Famous Welsh Musicians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Welsh Musicians

 1 Terry Jones

Terry Jones
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 2 John Cale

John Cale
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Record producer, Actor, Lyricist, Musician, Autobiographer, Model, Film actor, Television actor, Music arranger, Experimental musician, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: March 9, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Garnant

Experimental musician John Cale is best known as the co-founder of the rock band The Velvet Underground. The son of a coal miner father, he later developed a love for music that earned him a scholarship to the University of London. Prescribed opiates for his bronchial issues, he later struggled with addiction.

 3 Marina Diamandis

Marina Diamandis
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brynmawr, Wales
Welsh singer Marina Diamandis initially soared to fame as Marina and the Diamonds. Though she studied classic composition in university, she dropped out later to create her own music. She created the character Electra Heart to promote her album of the same name. She claims she is synesthetic.
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 4 Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 29, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neath, Glamorgan, Wales, UK

While Classic FM named her The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century, Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins released 13 number-1 albums by age 23. Initially a singing teacher, Jenkins had also worked as a tour guide and a model. Her $10 million record deal with Warner Bros. was the biggest-ever in classical music.

 5 Richey Edwards

Richey Edwards
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Famous As: Lyricist and Rhythm Guitarist of the Alternative Rock Band Manic Street Preachers
Birthdate: December 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Blackwood, Wales
Died: February 1, 1995

 6 Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 13, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carmarthen, Wales

Best known to audiences as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones and as Simon Bellamy in Misfits, Iwan Rheon is also an Olivier Award-winning stage actor. A talented singer, too, he was previously the lead vocalist of The Convictions and has also performed with his brother in the single Rhodd.

 7 Ian Watkins

Ian Watkins
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Famous As: singer, lyricist, songwriter
Birthdate: July 30, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Merthyr Tydfil

Once the lead singer of the Welsh rock band Lostprophets, Ian Watkins made headlines when he was convicted of multiple sex offenses, including sexual assault of a child, the attempted rape of a toddler, and performance of sexual acts on an animal. He eventually received a 35-year sentence.

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 8 Pete Ham

Pete Ham
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales
Died: April 24, 1975

Welsh musician Pete Ham soared to fame as the lead singer and composer of the rock band Badfinger. Known for iconic hits such as No Matter What, he also co-wrote the classic Without You. After the band’s manager defrauded and vanished, Ham committed suicide by hanging himself in his garage.

 9 Cerys Matthews

Cerys Matthews
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales, UK

Best known for hosting music shows on various BBC Radio networks, singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews had also previously established the Welsh band Catatonia. She also writes and presents documentaries and has been a reporter for the TV magazine The One Show. Her album Tir has been the best-selling Welsh album in a decade.

 10 Phil Campbell

Phil Campbell
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Famous As: musician, guitarist
Birthdate: May 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pontypridd

After soaring to fame as the lead guitarist of the English rock band Motorhead, Welsh musician Phil Campbell launched his own band, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, which featured his three sons. In spite of the COVID-19 crisis, the band released an album in 2020.

 11 Lisa Scott-Lee

Lisa Scott-Lee
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rhyl, North Wales

While she was catapulted to fame with the 90s’ pop group Steps, famous for hits such as 5,6,7,8, Lisa Scott-Lee later launched her solo career. She also ventured into reality TV, with the show Totally Scott-Lee and now works as a head teacher at a performing arts academy in Dubai.

 12 Neil Aspinall

Neil Aspinall
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Famous As: Music executive
Birthdate: October 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prestatyn, Wales
Died: March 24, 2008

Often termed The Fifth Beatle, music executive Neil Aspinall went from being a schoolmate of Paul McCartney and George Harrison to eventually managing The Beatles. He later also headed Apple Corps., a company established by The Beatles. He had also fathered a child with the mother of his friend, musician Pete Best.

 13 Julian Cope

Julian Cope
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Deri, Caerphilly Deri, Monmouthshire (historic) Monmouthshire, Wales

Apart from being a popular post-punk musician who soared to fame with the band The Teardrop Explodes, Julian Cope has also been a self-styled occultist and a cosmic shaman. Apart from penning volumes on musicology and archaeology, he has also written a fiction novel and a 2-volume memoir.

 14 Jem

Jem
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Penarth, Wales

While she began singing at age 13, Welsh singer Jemma Griffiths, better known as Jem, also earned a law degree, pushed by her lawyer father. Experimenting with both electronica and pop/rock, she created masterpieces such as They and Wish I. Her music has been featured in movies such as Monster-in-Law.

 15 Andy Scott

Andy Scott
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Birthdate: June 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wrexham

Andy Scott initially soared to fame as the lead guitarist for the classic 70s’ English glam rock band Sweet. He later had a lukewarm solo career, too. He now lives in a barn in All Cannings. The Welsh singer/musician has also had a long struggle with prostate cancer.

 16 Nicky Wire

Nicky Wire
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter and bassist of the Welsh band Manic Street Preachers
Birthdate: January 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Llanbadoc, Monmouthshire, Wales

 17 Gruff Rhys

Gruff Rhys
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Welsh musician and filmmaker Gruff Rhys has been associated with bands such as Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon. He had begun writing songs at age 5. He is best known for American Interior, a multimedia project about the journey of explorer John Evans in search of Welsh-speaking Native Americans.

 18 Donald Swann

Donald Swann
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 30, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanelli, Wales, England
Died: March 23, 1994

Part of the British comedy duo Flanders and Swann, Donald Swann had met his partner Michael Flanders in school. Born to Russian Revolution refugees, Swann had also been an ambulance driver during World War II. A talented composer, he either composed or wrote about 2000 songs throughout his career.

 19 Hannah Stone

Hannah Stone
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Famous As: Harpist
Birthdate: April 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mumbles, Swansea, Wales

Welsh harpist Hannah Stone had started performing at age 8 and has since played for the British Royal Family quite a few times. She was also named the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales back in 2011. She is now married to bass-baritone opera singer Sir Bryn Terfel.

 20 Stan Stennett

Stan Stennett
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 30, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales
Died: November 26, 2013

Though mainly a comedian, Stan Stennett had been an all-round entertainer, who did everything from hosting a country music radio show to performing the guitar and the trumpet. He was made a part of the Grand Order of Water Rats and was also awarded an MBE.

 21 James Fox

James Fox
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 6, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bargoed, Wales, UK

Welsh singer James Fox, best known for his FA Cup final track Bluebirds Flying High, was born to a musician father and had started playing the piano at age 6. After going professional at 15, he later also performed on Broadway and West End musicals. He has also struggled with gambling addiction.

 22 Catrin Finch

Catrin Finch
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Famous As: Harpist
Birthdate: April 24, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Llanon, Ceredigion, Wales

Catrin Finch began playing the harp at 6 and was part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain by 10. Once the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, she is also a breast cancer survivor. A mother of two by her previous husband, she is now married to her lesbian partner.

 23 Geraint Watkins

Geraint Watkins
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales

Singer and rock-n-roll pianist Geraint Watkins initially played with bands such as Red Beans and Rice. He later collaborated with artists such as Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, too. He has also had a 15-year stint as a pianist and accordionist with the lesser-known band The Balham Alligators in London pubs.

 24 Osian Ellis

Osian Ellis
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ffynnongroew, Flintshire, Wales
Died: January 5, 2021

Harpist Osian Ellis was no stranger to music, being the son of a harpist mother. A skilled footballer, too, he was the goalkeeper for his school team. His later contributed to the soundtracks of projects such as How Green Was My Valley and also led the London Symphony Orchestra as its principal harpist.

 25 James James

James James
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 4, 1832
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bedwellty, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: January 11, 1902

The man who composed the national anthem of Wales, harpist and musician James James was the son of popular Welsh weaver-poet Evan James. He was known for his performances around the Pontypridd area, where he ran a pub, and used the bardic name Iago ap Ieuan.

 26 Robert Tear

Robert Tear
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Famous As: Tenor
Birthdate: March 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Barry, Wales
Died: March 29, 2011

One of the most versatile opera singers ever, Robert Tear had a lifelong association with the Royal Opera House. His most memorable performances include those of Paris in Tippett’s King Priam and Aschenbach in Death in Venice. The son of a railway clerk, he had started performing in operas by age 7.

 27 Alun Hoddinott

Alun Hoddinott
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 11, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glamorgan
Died: March 12, 2008

One of the greatest Welsh composers of the 20th century, Alun Hoddinott first gained international fame with his Clarinet Concerto. He has written and composed for renowned artists such as John Ogdon and Barry Tuckwell. He also had a 20-year stint as a music professor at Cardiff University.

 28 Thomas Tomkins

Thomas Tomkins
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: 1572 AD
Birthplace: Saint David’s, England
Died: June 9, 1656

Welsh-born Renaissance composer Thomas Tomkins was known for his sacred and conservative compositions. Born into a musical family of choral singers, organists, and composers, he was later named an organist to the Chapel Royal. He was the last of the musicians to mould their music according to the tradition of William Byrd.

 29 Claire Jones

Claire Jones
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Famous As: Harpist
Birthdate: 1985 AD
Birthplace: Crymych, Wales

Starting to play the harp at age 10, Welsh harpist Claire Jones grew up to be named the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales in 2007. She soared to fame with her performance at the wedding ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She also promotes the Welsh jewelry brand Clogau.

 30 Paul Watkins

Paul Watkins
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Famous As: Cellist
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: wales

Grammy-nominated Welsh cellist and conductor Paul Watkins became the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s principal cellist at 20. Apart from being associated with numerous orchestras, he also teaches music at the Yale School of Music and has headed the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival as its artistic director.

 31 Siân James

Siân James
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Powys, Wales

Siân James had started participating in local music contests by age 4. The Welsh folk singer later learned the piano and the harp, besides earning a music degree from Bangor University. She has also been the lead vocalist for Bwchadanas, a band she formed with her university friends at Bangor.

 32 Llŷr Williams

Llŷr Williams
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Famous As: pianist
Birthdate: 1976 AD
Birthplace: United Kingdom

Starting his piano lesson at age 7, Llŷr Williams later grew up to be one of the most prominent pianists from Wales. An Oxford and Royal Academy of Music alumnus, he is known for his renditions of Beethoven and Chopin. He has also toured with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

 33 Georgia Ruth

Georgia Ruth
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llantwit Major, Wales

Welsh harpist and singer Georgia Ruth began training in the harp at age 7. A Cambridge alumna, she later became a regular on BBC Radio music shows. She has also participated in numerous music events all around the world, from Kolkata to Toronto. She is a supporter of Welsh independence.

 34 Elinor Bennett

Elinor Bennett
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Famous As: Harpist
Birthdate: April 17, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Llanidloes, Wales

Welsh harpist Elinor Bennett is best known for founding the Harp College of Wales. While she is a qualified lawyer and had initially also worked at a law office, a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music later changed her course. She has also been the artistic director of the Wales Harp Festival.

 35 Jason James

Jason James
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Famous As: musician
Birthdate: January 13, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bridgend

Well-known Welsh bassist Jason James, better known as Jay, was part of the heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine, earlier known as Jeff Killed John, for 12 years, before parting ways with them. Jason had joined the band soon after bassist Nick Crandle left it.