24 Famous Spanish Singers Who’ll Teach You the Language Through Music

Ready to take a tour of the Spanish music world? 

Our team at FluentU spends countless hours searching for the best authentic Spanish music videos, captioning them, and writing about them for our blog—so we’ve become pretty familiar with the most renowned and beloved singers in the Spanish-speaking world. 

The following is a list of 24 famous Spanish-speaking singers that will help you improve your Spanish skills. So switch your speakers on and get your notebook ready, because you are about to begin a musical journey through the Spanish language. Have fun!

Contents

1. Julio Iglesias

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop and Contemporary

Recommended Songs: Esa Mujer” (That Woman), “No Me Vuelvo a Enamorar” (I Will Not Fall in Love Again) 

Starting our post off with the (arguably) most famous Spanish singer of all time, Julio Iglesias is a must listen-to. He is the Best Selling Latino Artist and is even considered one of the top Best Selling Artists in general. He has sold over 300 million records in multiple languages (14 to be exact), making his musical polyglotism just another incredible thing about him.

In 2018, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long-running music career that broke cultural and linguistic barriers around the world. 

While his music is typically considered pop, Julio has tried a variety of sounds and styles, making his music extremely versatile. Julio’s romantic, raspy voice is very nostalgic and has a way of inciting emotion. He sings slowly and with conviction, making it easy to understand his lyrics.

2. Gloria Estefan

famous spanish singers

Country of Origin: Cuba

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “Mi Tierra” (My Land) and “Oye(Listen)

Gloria Estefan is Cuban-American and, in terms of album sales, the world’s most successful English/Spanish crossover artist. In fact, her music is most known for fusing Latin and American elements to create a unique kind of sound

Estefan’s first music success was in English; she released a Spanish album several years after her first big English hit, “Conga.” Gloria and her husband, Emilio, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their contributions to music in 2015, demonstrating just how important Estefan’s music was for breaking barriers between the Latin and American worlds. 

Not only is Estefan’s first language Spanish, but she’s actually trilingual, speaking Spanish, English and French. Estefan’s rich, deep voice is easy to listen to in Spanish, and her music transports listeners to the past. 

3. Ricky Martin

famous spanish singers ricky martin

Country of Origin: Puerto Rica

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: La Copa de la Vida” (“The Cup of Life”), “Vuelve” (Come Back), or “La Bomba”(“The Bomb”)

There is little that has not already been said about Enrique Martín Morales. This handsome puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican) started the ’99 Latin pop explosion, and many years later he can boast of having sold more than 75 million albums worldwide.

He started his music career at the age of 12 with the pop group Menudo, which catapulted him to fame and allowed him to become the international star he is even today. Although his speciality is Latin pop, Martin is also well-versed in the art of the ballad

Ricky Martin has also released English versions of many of his songs, so he can be one of the most powerful tools to improve your Spanish skills. Just familiarize yourself with the English versions, and once you know what he is singing about, switch to the Spanish version and try to find similarities between the two.

4. Marc Anthony

famous spanish singers

Country of Origin: United States

Genre: Pop and Salsa

Recommended Songs: Muy Dentro de Mí” (You Sang to Me) and “Vivir Mi Vida(To Live My Life)

Marc Anthony was born and raised in the United States to Puerto Rican parents. A fully bilingual artist, Marc Anthony has been singing and releasing songs in Spanish and English since the early 1990s and has become a well known ambassador for Latin music within the United States

Marc Anthony has also acted in several movies and has business ventures in the fashion and sports worlds (he is a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins). My favorite of his accomplishments is the joint effort with Magnus to create an alliance between artists and athletes, known as Somos Una Voz (We Are One Voice), to provide humanitarian relief for natural disasters in the Western Hemisphere.

Perhaps because he grew up in the United States, Marc Anthony’s Spanish accent is particularly easy for native English speakers to understand. Anthony’s romantic pop sound is pleasant to the ear and a great place to start for learning Spanish.

5. Shakira

famous spanish singers

Country of Origin: Colombia

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “La Loba” (She Wolf), “Me enamoré” (I Fell in Love), and “Estoy Aquí” (I Am Here)

One of the most popular current crossover artists in Spanish and English, Shakira’s music has won Grammys and Latin Grammys, making her one of the most successful artists in the world. Shakira’s pop and dance music is entertaining, catchy and has broad appeal, making her a perfect artist for Spanish learners.

Not only a singer, but Shakira is an actress and avid humanitarian. She is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and has dedicated much of her time raising awareness of social issues through her music (case in point: “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”). 

Shakira’s Colombian Spanish is extremely clear, making it easy for even beginner-level learners to understand what she is singing. If you love Shakira’s hits in English like “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” you’ll be thrilled to know that her songs in Spanish are even better.

6. Enrique Iglesias

famous spanish singers

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs:  “Cuando Me Enamoro” (When I Fall in Love) and “Bailando.(Dancing)

When Enrique Iglesias released his first album in the 1990s, his music was inevitably compared to Ricky Martin. However, since then, Iglesias has carved out a niche of his own and is a best-selling crossover artist. In fact, he even holds the world record for the most #1 singles on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart (27 to be exact). 

Iglesias’s music is known for being particularly sensual and romantic in flavor, and many who’ve listened to his music have no doubt dreamed of him becoming their novio (boyfriend). Plus, his dad is also on this list (I’ll give you one guess), explaining how Enrique is so talented.

Enrique Iglesias’ songs vary in speed and clarity, so learners of all levels will appreciate the different tempos he produces. 

7. Carlos Santana

Country of Origin: Mexico

Genre: Rock

Recommended Songs: “Oye Cómo Va” (Hey, How’s it Going?) and “Amor Correspondido” (Reciprocated Love)

When you think of Latin music, one of the first artists to come to mind is Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico in 1947 and has been making music since he was a child. His group’s legendary performance at the three-day Woodstock festival in 1969 sent him to the top of the music charts. His five decades of commercial fame have influenced generations and he’s garnered a huge list of accolades.

Rolling Stone magazine put him on its list of Top 100 Guitarists of All Time—in the very impressive #20 spot. The man is all about the music. He enjoys sharing the stage and has collaborated with other greats, such as Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Tina Turner and Jerry Garcia.

Santana’s Latin and African-inspired rhythms and lyrics are a language learner’s dream. There’s a huge amount of material to choose from. Really, five decades’ worth? It’s mind-boggling, but with so much variety, there’s something for everyone.

8. Pitbull

Country of Origin: United States

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: Piensas” (You Think) and “Echa Pa’lla (Move)

I’m almost certain that you have heard of Pitbull (A.K.A Armando Christian Pérez) as he is extremely popular in the English and Spanish speaking worlds all over the globe, making his nickname, “Mr. Worldwide,” quite suitable.

This native Floridian was born to Cuban parents, thus infusing him with a bilingual musical talent that allows him to take American pop and add a distinct Latin sound, making Pitbull attractive to any crowd. 

Pitbull’s Spanish is very easy to understand as his American upbringing gives him an accent that is clear to hear. While his rap can be quick at times, the Spanish is rather easy to listen for and comprehend.

Many of his primarily English songs will at least feature brief diversions into Spanish, so you can pick out essentially any Pitbull song and get a short Spanish lesson out of it. The recommended songs above are some of his entirely Spanish songs, and I especially like “Echa Pa’lla” as the video demonstrates Pitbull’s charming and energizing stage presence that draws in so many fans!

9. Daddy Yankee

Country of Origin: Puerto Rico

Genre: Reggaeton

Recommended Songs: “Gasolina” (“Gasoline”) and “Con Calma” (Calmly)

Daddy Yankee is his stage name, but Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez is also called the “King of Reggaeton.” It seems fitting that this singer comes with more than one name, since his professional credits include athlete, singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. 

“Gasolina” brought the music genre reggaeton to the world on a grand scale, making Daddy Yankee an international phenomenon. The album Barrio Fino (Classy Neighborhood) was the top-selling Latin album of the decade between 2000-2009 and cemented his position as the man responsible for bringing reggaeton into mainstream music.

In language learning, he’s an ideal singer to emulate. His pronunciation is clear and the repetitiveness of some of his songs makes them perfect practice material, but they will still challenge a learner with a quicker pace

10. Luis Miguel

famous spanish singers: Luis Miguel

Country of Origin: Mexico

Genre: Pop and Rock

Recommended Songs: “Por Debajo de la Mesa” (“Under the Table”), “La Incondicional”(“The Unconditional”), and “El Día Que me Quieras” (“The Day That You Love Me”)?

Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri can easily be considered one of the most successful artists in Latin American history.

He has sold a mind-blowing total of over 100 million albums worldwide, and even though he has done pop and mariachi, his signatures are ballads and boleros.

He has released over 30 albums, mainly in Spanish but also in Italian and Portuguese. As for his awards, I would need 10 posts in order to mention all of them, so please take a look if you are interested.

Luis Miguel sings slowly and romantically, making it easy to pick out his words and understand what he is singing. 

11. Bad Bunny

Country of Origin: Puerto Rico

Genre: Rap and Raggaeton

Recommended Songs: Caro” (Expensive) and “Maldita Pobreza,” (Wretched Poverty)

Bad Bunny, or Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, has become a pop sensation within recent years as he combines many different genres and brings a modern feel to Latin music. Bad Bunny serves as a Latin icon that is most known for his rap and reggaeton, but is not afraid to experiment with new sounds. 

While you have probably heard of him due to his popularity in the English world, Bad Bunny’s albums are all in Spanish and are a great way to expand your vocabulary while dancing and singing along with his recent global hits. Be prepared though, his songs are often faster and may require a little more brainpower to pick up some of what he is saying. 

12. Luis Fonsi

famous spanish singers: Luis Fonsi

Country of Origin: Puerto Rico

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “La Fuerza de Mi Corazón” (The Power of My Heart) and “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido” (If I Hadn’t Met You)

Although Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López-Cepero is known for his superbly romantic songs, I was really surprised to learn that he has also tried acting a few times. I am glad, however, that he decided to stick to music, because I can honestly say his music has taught me the meaning of being romantic.

You are probably already familiar with his cry of “Ayyyy” through his collaboration with Daddy Yankee, Despacito” (“Slowly”), which was a huge hit worldwide, but Fonsi has his own distinct style and songs as well.

Fonsi is very pleasing to the ears, and his songs are great if you want to learn Spanish through music. The vocabulary is relatively easy and the sentences in his songs are rather short, so you shouldn’t have any big challenges with him.

13. Alejandro Sanz

famous spanish singers: Alejandro Sanz

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs:  “Si Tú Me Miras” (“If You Look at Me”), “Quiero Morir en Tu Veneno” (“I Want to Die in Your Poison”), and “La Tortura” (“The Torture”)

Alejandro Sánchez Pizarro, better known as Alejandro Sanz, is one of those singers every teenage girl was in love with in the ’90s and ’00s. He has won a total of 20 Latin Grammy Awards, or Premios Grammy Latino, and three Grammy Awards. See this interview to learn what he thinks of winning all those awards!

He started his adventure in the music universe at the age of seven but didn’t really take off until he was 20, when he released his first album.

His style can be described as flamenco-pop (his specialty is love ballads), although he has tackled other music styles—mainly rock, jazz, funk and música latina (Latin music).

His songs are normally grammatically difficult and contain a lot of idioms, but the recommended “La Tortura” is an easy song.

14. Celia Cruz

famous spanish singers: celia cruz

Country of Origin: Cuba

Genre: Salsa

Recommended Songs:  “La Vida es un Carnaval” (Life is a Carnival) and Guantanamera (from Guantánamo)

Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad was (thankfully) known on stage as Celia Cruz. The “Queen of Salsa” can be referred to as the most widely-known and most popular Latin artist of the twentieth century.

You really need to understand Spanish perfectly well in order to get the most out of her songs, lyrics and performances.

However, you will be happy to know that she was so expressive, so unique, so spectacular, that I am sure you will be dancing along to her singing without even noticing.

15. Marta Sánchez

famous spanish singers: Marta Sánchez

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “Soy Yo” (“It Is Me”), “Colgado en Tus Manos” (“Hanging in Your Hands”), and “Desesperada” (“Desperate”)

Marta Sánchez López is no doubt one the most important icons in Spanish pop music. A singer and songwriter, she started her career with the group Olé Olé, and made her debut as a solista (solo artist) in 1993.

Having sold around eight million albums worldwide, she has left an important imprint both in Spain and in the Americas, especially because of the numerous singles (some of them in English) she has released so far.

She has tackled pop, punk, rock and even some electronic, more commercial tunes, but she can be considered the “Queen of Sensual Pop.” 

16. Miguel Bosé

famous spanish singers: Miguel Bosé

Country of Origin: Panama

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “Amante Bandido” (Bandit Lover) and “Amiga (Friend)

Luis Miguel González Bosé, a.k.a. Miguel Bosé Dominguín, a.k.a. BOSÉ, is an actor and singer. Despite having a jumpstart in his entertainment career thanks to two famous parents, Bosé was quickly able to demonstrate his talent and create his own claim to fame. 

It is difficult to describe Bosé’s style. If you listen to his songs, you will find pop sounds, sometimes funk and rock, and will soon realize that the best word to describe his music is “experimental.”

And what can you learn from Bosé, grammar-wise? He certainly is a good teacher because his vocals are very clean and his pronunciation is great. This allows you to concentrate on the song and what it really means.

17. Thalía

famous spanish singers

Country of Origin: Mexico

Genre: Pop 

Recommended Songs: “Piel Morena,” (Dark Skin) and “Entre el Mar y una Estrella,” (Between the Sea and a Star)

Although not as well known in the United States, Thalía is a huge star in Mexico—and has also achieved crossover success in English. Along with singing publicly since she was a child, Thalía has acted in numerous telenovelas and films, and is sometimes even referred to as the “Queen of Telenovelas.”

Thalía is also a published author and has released several brands in fashion, beauty, and even candy! Like Shakira, Thalía works often with UNICEF and has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2016. 

Thalía’s music is palatable to a wide variety of musical tastes. And even in her faster songs, she sings relatively slowly, helping make her easier to understand. 

18. Fher Olvera of Maná

Country of Origin: Mexico

Genre: Rock

Recommended Songs: “Mi Verdad”  (My Truth) and “¿Dónde Jugarán los Niños?,” (Where Will the Children Play?)

No list of Spanish musical artists would be complete without the Mexican rock group Maná and its lead singer, Fher Olvera. Drawing influences from many styles including ska, calypso, reggae and classic rock, the pure liquid sounds of Maná invite listeners to sing along.

Skillful instrumental accompaniment, especially percussion and guitar, makes this group’s music multi-dimensional. Not only is the singing exceptional, but the musicians’ abilities make every title feel like it could be the next award-winner. 

Fher tends not to sing too fast, making it easy to follow his songs and their beautiful lyrics. 

19. Joaquín Sabina

famous spanish singers: Joaquín Sabina

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop and Rock

Recommended Songs: “19 Días y 500 Noches”  (19 Days and 500 Nights”), “Por El Bulevar de los Sueños Rotos” (Through the Boulevard of Broken Dreams), and “Quién Me Ha Robado el Mes de Abril” (Who Has Stolen the Month of April from Me)

Joaquín Sabina, or rather, Joaquín Ramón Martínez Sabina, is one of Spain’s most famous cantautores (singer-songwriter). He has hundreds of thousands of fans, if not millions, but his music is quite niche. He is known for having a rough and croaky voice, drawing his fans in with his unique sound.

One thing that I love about his lyrics is that when he writes a song, he does not go for the easy line and expression. Instead, he makes use of his skills as a published poet (he has published around 15 books) and pours his heart out into a sea of metaphors using complicated prose.

Sabina’s music is more suitable for the advanced Spanish student as the lyrics consist of more complex structure and vocabulary.

20. Lola Flores

famous spanish singers: Lola Flores

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Folklore

Recommended Songs: “Ay, Pena, Penita, Pena” (“Oh, Grief, Dear Grief, Grief”), “La Zarzamora”(“The Blackberry Bush”), and “Lola de España” (“Spain’s Lola”)

María de los Dolores Flores Ruiz, also known as La Faraona (The Female Pharaoh), was a very famous actress, bailaora de flamenco (flamenco dancer) and singer of traditional Andalusian folklore.

If you are not familiar with this traditional folklore, I recommend you do some research. Learning a language is very important if we want to communicate with other people, but learning about the culture of the country, the traditions and folklore, add many layers to that knowledge that are surely invaluable.

Remember, though, not to give up if you don’t understand Lola’s songs at the beginning. Flamenco is a very difficult genre and can even be difficult for native speakers to understand.

21. Buena Vista Social Club

Country of Origin: Cuba

Genre: Son Cubano and Jazz

Recommended Songs: “El Carretero” (The Cart Man) and “Chan Chan

Buena Vista Social Club is super popular on the Latin dance scene. Their salsa and bolero music sets the tone for dancing in clubs in cities from New York to L.A. and Havana to Miami. They first found fame in the 1990s and haven’t lost their following.

The name, Buena Vista Social Club, is derived from an actual dance club in Havana. The group is fluid and adds new members as openings come up, creating a collective that has managed to last for generations. Their style is perfect for language learning: Many titles feature simple, repetitive lyrics, which are ideal for anyone who wants to sing along!

Their songs are a bit slower and more “old school,” but still have a way of inspiring some movement and emotion alike. 

22. Tito Nieves

Country of Origin: Puerto Rico

Genre: Salsa

Recommended Songs: De Mi Enamorate(Fall in Love with Me) and  “Fabricando Fantasías” (Making Fantasies)

Fans of romantic ballads and sexy salsas enjoy Tito Nieves, known as “El Pavarotti de la Salsa” (The Pavarotti of Salsa). Early in his career, he was affiliated with a few groups, but in 1986 he went solo and never looked back. By setting out on his own, Tito was able to build his name by singing salsa in English, a unique take on Latin music that the world loved.

The man’s performance schedule sends him globe-trotting, and at his sold-out performances, many of his fans get the chance to sing along with his strong voice!

Tito Nieves is known for singing love songs set to a salsa rhythm. He sings clearly and makes it easy for the Spanish student to follow along without a need for repeating the song to try and catch words or phrases.

23. Nino Bravo

Country of Origin: Spain

Genre: Pop and Ballad

Recommended Songs: “Te quiero te quiero” (“I love you I love you”) and “Un Beso y Una Flor” (A Kiss and a Flower)

The international music world suffered a great loss when Spanish pop star Nino Bravo was killed in a car crash in Spain in 1973. He was only 28 when he died, but he’d already achieved fame with a solid hit from his first album.

The song was “Te quiero te quiero” (“I love you I love you”) and the smooth sound makes the music both soothing and sensual. The song’s sweet lyrics are not only catchy, but easy to follow. The vow of eternal faithfulness makes it so memorable many consider it a classic hit.

Bravo released three solo albums; the third made him wildly popular in many Latin American countries and with the Spanish-speaking American population. It’s sad to note that shortly before his death, the Spanish singer signed a lucrative deal with a record company. Fortunately, his legacy lives on in his music. 

24. Los Temerarios

Country of Origin: Mexico

Genre: Pop

Recommended Songs: “Me Partiste el Corazon” (“You Broke My Heart”) and “Mi Vida Eres Tú” (My Life is You)

The romantic ballads sung by Los Temerarios, a group started by brothers Adolfo Angel and Gustavo Angel, have garnered multiple awards, including a Latin Grammy and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 from the Latin Billboard Awards.

The brothers sing soulfully, and the songs they bring to their audiences stir such deep emotions some are brought to tears.

Most songs have a slow tempo, making it easy for listeners to follow what the brothers are singing about. 

These singers have been delighting listeners for over 30 years, and the good news is, they don’t look ready to stop anytime soon!

 

And this concludes our list of famous Spanish-speaking singers. Remember that this is just a short list you can expand with other artists of your liking—Spotify and iTunes are loaded with songs and plenty of modern language learning programs have incorporated music into their lessons.

To incorporate Spanish music into your learning, you can use the FluentU online language learning program, which has included Spanish songs and music videos its library. Each clip comes with interactive subtitles, a full transcript and a key word list, making it easy for you to unpack the lyrics and discover new vocabulary through the songs.

The most important thing for you to understand is that music can be used to improve your language skills. Print the lyrics of your favorite artists, read them, listen to their songs… Sooner rather than later, you will realize you have acquired a lot of new vocabulary and idioms without effort.


Francisco J. Vare loves teaching and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and you’ll normally find him learning languages, teaching students or reading. He’s been writing for FluentU for many years and is one of their staff writers.

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