Playback Singers

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Any type of singer, who’s singing has been previously recorded for the purpose of use in either films, audio tapes or than kind of media is known as a playback singer. Generally, playback singers sing for movies and their songs are often lip synched by the actor or actress who appear on the screen. The playback singing industry thrives in South Asian regions like India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh as many of their films have a number of songs. On the other hand when it comes to Hollywood, singing is not very common in films apart from in musical films. Hence the Hollywood industry does not provide many opportunities for playback singers, unless they are making musical films. Playback singers play a crucial and important role in films as their songs make a great impact on the failure or success of a movie. Playback singers in the 21st century enjoy a celebrity status and are often in the media glare. They hold an established status in the society and are recognized as prominent figures. Discover, learn and explore more about many of the world’s most famous playback singers with a collection of their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 
Carroll O’Connor
14
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
Died: June 21, 2001

Carroll O'Connor was an American actor, director, and producer. In a TV career that spanned 40 years, O'Connor popularized several fictional characters, including Archie Bunker from the sitcom All in the Family, for which he received four Emmy Awards. In 1996, he was ranked 38th on the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list published by TV Guide.

 2 
Donald O'Connor
13
Birthdate: August 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died: September 27, 2003
 3 
Lata Mangeshkar
(One of the Greatest Playback Singers of India)
Lata Mangeshkar
114
Birthdate: September 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Indore
Died: February 6, 2022

One of the most respected and best-known playback singers in India, Lata Mangeshkar is popularly known as the Nightingale of India. She had a long career of more than 60 years and was honoured with India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna..

 4 
Holly Robinson Peete
29
Birthdate: September 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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 5 
Neha Kakkar
(Singer)
Neha Kakkar
94
Birthdate: June 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Starting her training in singing at age 4, Neha Kakkar later participated in Indian Idol but was eliminated before she could make her mark on the show. She later soared to fame with the track Second Hand Jawaani from Cocktail and never looked back. She has also performed in minor roles.

 6 
Kishore Kumar
(Indian playback singer)
Kishore Kumar
32
Birthdate: August 4, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Khandwas, India
Died: October 13, 1987

A man of many talents, Kishore Kumar was an Indian actor, filmmaker, writer, music director, lyricist, and playback singer. One of the most popular Indian singers of his generation, Kishore Kumar sang in different genres and multiple Indian languages. In 1997, the Kishore Kumar Award was initiated for his contributions to Hindi cinema. Despite marrying four times, he remained a loner.

 7 
Arijit Singh
(One of the Best Playback Singers of Indian Cinema )
Arijit Singh
18
Birthdate: April 25, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jiaganj, West Bengal, India

Arijit Singh is an Indian music composer and singer. Dubbed the king of playback singing, Singh has received six Filmfare Awards and a National Award in his illustrious career so far. Also known for his humanitarian work, Arijit Singh is credited with founding a non-governmental organization named Let There Be Light which aims at helping the Below Poverty Line community.

 8 
Himesh Reshammiya
(Playback Singer & Music Director)
Himesh Reshammiya
16
Birthdate: July 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

Himesh Reshammiya is an Indian playback singer, songwriter, music director, actor, and producer. Although he is often criticized for his nasal singing style, Himesh Reshammiya is also one of the most recognized singers in India. Over the years, he has won many prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Award, Star Screen Award, Zee Cine Awards, and Star Guild Award.

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 9 
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
(One of the Greatest Indian Playback Singers of All Time)
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
40
Birthdate: June 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: September 25, 2020

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was an Indian playback singer, music director, actor, television presenter, film producer, and voice-over artist. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted singers of his generation, Balasubrahmanyam received six National Film Awards in an illustrious singing career that spanned more than five decades. He was posthumously honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.

 10 
Olivia Olson
(Actress)
Olivia Olson
19
Birthdate: May 21, 1992
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Olivia Olson is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She made her film debut at the age of 10, playing Joanna Anderson in the film, Love Actually, in which she was seen singing All I Want for Christmas Is You; her skills as a singer was praised and Olson landed several voice roles in TV series, such as Phineas and Ferb.

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 11 
Dhee
(Singer)
Dhee
19
Birthdate: June 26, 1998
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Krishnakumar Kunnath
23
Birthdate: August 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
Died: May 31, 2022
 13 
K. S. Chithra
(Playback singer)
K. S. Chithra
2
Birthdate: July 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram

Padma Shri- and Padma Bhushan-winning legendary Indian singer K. S. Chithra is also a 6-time National Award winner. Trained in Carnatic music, she earned a government music scholarship. A star in the South Indian music scene, she also gained recognition with her Hindi tracks such as Kehna Hi Kya.  

 14 
Aubrey Peeples
10
Birthdate: November 27, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lake Mary, Florida, USA
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 15 
Mohammed Rafi
(One of India's Greatest and Most Influential Playback Singers)
Mohammed Rafi
25
Birthdate: December 24, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab, India
Died: July 31, 1980
Legendary Indian playback singer Mohammed Rafi was known for his versatility. The winner of one National Film Award and four Filmfare awards, Rafi often collaborated with ace composer S.D. Burman. He also received the Padma Shri and sang in countless Indian and foreign languages, including Arabic, Persian, and Dutch.
 16 
Yuvan Shankar Raja
7
Birthdate: August 31, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chennai, India

Yuvan Shankar Raja is a music composer and singer-songwriter. He is credited with introducing hip-hop to the Tamil music industry and became one of the most sought-after Tamil composers in 2000s. In 2006, he won the Cyprus International Film Festival Award, becoming the first Indian composer to win the award. He has also won other awards like Filmfare Awards South.

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 17 
Mika Singh
(Vocalist known for popular bhangra and pop songs such as "Dhinka Chika," "Dhanno," and "Singh Is King.")
Mika Singh
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Durgapur, West Bengal, India

Mika Singh is an Indian singer, rapper, and performer. Apart from contributing to the soundtrack of many popular films like Singh Is Kinng and Jab We Met, Singh has released many solo albums as well. He has also performed live at popular venues like The O2 Arena.

 18 
Ed Ames
(Singer)
Ed Ames
6
Birthdate: July 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, USA
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 19 
Sid Sriram
(Playback singer)
Sid Sriram
14
Birthdate: May 19, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chennai district Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Born in Chennai, to a Carnatic music teacher mother, Sid Sriram later moved to the US with his family. The talented singer-songwriter is a Berklee College of Music alumnus and is known for his skills mixing pop/soul and Indian classical elements. His Indian playback credits include Adiye from the film Kadal.

 20 
Adnan Sami
(First Musician to Have Played the Santoor and Indian Classical Music on the Piano)
Adnan Sami
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Adnan Sami is an Indian musician, singer, pianist, and music composer. Best known for his skills as a piano player, Sami was named the world's fastest keyboard player by Keyboard magazine. He is also widely regarded as the first person to have played Indian classical music on the piano. In 2020, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri. 

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 21 
Liz Torres
(Actress)
Liz Torres
10
Birthdate: September 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
 22 
Asha Bhosle
(Indian playback singer)
Asha Bhosle
85
Birthdate: September 8, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sangli, Maharashtra
Legendary Indian playback singer Asha Bhosle holds the Guinness record for the most recorded artist. The Padma Vibhushan-winning singer had initially started singing along with sister Lata Mangeshkar, another iconic singer, to make ends meet. Bhosle, a versatile artist, has sung in 20 languages and experimented with almost all genres.
 23 
Aditya Narayan
(Indian Singer and TV Host)
Aditya Narayan
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Born to legendary playback singer Udit Narayan, Aditya Narayan began accompanying his father to music studios and soared to fame with his award-winning track Chhota Baccha as a child artist. He grew up to sing and act in a few films, but has been most popular as the host of SaReGaMaPa.

 24 
Sunidhi Chauhan
(Singer, Actor)
Sunidhi Chauhan
79
Birthdate: August 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

A musical prodigy, Sunidhi Chauhan had started performing at events at age 4. Discovered by actor Tabassum, she quit school and plunged into a full-fledged music career, winning several reality shows. She then soared to fame with her playback singing in Mast and now has three Filmfare awards in her kitty.

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 25 
Ali Zafar
(Pakistani Singer-Actor Who Has Had a Successfull Career in Bollywood With Films 'Tere Bin Laden', 'Chashme Baddoor')
Ali Zafar
2
Birthdate: May 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar has been quite successful in Bollywood and has even earned a Filmfare nomination. Best known for his performance in the film Dear Zindagi, the actor had begun his career with Pakistani TV serials. A philanthropist, too, he has his own charitable foundation.

 26 
Mukesh
(Singer who won National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his song "Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai" from the film Rajnigandha)
Mukesh
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: August 27, 1976
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 27 
K. J. Yesudas
(Playback singer)
K. J. Yesudas
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Kochi, Kerala, India

Fort Kochi-born K.J. Yesudas is a major figure of Indian Malyali music. Known as Dasettan to his followers, the singer is an eight-time National Award winner and has the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan in his kitty. He has also acted in a few regional films.

 28 
Udit Narayan
(One of the Most Prominent Singers of Bollywood Throughout the 1990s and Early 2000s)
Udit Narayan
27
Birthdate: December 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Baisi, Supaul district, Bihar, India

Known for ruling the Bollywood playback scene in the 1990s, Udit Narayan has 4 National Awards in his kitty. Initially a singer on a Kathmandu radio station, he later moved to Mumbai. He soared to fame with the track Papa Kehte Hain and later scored many hits with singer Alka Yagnik.

 29 
Kalabhavan Mani
(Indian Actor Who Worked in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu Films)
Kalabhavan Mani
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chalakudy, Kerala, India
Died: March 6, 2016

National Award-winning actor and singer Kalabhavan Mani was born into a family with modest means and later quit school after tenth grade. He once even worked as a autorickshaw driver and later began his entertainment career as a mimicry artist. Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum remains his most-loved film.

 30 
Neeti Mohan
(Singer, known for her time as a member of the group Aasma, a position she earned after winning the show Popstars in 2003)
Neeti Mohan
35
Birthdate: November 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delhi, India
 31 
Nazia Hassan
(Pakistani Singer-Songwriter Considered as 'The Queen of South Asian Pop')
Nazia Hassan
0
Birthdate: April 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Died: August 13, 2000

Known as the Queen of Pop in South Asia back in the 1980s, Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan soared to fame with tracks such as Aap Jaisa Koi and Boom Boom. She began her career as part of a duo with her brother, Zoheb Hassan. She died of lung cancer at 35.

 32 
Shashaa Tirupati
(Singer-songwriter)
Shashaa Tirupati
2
Birthdate: December 21, 1989
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
 33 
Pritam
(Indian Composer and Playback Singer Known for Blending Indian Classical Music with Western Style)
Pritam
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Known for blending Indian classical music with contemporary undertones, Indian music director, composer, and record producer, Pritam Chakraborty is also a well-known singer and instrumentalist.  Beginning his career with ad jingles, he later partnered with Jeet Ganguly to compose music for Hindi films before going solo. He has won numerous awards for his work, concurrently helping budding musicians through his organization JAM8.

 34 
Javed Ali
(Indian Playback Singer)
Javed Ali
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
 35 
Tulsi Kumar
(Playback Singer)
Tulsi Kumar
34
Birthdate: 1986 AD
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

The daughter of music magnate Gulshan Kumar, who launched T-Series, Tulsi Kumar began her playback singing career with the movie Aksar. She later gained fame with hit tracks such as Sanam Re and Soch Na Sake. She is now married to a Delhi businessman and has a son.

 36 
Amit Kumar
(Indian Playback Singer and Son of Legendary Singer Kishore Kumar)
Amit Kumar
2
Birthdate: July 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sitamarhi, Bihar, India

Amit Kumar is an Indian music composer, playback singer, and actor. Amit Kumar, who has organized several live orchestra shows, is also credited with establishing a music production company called Kumar Brothers Music. Amit Kumar is also renowned for his association with one of the greatest composers of the Indian film industry, R. D. Burman.

 37 
Monali Thakur
(Indian Playback Singer)
Monali Thakur
34
Birthdate: November 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

National Award- and Filmfare-winning singer Monali Thakur is best known for her hit tracks such as Moh Moh Ke Dhaage and Sawaar Loon. She first gained fame with Indian Idol 2 and later also acted in movies such as Lakshmi. She later secretly married a Swiss restaurateur she met on a trip.

 38 
Chinmayi Sripada
(Playback singer, working mainly for the South Indian film industry)
Chinmayi Sripada
41
Birthdate: September 10, 1984
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Chinmayi Sripada is an Indian singer, voice actor, radio jockey, and TV presenter who works predominantly in the South Indian film and TV industry. Chinmayi is also credited with founding Blue Elephant, a translation services company, for which she serves as the CEO. Also known for her activism, Chinmayi Sripada has been an important figure in India's Me Too movement.

 39 
Vyjayanthimala
(Film actress, Politician)
Vyjayanthimala
0
Birthdate: August 13, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Triplicane, Chennai, India

Vyjayanthimala is an Indian actress and dancer who played a major role in the Hindi film industry during the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most popular actresses of all time, Vyjayanthimala is also known for her contribution to South Indian movies. She is the recipient of several awards, including Filmfare Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards at International film festivals.   

 40 
Remya Nambeesan
8
Birthdate: January 1, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chottanikkara, India

Born to a theater artiste, Remya Nambeesan began her career as a child artist in films. As she grew up, she was typecast in roles of the village belle but turned around with the film Traffic. She has also gained fame for her singing in films such as Ivan Megharoopan and Bachelor Party.

 41 
K. L. Saigal
(First Superstar of Hindi Cinema Revered and Idolised for Both His Singing and Acting Styles)
K. L. Saigal
2
Birthdate: April 11, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jammu Kashmir, India
Died: January 18, 1947

K. L. Saigal, the first superstar of Hindi cinema, was revered and idolised for his singing and acting styles. He gained-attention starring and singing in the Hindi film Puran Bhagat. He then starred in several films, most notably in the Hindi film Devdas. He was the first non-Bengali who was given consent by Rabindranath Tagore to sing the latter’s songs.  

 42 
Alisha Chinai
(Playback singer, Singer)
Alisha Chinai
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ahmedabad

Known as the Queen of Indipop and India's Madonna, Alisha Chinai rocked the 1990s with her chartbusting hit Made in India. She also made headlines when she accused music director Anu Malik of sexual harassment. Kaate Nahin Katthe from the film Mr. India was one of her other big hits.

 43 
Zubeen Garg
(Singer and composer who has been well known in Assam and East India for over two decades since 1992.)
Zubeen Garg
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tura, Meghalaya

Zubeen Garg is an Indian music director, singer, composer, music producer, lyricist, film director, actor, scriptwriter, film producer, and philanthropist. Also an instrumentalist, Zubeen Garg plays 12 instruments including drums, guitar, mandolin, keyboard, and various percussion instruments. One of the highest-paid singers in Assam, Garg has also received several prestigious awards, such as Prag Cine Awards and a National Film Award.

 44 
Venkat Prabhu
(Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Playback singer)
Venkat Prabhu
1
Birthdate: November 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chennai
 45 
Sona Mohapatra
(Singer who first entered the public consciousness with her performances on the show Satyamev Jayate)
Sona Mohapatra
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cuttack, India

Sona Mohapatra is an Indian music composer, singer, and lyricist. She is best known for recording remixes of popular songs by famous artists like David Bowie and INXS. Although she is known for her musical career, Sona Mohapatra achieved national recognition when she appeared in a TV show titled Satyamev Jayate, which was hosted by popular Bollywood actor Aamir Khan.

 46 
Mohammed Aziz
(Playback singer)
Mohammed Aziz
2
Birthdate: July 2, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Died: November 27, 2018
 47 
Sangeetha Krish
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
 48 
Neha Bhasin
(Indian Playback Singer Known for Her Work in Bollywood, Tollywood and Kollywood )
Neha Bhasin
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Neha Bhasin first gained the spotlight when she became one of the five winners of the Channel V show Popstars, thus becoming part of India’s first all-girl pop band, Viva. She is also an avid dancer and is known for her Bollywood tracks such as Kuch Khaas Hai from Fashion.

 49 
Nitin Mukesh
(Playback singer)
Nitin Mukesh
2
Birthdate: June 27, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Indian
 50 
Mohit Chauhan
(Playback singer, known for his work in Hindi films)
Mohit Chauhan
2
Birthdate: March 11, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, India