15 Famous German Singers You Need To Check Out in 2023
From classics to electronica to rap, Germany’s music scene has it all.
Listening to music is great because in addition to learning about urban street culture and the history of this fascinating country, music can also give you insights into the way the country has changed since the fall of the Wall in 1990. Interestingly, take particular notice of the musical style switch around this time.
Read this post to find out about 15 deservedly famous German singers, from the past and into the dazzling present.
- 1. Sarah Connor
- 2. Lena Meyer-Landrut
- 3. Herbert Grönemeyer
- 4. Nena
- 5. Xavier Naidoo
- 6. Yvonne Catterfeld
- 7. Marlene Dietrich
- 8. Annemarie Eilfeld
- 9. Bill Kaulitz/Tokio Hotel
- 10. Capital Bra
- 11. Die Toten Hosen
- 12. Mero
- 13. Cro
- 14. Seeed
- 15. Robin Schulz
- And One More Thing...
1. Sarah Connor
Sarah Connor’s is a popular songwriter, singer and TV personality. She has sold over 15 million records, all starting with her single “From Sarah with Love,” from her debut album “Green Eyed Soul,” which took Germany by storm in the 2000s.
She mostly makes well crafted pop music and occasionally tries out other genres like R&B, soul and dance music.
Connor provides a wonderful combination of upbeat and slower songs, and she enunciates her German rather well, allowing listeners to really get the lyrics, which are often very well written.
2. Lena Meyer-Landrut
Although much of her pop music is written in English, “Seeräuber-Opa-Fabian” (Pirate Grandpa Fabian) is perhaps her most well known song. It combines somewhat funny lyrics with a folk music background that wouldn’t be out of place in a German beer garden.
Her claim to fame is that she represented Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010 and won the whole competition, with her catchy poppy song “Satellite,” which has lyrics in English.
3. Herbert Grönemeyer
Herbert Grönemeyer is a classic German singer and one of the German-speaking world’s superstars. In fact, his album “Mensch” (Man) is the number one selling record of all time in German.
He’s a legend in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland because his songs grab your emotions, touching on universal themes like love, happiness and failure.
Beyond creating excellent pop music, he’s also well known for appearing as an actor in the extremely popular and well-respected film, “Das Boot” (The Boat).
His other hits include “Flugzeuge im Bauch,” (Butterflies in the Stomach) “Amerika“ (America) and “Zum Meer.” (To the Sea)
Nena is a household name in many countries, because she created perhaps the most recognizable German song in the world: 1983’s “99 Luftballons” (99 Balloons). This made her a massive international music star.
Nena seemed to capture the zeitgeist of an exciting time of change in Germany, releasing anthems that captured the nation through the time of the falling of the Berlin Wall and reunification.
Her stunning voice, matched with the upbeat lyrics, make for some excellent music. Try out songs like “Wunder gescheh’n“ (Miracles Happen), “Hol’ mich zurück“ (Get Me Back), “Willst du mit mir gehn“ (Want to Come With Me) and “Du bist gut für mich“ (You’re Good For Me).
5. Xavier Naidoo
If you like emotionally charged R&B music, Xavier Naidoo will fit the bill. He goes by the stage name Kobra. One of his biggest talents is as a rhyming master, which conveniently helps German learners quickly recognize pairs of rhyming nouns.
He has said a few controversial statements in recent years, but his place in the German musical canon is secured nonetheless, for his gritty and personal lyrics and deft incorporation of other musical styles including gospel and soul.
Check out “Sag es laut“ (Say it Loud) and “Alles kann besser werden“ (Everything Can Get Better).
6. Yvonne Catterfeld
Yvonne Catterfeld was born in East Germany in 1979, which influences her perspective of the world. Fame came for her after winning “Star Search” and her debut single “Bum.” Much of her music is emotional yet you can still dance to it, which makes for an interesting combination. She also dips her toes in soulful music that’s reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and other soul greats.
Check out songs like “Pendel“ (Pendulum) and “Vielleicht ist keine Antwort“ (Maybe Isn’t an Answer).
Like many German singers, she’s also a successful actress and television host in Germany.
7. Marlene Dietrich
This legendary German actress, the great Marlene Dietrich, also had quite a stellar musical career, primarily performing live in theaters.
Marlene Dietrich is for those who love the classics, and her music is like a time machine through German history. Her themes aren’t too complicated for the beginner German learner, and her voice offers a certain cozy vintage ambiance, now forever lost to time.
Try out songs like “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt“ (I Am From Head to Foot In Love).
If you’re interested in German culture like popular songs and movies, you can also pick up the language through a program like FluentU, where you can pick up vocabulary through German music.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
8. Annemarie Eilfeld
Annemarie Eilfeld rose to fame after winning the German version of “American Idol.” Since then, she’s been going strong with hits like “Barfuss durch Berlin“ (Barefoot Through Berlin).
Since then, she’s created dance and rock influenced pop music with clever lyrics over a pleasing musical background. Some have even called her the German Katy Perry.
9. Bill Kaulitz/Tokio Hotel
Bill Kaulitz is the lead singer of the popular band, Tokio Hotel. The band combines rock, pop and emo to make super catchy radio-friendly music. They also produce plenty of ear worms that’ll get stuck in your head for days.
His vocals are almost child-like, which gives the music a punk edged attitude.
The pop rock band performs in both English and German, but a great German song is “Zimmer 483“ (Room 483).
10. Capital Bra
Ask a German to name a famous rapper and they’re likely going to say Capital Bra.
Known for his fun, catchy melodies, relatable lyrics and versatile flow, Capital Bra has climbed the mountain of the German music charts. He likes to rap and sing about urban German street life and his personal struggles with relationships and fame—plus the downside of success.
Check out the song “Belly Dance” for a rapper’s view of contemporary German street life.
11. Die Toten Hosen
Die Toten Hosen (The Dead Pants) is a highly influential German punk band known for wildly energetic live shows. Known as “Die Hosen” (the Pants), the band has been around since way before reunification, starting out in 1981.
Now legendary in the country, they’ve evolved their sound a lot over the years, venturing into pop, folk and rock, but never totally abandoning their punk rock roots.
Listen to “Reisefieber” (Travel Fever) for a glimpse into their musical experimentation. The song even starts off with a bagpipe intro!
Mero is one of a new generation of German rappers. His smooth style features catchy melodies hooks that leave you humming his songs for days after listening.
His breakout hit was “Baller los,”(Baller, Come On) and in this song, you can hear his contemporary combinations of trap and pop music. In terms of lyrics, he likes to sing about relationships, love and money, three of the most important topics to a boy born in Europe in the year 2000.
Check out “Wolke 10″ (Cloud 10) to hear more of his super catchy work.
Cro expertly blends rap and pop music. And with catchy melodies and lyrics, it’s hard not to like. He always wears a trademark panda mask in public, which infuses his stage performances with a childlike whimsy and seems to give him hipster cred.
He likes to use a lot of electronic music influences as well, given how popular the club and dance music genres are in this country that likes to party.
Check out his song “Einmal um die Welt” (Once Around the World) for a deeper dive.
This German reggae and dancehall band combines Caribbean sounds with German lyrics, creating a unique and infectious musical style. They can also be quite funny, poking fun at German culture and language, with a knowing tongue-in-cheek perspective.
Known for their wild and energetic live performances, this band encapsulated the modern Germany: rich, complex and multicultural with artistic influences from all over the world. This isn’t your grandfather’s Germany, and that’s a good thing!
Check out “Ding” (Thing) for more into their fun musical style.
15. Robin Schulz
Robin Schulz is well known for being a DJ and producer, but many people don’t realize he’s also a successful singer-songwriter.
He’s popular for his dance-friendly and infectious blend of deep house and tropical house music that can warm up even the coldest German winter day.
Schulz has plenty of collabs to his name, too, including projects with French producer David Guetta and English musicians James Blunt and Lilly Wood. He’s now established himself as a go-to producer in Germany.
Check out his song Fil Bo Riva “Killer Queen” for more insight into his catchy sound. This one’s in English by the way.
German tunes aren’t just good for grooving—they’re also fantastic opportunities to make your German studies engaging and dynamic. Keep up, and sing along!
Without further ado, boot up your favorite music app and pop in your earbuds, because these German singers are ready to help you learn.
And One More Thing...
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