heart attack and now rests in Kozyn, where a statue stands in his honor. Other monuments of him stand in his hometown and in Kyiv, near the Metropolitan Opera.
Ruslana Stepanivna Lyzhychko, known as Ruslana, is a modern-day Ukrainian vocalist with many talents, including producing, conducting, dancing, and voice acting.
Born in Lviv, she has produced records in English, Spanish, and Latin alongside her native language. Like Solovianenko, she earned the Peoples’ Artist of Ukraine award and several other accolades.
Her career began with a song competition in Belarus in 1996, and later she received nominations for Ukrainian Singer of the Year. However, she rose to fame primarily by winning the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Wild Dances.”
She is still creating music and other art forms today, incorporating social activism wherever possible.
3. Max Barskih
Mykola Mykolaiovych Bortnyk, born in Kherson, is a Ukrainian pop singer who uses the stage name Max Barskih or Mickolai. Many call him the world’s most well-known Russian-language singer, though he also sings in partial or full English and Ukrainian.
His start began on the talent show Fabrika Zirok 2 and after he gathered attention through MTV Europe. Since the beginning of career in 2010, he has released seven albums and over 35 singles and has been nominated for over 50 awards.
Bortnyk has many accolades even outside of his music. In 2022, the singer joined his country’s military reserve and wrote a song dedicated to the Ukrainian defense against Russia.
4. Ani Lorak
Kitsman-born Karolina Myroslavivna Kuiek, known professionally as Ani Lorak, is a Ukrainian singer, entrepreneur, and actress whose career began with her first contract at just 15.
At the start, she wanted to use the pseudonym Karolina for her TV and music appearances, but that name was unavailable, so she chose Ani Lorak, the same name read backward.
Lorak’s international stardom began with the song “Shady Lady” at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, not only has she recorded 12 studio albums, but she earned the title of Peoples’ Artist of Ukraine.
She served as a UN Goodwill Ambassador and has also been declared one of the most beautiful women in Eastern Europe.
5. Sofia Rotaru
Born in Marshyntsi, Sofia Rotaru represents a legacy of multitalented performances across the former USSR. She is a singer, songwriter, dancer, film producer, and fashion designer with 40 years of active stage time.
Rotaru’s career began with an invitation to perform at the State Kremlin Palace, and she continued to produce albums into her 60s. Her particularly diverse and extensive song repertoire includes tracks in various languages, including Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Ukrainian.
Her musical career is less active today; nevertheless, Rotaru is a Hero of Ukraine, the highest title any citizen can be given by the country.
Susana Alimivna Jamaldinova is a Ukrainian singer who performs as Jamala. She was born in Osh, Kirghiz SSR, to an Armenian mother and a Crimean Tatar father. She began recording in 2011 and has since released 6 albums and 27 singles.
In 2016, Jamala won Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine and has served as a judge for the contest on four occasions. To this day, her most popular song is “1944,” her contest-winning single. In addition, she has also premiered in three movies and several TV shows.
Jamala holds her Crimean Tatar heritage in high esteem and continues to advocate for the community.
7. Natalia Mogilevskaya
Kyiv-born Natalia Mogilevskaya is a Ukrainian theater actress, singer, and TV producer with lots of acclaim within the country. She first polished her musical talent in a circus academy before enrolling in the Kyiv National Institute of Culture and Arts.
Upon graduation, she began to release albums and later appeared in television shows. She was granted the title Honored Artist of Ukraine in 2001 and has sold millions of album copies worldwide, especially her first release, “La la la.”
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma awarded Mogilevskaya the title National Artist of Ukraine in 2004.
8. Verka Serduchka
Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko is a stage performer, singer, and comedian who entertains under the drag alias Verka Serduchka. As Serduchka, born in Poltava, he takes the character of a flamboyant woman.
However, Danylko has a variety of other personas, including an officer, a soldier, and a ballet dancer. Through the mediums of theater and comedy, he presents a unique twist for Ukrainian singers.
Like many others on this list, Danylko first reached the world stage through the Eurovision Song Contest. He earned the title of Peoples’ Artist of Ukraine in 2003 and has appeared in movies and TV shows.
Since the start of his career, Danylko has sold over 600,000 records and continues to devote himself to music.
9. Olya Polyakova
Widely considered to be the Ukrainian Lady Gaga, Olya Polyakova is a singer and media personality. She started her singing career as a teenager performing at the Bakhus restaurant in her hometown of Vinnytsia.
Polyakova released her debut single, titled “Super Blonde,” of which she is sometimes nicknamed. She later competed to represent her country in the Eurovision Song Contest but was not selected.
Regardless, Polyakova has won multiple awards. Her most recent album, Koroleva nochi (Queen of the Night) included multiple hits. One, “Led tronulsya,” won Best Song at the 2020 Music Platform Awards.
Besides her music career, Polyakova has competed in Tantsi z zirkamy (the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars) and been a guest host on the show.
10. Oleksandr Ponomariov
Born in Khmelnytskyi, Oleksandr Ponomariov was the first Ukrainian citizen to ever represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest (in 2003). His talent as a pop artist has garnered him the Singer of the Year award seven times in Ukraine.
Ponomariov is recognized as an Honored Artist of Ukraine, and in 2006, he received the title of Peoples’ Artist of Ukraine.
In 2011, he worked as a music trainer on the show Voice of the Country, inspiring more young musicians to follow their dreams.
Our last but not the least Ukrainian singer is Kostyantyn Mykolayovych Bocharov. He got his start by winning the competition X-Factor Ukraine’s sixth season, after which he represented Ukraine in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with his single “Under the Ladder.”
After Bocharov’s success in Eurovision, he began to produce studio albums and singles. His music spans pop genres with some electronic and rock inspirations.
His participation in singing contests didn’t stop with the above-mentioned shows since, in 2021, he also won The Masked Singer Ukraine‘s second season.
Though Bocharov’s musical career is relatively fresh, he has already impacted his country with his passion and songs.
Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Ukraine
Both in and out of the USSR, Ukraine has been home to an impressive repertoire of musicians. The influence of the Eurovision Song Contest has also allowed pop and other genres to flourish and for Ukrainian singers to reach worldwide fame.
Each of these Ukrainian singers has left an indelible mark on music history, and many of them will continue to do so, using their talents as tools for activism and peace.