The future of music

26 Best Australian Singers of All Time (Most Famous)

May 30, 2023
australian singers

There is no shortage of talent down under so fire up the barbie and let’s take a look at some of the best Australian singers of all time.

We have sourced some of the most gifted Aussie vocalists for today’s hot list.

Opera stars of yesteryear that have left a legacy, rock titans, & pop icons…

We have searched through the most famous Australian singers in history to compile our list of the best.

We will take you from the early 1800s through to today. 

Join us as we discuss the leading sopranos, beloved indigenous artists, and chart-topping mega stars to have emerged out of Oz.

Some of our entries might surprise you…

Enjoy our list of the best Australian singers!

1. Sia

The accent is distinct enough but one of the most distinctive Australian singing voices has to be Sia‘s.

The chart-topping superstar singer-songwriter has dominated the last few decades with her hits collaborations.

She had a false start early on in her career and then spent many years focused on writing for others.

Eventually, she re-emerged as an artist with that unforgettable face-covering wig.

With no face to gaze upon, audiences were wowed by her killer vocals.

Her stepping stone back to stardom was the hit single “Titanium” in which she collaborated with French DJ David Guetta.

However, we think “Chandelier” shows off her voice to perfection, how about you?

2. Nellie Melba

Born in 1861, Australian soprano Helen Porter Mitchell, better known as Nellie Melba made her operatic debut at 26 years old.

Melba had a powerful voice with crystal clear high notes; she is remembered and celebrated for her Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini interpretations.

The virtuoso worked with the leading composers of the era and is responsible for some of the earliest recordings that popularized the gramophone.

The legendary Australian singer is an important part of music history and will not only be remembered for her voice but her contributions to the industry as a whole.

3. Dame Joan Sutherland

On the subject of great Aussie opera singers, we can’t ignore Dame Joan Sutherland.

The powerful and skilled soprano rose to fame in the 50s for her bel canto roles.

Taking any coloratura in her stride and making easy work of it she is considered one of the best opera singers of all time

A prolific recording artist of the time she graced many of the world’s greatest opera houses.

Her tone is breathtaking, her clarity is absolute, and she is definitely one of the greatest Australian voices in history.

4. Delta Goodrem

Leaving the world of opera and going back to the contemporary era, we have singer-songwriter and actress Delta Goodrem.

Goodrem got her taste of fame at an early age on the set of Neighbours as a child actress but music was a passionate pursuit.

She landed a Sony Music contract at just 15 and released her first album was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.

The Sydney-born-and-raised star is among the highest-selling artists in Australia.

Her debut album was certified diamond in Australia and multi-platinum in the UK and the US.

5. Bon Scott

Is there any other voice more memorable in the world of Aussie rock?

The Scottish-born Bon Scott met his destiny when his family moved him to Melbourne and went on to form the original AC/DC lineup. 

Of course, the band moved on to Brian Johnson after his death. 

But for proud Australians, the frontman’s shrieking hard rock vocals and stage presence live on in the spirit of the band to this day.

Not to mention he was also previously the iconic lead singer to three other well-loved Australian rock bands

He headed Fraternity, The Valentines, and The Spektors before landing the role of AC/DC frontman.

6. Tina Arena

Tina Arena dominated the world with “Chains” and “Show Me, Heaven”. 

During her 50-year career, the stunning breathy soprano has sold over 10 million records. To this day she remains one of Australia’s biggest-selling artists of all time.

Filippina Lydia Arena, better known as Tina Arena, found her big break as a teen on Young Talent Time in the ’80s.

Her beautiful voice has won several awards and she sits in the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. 

Arena was recently appointed as a board member of the Australia Council For the Arts.

7. John Farnham

British-Australian singer John Farnham was a teenage pop idol in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Over his career which has spanned six decades, he maintained relevancy and went on to become a national icon.

Born in Dagenham in the UK his family emigrated to Australia.

His formative years saw him playing in a local Australian band called The Mavericks but he quickly went on to become the lead singer of Strings Unlimited.

Performing with Strings Unlimited he was scouted by Darryl Sambell and began performing solo, rising to fame in Australia.

His singles such as “I Don’t Want To Love You” and “Underneath The Arches” earned him the nickname “King of Pop” in the land down under.

After his teen idol days blew over he replaced Glenn Shorrock as lead singer of The Little River Band.

8. Geoffery Gurrumul

We can’t discuss the best Australian singers without including an Aboriginal Australian entry.

Internationally recognized for his vocal range and tone the late Dr. G Yunupingu is one of Australia’s best voices.

He joined Yothu Yindi as an instrumentalist aged eighteen and later joined Saltwater Band before going solo.

Singing stories of his land in Yolŋu languages like Gaalpu, Gumatj, and Djambarrpuynu he became known for his dedication to cultural immersion with his music.

His 2008 debut album was certified triple platinum and he is one of the most commercially successful Indigenous Australian artists in history.

9. Natalie Imbruglia

Like Goodrem who we already mentioned Imbruglia began her path to fame with a role on Neighbours.

While her voice might not be as impressive as some of those we have discussed already you have to remember she was a big deal!

Dominating the 90s charts internationally after covering Ednawasp’s “Torn” she cemented her status as an Australian pop star.

Natalie Imbruglia is not only a singer-songwriter but also a model and actress.

Her father is Sicilian, and her mother is English, but she was born and raised in Australia.

The hit helped flog over seven million units of her debut album “Left Of The Middle”.

Her second album “White Lilies Island” sold four million and received a Grammy Award nomination. 

She went on to release “Come To Life” a year after before disappearing from the public eye musically, announcing a hiatus to work on philanthropic ventures.

10. Jimmy Barnes

Like Bon Scott, Barnsey was born in Scotland but his voice is as Aussie as it gets and uniquely recognizable.

The two share some other crossovers on their musical paths.

His brother was the drummer for Fraternity and Jimmy briefly took the role of lead vocalist over from the Scottish-born soon-to-be AC/DC frontman who had just left!

Barnes went on to join the group Cold Chisel, who were originally called Orange.

It was with Cold Chisel he rose to fame.

The band released five studies albums and split in ‘83 and Barnes went solo releasing a further 14 studio albums.

His powerful vocal abilities have earned him a huge fanbase. 

11. Daniel Johns

Born in New Castle, Australia, Daniel Johns is indubitably one of the best Australian singers of all time.

Aged 12 he formed a band called  The Innocent Criminals with his school friends.

The group went on to become Silverchair.

The band had several successful tracks and the Aussie vocalist falsetto scorches across them all.

Songs such as “Tomorrow”, “Freak”, “Israel’s Son”, and “Straight Lines” demonstrate his astonishing falsetto.

The rock artist with lungs like a powerhouse went solo in 2013 and has since explored a variety of other genres including Pop, R&B, and Soul.

12. Guy Sebastian

Let’s face it, many Australian Idol stars end up becoming old news pretty quickly.

They don’t often have a lot of longevity or success.

Guy Sebastian is probably the exception, he maintained his fanbase and has international appeal too.

Sebastian started life in the worship music group PlanetShakers and became the first winner of “Australian Idol” in 2003.

The debut single “Angels Brought Me Here” ranked #1 and earned platinum certification.

He went on to release seven albums and represented Australia at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest coming fifth.

13. Gotye

Wally de Backer better known as Gotye is another of the most famous Australian singers.

His voice may not be the most impressive out there with its tender qualities but he ranks among the top for success.

His most successful track “Somebody That I Used To Know” brought him the international recognition that he deserved.

But it is fair to note he has had a busy career with lots of success despite it spanning just over two decades.

In that time he has amassed over twenty awards and is regarded as one of the most influential Australian artists of all time.

14. Tones And I

Contrary to the majority of superstars on our list Australian singer-songwriter Toni Watson created her own fanbase.

Humbly posting on YouTube and performing locally in a duo.

After losing her job she bought a looper pedal and picked up the guitar herself and began busking her way along the coast.

Eventually, her unique stamp on covers drew attention and Bad Batch Records signed her in 2019.

Her debut single “Johhny Run Away,” became a viral hit and her second single “Dance Monkey brought made her an international success.

The industry newcomer has already amassed a lot of awards in just four short years.

Her voice is modern, edgy, and raw.

She sings from her soul and isn’t looking to impress anyone which ironically makes it impressive.

15. Chrissy Amphlett

We have showcased several Australian rock singers, all of them male but we have to pay respect to Chrissy Amphlett, lead vocalist of the Divinyls.

She doesn’t match the power of some of those we have mentioned but her vocals are instantly recognizable. 

She had an amazing range, oodles of appeal, and a great stage presence that added up to her being one of the biggest rock Queens of the 80s.

Her voice is sultry, moody, and distinct, her tracks like “Boys In Town” and the risque “I Touch Myself” propelled the Aussie to fame.

16. Renée Geyer

Renée Geyer might not be a household name outside of the confines of Australia but she may be one of the most soulful voices to have come from that neck of the woods.

With an impressive range and dynamic control like no other, she became a go-to backing vocalist for some big names.

She has backed up some of the best, including; Neil Diamond, Men At Work, Sting, Trouble Funk, Chaka Khan, Toni Childs, and Joe Cocker.

But she is famous in her own right in her homeland.

The 1970s star wowed audiences with her cover of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s World”.

She has released 15 studio albums, has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Women in Music Awards, and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame before her death.

17. Colin Hay

We just mentioned Men At Work, so what about their frontman…

Colin Hay might not jump to mind as the best Australian singer but he is one of the most famous Australian singers and rightly earns a spot.

He formed the new wave, pop/reggae-rock group in 1978.

Their genre blend was instantly popular and they became the first Australian group to have an album and single chart at number 1 simultaneously.

Hay has also had a successful solo career as a vocalist and actor.

18. Missy Higgins

Higgins was introduced to a range of musical tastes early on with her older sister playing her the vocals of Mariah Carey while her brother exposed her to Freddy Mercury.

She first began performing alongside her brother in a jazz outfit but soon began to write her own music.

Her debut album was released in 2004 when she was just 21.

But the singer’s vocals were far from immature and gripped listeners.

The consciously tailored lyrics of her tracks such as “Scar” and “‘The Special Two” featured breathtaking vocals and won two awards from eight nominations.

19. Nai Palm

Nai Palm is another more recent addition to the world of best Australian singers. 

As a modern newcomer with a short career so far that boasts impressive relative success, we would be remiss not to include her.

In 2010 she formed the Australian Jazz-funk/Neo-soul group Hiatus Kaiyote.

She went on to release a solo album called Needle Paw in 2017 which was full of stripped-back cover versions that showcased her natural gift and versatility.

Her soulful tonality and unpredictable melodic gymnastics caught some influential attention. 

Nai Palm has been lucky enough to back some of the top Hip-Hop and R&B artists out there. 

You can hear her on tracks by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and Beyonce to name a few!

20. Kate Miller-Heidke

The Classically trained Kate Miller-Heidke might just be one of the most underrated Australian singers. 

A frequent face to grace the New York Metropolitan Opera, she has jaw-dropping crystalline vocals.

She doesn’t shy away from the contemporary either.

Miller-Heidke represented her country at Eurovision showing her powerful voice to the world and has performed at Coachella.

She is slowly gaining the recognition she deserves though this is mainly for her acting. 

21. Michael Hutchence

You might not think of Hutchence when you think of the best Aussie singers but he is a better singer than many give him credit for.

In a list of the 15 greatest Australian singers of all time ranked him fourth.

The range might not be there, but the depths of his baritone are impressive and he has many vocal qualities that are unique to him. 

You also can’t deny that the huskiness paired with the Australian accent oozed sex appeal that was only enhanced by his charisma on stage.

The late Aussie vocalist stole more than a few hearts fronting for INXS before his death.

They were very successful, selling 75 million records worldwide.

Hutchence had a posthumous induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001.

22. Christine Anu

Criminally, Anu doesn’t have as much international recognition as some of the more famous Australian singers we have mentioned.

With a voice as beautiful as she has and a list of awards and nominations as long as her arms it is a shame.

However, in her home country, she is highly celebrated.

She is renowned for her impassioned cover of “My Island Home’” by Warumpi Band which she performed in the 1990s.

Much of the world would have also seen her perform at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony.

Yet she still doesn’t have the international profile that she should do.

23. Keith Urban

Country singer Keith Urban competed in the televised talent show “New Faces” when he was 16.

This brought him to the attention of EMI Australia, who he signed with and released his self-titled debut with.

He also went on to release an album in the States and gained worldwide popularity selling over 15 million albums.

Today many remember him for his work as a vocal coach on The Voice Australia.

You don’t get to the position of  TV vocal coach without being one of the best Australian singers of all time!

24. Jason Donovan

Maybe not the best Australian singer but possibly the most famous Australian singer…

Donovan first found success in the Aussie soap opera Neighbours like a couple of our other candidates.

Then, music producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman turned Donovan into a pop star during the late ’80s and early ’90s. 

Four Top Ten hits later and the star moved to London to take on the stage musicals Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

He later signed to Polydor Records releasing more music but it fell flat and these days he sticks to acting.

Donovan likes to check in musically from time to time to remind us that he still sings.

His album of covers “Let It Be” is a prime example of that.

For the die-hard few Donovan is one of Australia’s best singers!

25. Kylie Minogue

Minogue’s career started alongside Donovan on the set of Neighbours, she too was scouted by the same music producers and began her music career in the early 90s.

Minogue found a lot more success than her counterpart.

“Locomotion,” was her first release and it topped the charts in several countries.

She released a duet with her former co-star their TV chemistry boosting the record into becoming an instant Top Ten Hit.

Kylie went on to release 11 studio albums.

She may not have the most impressive vocals out there but she dominated the 90’s charts.

She is also one of only a handful of Australian singers to have success in Europe. 

26. Barry Gibb

We are leaving you with a leftfield entry that might be a bit of a stretch.

At the very least we aim to clear up some confusion with our final candidate!

Although British born and bred, the original lineup of the Bee Gees formed in Australia and it was there that the now-notorious trio of Gibb brothers found their first chart success.

The group performed and gained popularity for seven years on Aussie soil before returning to the UK and then touring internationally and becoming famous.

Arguably, all of the vocals combine to form the group’s signature sound.

Although the ridiculous range of the falsetto end is synonymous with the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb’s baritone is the driving force behind every track.

It is no wonder the Aussies like to claim him as their own. 

Barry is not an Australian singer but he is one of the most famous Australian singers if you bend the rules and squint at what constitutes one.

Best Australian Singers – Final Thoughts

With that we leave you, hopefully, entertained by our list of the best Australian singers of all time. 

Not all of them may have had a set of pipes that will knock you for six!

Some of them earn a spot for “best Aussie singer” simply because they are some of the most famous Australian singers.

There are a few Aussie vocalists above who may not have the lungs on them that Nellie Melba did but found fame and fortune for their craft nonetheless.

Many of them are household names that deserve merit as iconic.

We hope you agree!

You may also like: Best Singers of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

free online music production courses
Previous Story

10 Best Free Online Music Production Courses

best guitarists of all time
Next Story

54 Best Guitarists of All Time

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists