Entertainment

Celebrities Who Started as Backup Singers 

Ranker Music
Updated September 6, 2019 184.9k views 24 items

This list of celebrities who started as backup singers is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Several now-famous musicians started their careers in the entertainment industry as backup singers. A few of these talented singers went on to become some of the biggest pop stars of all time. One famous backup singer, Whitney Houston, is a Grammy-winning musician and Oscar-winning actress.

Who is the most famous person who started as a backup singer? Mariah Carey tops this list. Carey was a backup singer and dancer for Brenda Starr in the late 1980s, which proves that celebrities who were once backup singers can be just as talented as anyone who shot to the top. 

Grammy-winning singer and Oscar-winning actress Cher sang backup on the studio recordings for the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers. Sheryl Crow got her start as a backup vocalist for one of the most famous pop stars of all time. Click through the list below to find out who.

Are you surprised that so many superstars started as backup singers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
Before she was pop star Katy Perry, Katy Hudson was a backup vocalist for P.O.D. She even appears in their 2006 video for "Goodbye for Now."

Born: 1984-10-25

Age: 34

Birthplace: Santa Barbara, California, United States of America

More Katy Perry 

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Katy Perry #175 of 269 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #9 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

Mariah Carey is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Celebrities Who Started as Backup Singers
Photo:  Colin Pumfrett/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Mariah Carey was a backup singer and dancer for Brenda Starr in the late 1980s.

Born: 1970-03-27

Age: 48

Birthplace: Huntington, New York, United States of America

More Mariah Carey 

The Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time #240 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #4 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Celebrities Who Started as Backup Singers
Photo: Metaweb/GNU Free Documentation License
Gwen Stefani first joined No Doubt as a backup singer. After lead singer John Spence committed suicide in 1987, a devastated Stefani pulled herself up and into the spotlight.

Born: 1969-10-03

Age: 49

Birthplace: Fullerton, California, United States of America

More Gwen Stefani 

A Complete Timeline Of Blake Shelton And Gwen Stefani's Relationship #111 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #114 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

Elton John is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Celebrities Who Started as Backup Singers
Photo: U.S. Embassy photographer/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Elton John's early band Bluesology provided backup vocals and instrumentation for everyone from The Isley Brothers to Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles.

Born: 1947-03-25

Age: 71

Birthplace: Pinner, London, United Kingdom

More Elton John 

The Best Elton John Albums of All Time #4 of 269 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #9 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists