The country of Venezuela has a rich and complicated history, and it is represented very well in the wide range of music by Venezuelan artists over the years.
From traditional styles such as salsa and merengue to electronic and rap music, Venezuelan music consists of a rich tapestry of genres. If you are unfamiliar with Venezuelan music, you should know that there is something for everyone.
In this post, we’re going to take a quick look at some of that music as we explore 10 of the greatest and most famous Venezuelan singers. Let’s get started.
1. Franco De Vita
Venezuelan singer-songwriter Franco De Vita was born in 1954 in Caracas to Italian parents. He began his career in 1981 with the formation of the group Icaro.
Shortly after, De Vita went solo and released his first eponymous album, which had three hit tracks. He followed this up with another album in 1986 called Fantasía. “Sólo Importas Tú” from the album became the theme song for the soap opera La Dama De Rosa.
At this point in the singer’s life, he was very well-known, but mostly in his homeland. This changed in 1990 when his “No Basta” became #1 on the US Latin chart, which also garnered him an MTV Video Music Award.
From the start of his career, De Vita released 16 albums, with his songs regularly climbing to the top of Billboard charts. For his accomplishments, Billboard inducted him into the Latin Hall of Fame in 2014.
2. Ricardo Montaner
Though born in Argentina, Hector Eduardo Redlero Montaner—better known as Ricardo Mortaner—grew up in Venezuela from the time he was six.
He performed “Murallas” at the 1976 Ancon Festival, a Peruvian music festival, which gained him a small following. However, it was in 1987 when his career blasted off. His albums Un Toque de Misterio and En el Último Lugar del Mundo made him popular in his hometown as well as in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
In 1995, Mortaner, along with Yolandita Monge, set a Guinness World Record for performing, in one day, three concerts in different cities in Puerto Rico. This they carried out by transferring via helicopter from stage to stage.
For his accomplishments over the years, Montaner has won several awards, including three Lo Nuestro Awards and a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
3. Soledad Bravo
Singer and acoustic guitarist Soledad Bravo was born in La Rioja, Spain, in 1943. When she was seven, however, she moved to Venezuela with her family. She started singing in university and continued performing after graduation on Buenos Dias, a television show.
With a wide vocal range and strong voice, she gained quite the following with her debut album “Soledad Bravo Canta.” Since then, she has sang all over the world, from Costa Rica to France to the US, releasing over 30 albums.
Some of her most popular works include “Cantos Revolucionarios de America Latina,” “Hasta siempre Comandante Che Guevara,” and “Pajarillo verde.”
4. Simon Diaz
Born in 1928 in Aragua, Venezuela, Simon Diaz was a singer who focused on revitalizing Venezuelan folk music and authored the classic “Caballo viejo,” one of the most important folk songs in Venezuela.
Throughout his career, Diaz performed in movies, on TV, and in plays. He devoted 10 years to educating children about music through a show called Contesta por Tío Simón, in which he became known as Uncle Simon. He also hosted a radio show that focused on Venezuelan music and folklore.
Throughout his 60-year career, Diaz released over 70 albums. Thanks to his contributions to Venezuelan culture, he received the Great Ribbon of the Liberator’s Order and two honorary degrees. In 2008, he received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Born as Alejandra Ghersi Rodriguez in 1989 in Caracas, Arca integrates elements of rap, electronic music, industrial hip-hop, avant-pop, and alternative reggaeton into her music.
She released her first music as a teenager, which gained her popularity in Venezuela. However, it was after graduating Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music that she became more well-known outside her home country.
Her talent in experimental music and production is renown and can be seen in some of her collaboration works with several popular musicians, including Björk, Frank Ocean, the Weeknd, Sia, Kanye West, and FKA Twigs.
Between 2014 and 2021, she released eight studio albums, with her latest, Kick IIIII (2021), a surprise Kick installment for fans.
6. Devendra Banhart
Our next singer, Devendra Banhart, was born in Texas in 1981 but grew up in Venezuela since he was two.
During his teens, he and his family moved to California , and he later went to San Francisco Art Institute, where he dropped out two years later to work on his music. In 2002, he released his debut album, The Charles C. Leary.
Between 2002 and 2019, Banhart has released ten albums. His musical style is greatly influenced by several Venezuelan artists, including Simon Diaz, and his music, with its fantastical and poetic lyrics, is sometimes referred to as psychedelic folk and freak folk.
Aside from being a musician, Banhart is also a visual artist. His work has been featured in art museums like the Centre of Fine Arts in Brussels and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
7. Maria Conchita Alonso
Though born in Cuba, Maria Conchita Alonso was raised in Venezuela since she was five. This artist is talented—not only is she a singer, but she’s also an actress. Early in her career, she participated in beauty pageants, winning the 1971 Miss Teenager World and 1975 Miss World Venezuela.
The first album Alonso released was Love Maniac in 1979, though it was under the name Ambar. It became an instant hit, topping charts in Venezuela. In 1984, her eponymous second album put her on the map and shot her to fame internationally.
As mentioned, Alonso is also an actress. In between releasing 19 music albums from 1984 and 1993, she also starred in a series of Hollywood movies, like Moscow on the Hudson and The Running Man, as well as in numerous TV shows.
8. Mirla Castellanos
Sometimes called La Primerísima, Mirla Castellanos was born in 1941 in Valencia, Venezuela. She began her career in the 1960s as part of the band Cuarteto Los Naipes before moving to Europe to start recording music solo.
As a solo artist, Castellanos did not rise to fame immediately. It was when she joined the first OTI Festival in Madrid—and winning fourth—that she soon gained popularity. In 1975, she again represented her country and performed in the OTI Festival, winning third place.
These wins contributed to the spread of Venezuelan music around the world. As a result, she is considered to be an important figure in the dissemination of Venezuelan music.
9. Rudy La Scala
Second to the last on our list is Rudy La Scala. He was born in 1954 in Lazio, Italy, though his family moved to Venezuela when he was young.
La Scala’s first foray into music was in the 1960s with the band Las Explosiones de Goma. He left the group in 1971 to go solo under the name Flavio, reverting to Rudy La Scala in 1974.
He was a very successful songwriter and performer, producing one of the best-selling albums in Venezuela called Amor a Millón. “Sé Como Duele” from the album landed La Scala the Songwriter of the Year award.
Aside from the accolades above, La Scala is also known for creating jingles for a few well-known brands, like Paper Mate, Kraft, and Corn Flakes.
10. Omar Rudberg
Youngest in the list, Omar Josué Rudberg—known simply as Omar—was born in Venezuela in 1998. He and his mom moved to Sweden when he was very young.
Our last Venezuelan singer is both singer and actor. As a young artist, his career is still growing. Rudberg began at the age of 12, when he participated in Talang 2010, a televised Swedish talent show.
In 2013, he joined FO&O, a boy band in Sweden, which disbanded in 2017. After this, Rudberg embarked on a solo career and joined Melodifestivalen in 2019. Though the song he performed in the competition, “Om om och om igen,” did not reach the cut, it gained popularity in Sweden, peaking at #11.
In 2021, Rudberg also acted in the Netflix series Young Royals, taking on the lead character Simon. To date, he has released only one studio album in 2022 called OMR and several non-album singles.
Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Venezuela
The music of Venezuela is as varied as those who sing it. As shown in the above list, many genres are represented by Venezuelan artists, including pop, folk, rap, and soul.
Now that you know a bit about these Venezuelan singers, explore their music to hear for yourself their signature sounds.
Did we miss anyone off this list? Let us know who you think we should add!