These Artists Are Known All Over the World… Except in The USA

These artists are known worldwide … except in the USA

It’s easy to think that if a band or solo artist hasn’t hit it big in America, they haven’t truly made it. However, some of the world’s most beloved and successful musicians are revered in their home countries, and internationally, even without ever charting a U.S. hit. Stretch your ears beyond American borders and meet these 20 superstars you’ve probably never heard of.

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These Artists Are Known All Over the World… Except in The USA: Badshah, X Japan, Eppu Normaali, Charles Aznavour, Hinds, Cliff Richard, DDT, Youssou N’Dour, Soda Stereo, Buju Banton, Hjálmar, Rodriguez, Mando Diao, AKB48, Tokio Hotel, Gusttavo Lima, The Tragically Hip, Caetano Veloso, Sol3 Mio, Neha Kakkar 

These artists are known worldwide ... except in the USA
Image: © Instagram @hindsband


He may not have the name recognition of Drake or Kendrick Lamar, but Indian rapper Badshah was one of the world’s highest-earning artists in 2020. Born Aditya Prateek Sing Sisodia in 1985 in New Delhi, Badshah is known for his Punjabi, Haryanvi and Bollywood songs. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering before launching his music career in 2006, alongside Yo Yo Honey Singh and the hip hop group Mafia Mundeer. In 2012, he released his first solo album, and since then, his music has been frequently featured in Bollywood productions.

X Japan

They are one of the most influential rock bands in Japanese musical history, whose achievements are all the more admirable when you consider that they first achieved success as an independent band without the backing of a major label. Formed in the 1980s, with an adventurous fashion style that mixed elements of metal and glam rock, the band adopted a more conventional sound and became even more popular in the 1990s. In 1997, after the band disbanded , lead guitarist Hide was found dead in his apartment. In 2007, the two remaining original members, Yoshiki and Toshi, reformed the band, adding new members in later years. In 2018, the band had the opportunity to reach new audiences with their first appearance at Coachella.

Eppu Normaali

Called the most popular Finnish rock band, Eppu Normaali was formed in 1976 by brothers Martti Syrjä and Mikko Syrjä together with their cousin, drummer Aku Syrjä, guitarist Juha Torvinen, and bassist Mikko Saarela, who later left the group. The band recorded 13 albums, all gold or platinum, and sold-out stadium concerts. His most recent album was 2007’s Syvään Päähän.

Charles Aznavour

When someone made music for nearly 75 years, it’s hard to believe he’s not a household name everywhere, but French cabaret singer and showbiz legend Charles Aznavour isn’t well known in America. Born in 1924 to Armenian immigrants hoping to settle in France only temporarily, the singer began performing in the 1950s with the world-famous Édith Piaf. She also appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, and continued to record music until her death in 2018.

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During the 2010s, when the Spanish garage rock scene was mainly dominated by male artists, four women from Madrid, Carlotta Cosials, Ana García Perrote, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen, formed Hinds. Touring across Europe and the UK, the band quickly gained a loyal following, releasing their first full album in 2016 and winning a European Border Breakers Award in 2017. Their latest album is 2020’s The Prettiest Curse.

Cliff Richard

Of course, the Beatles are the biggest British band, but one of England’s other most popular acts, having started around the time of the Fab Four, is completely unknown to many across the pond. Breaking out in the 1950s, Cliff Richard had 14 No. 1 hits spanning five different decades and sold more than 260 million records. His 1976 song “Devil Woman” was the first top 10 hit he had in the US, but it never reached the stratospheric level of success he had at home.


Formed in 1980, the Russian rock band rose to fame through a music competition called Zolotoy Kamerton (‘Golden Tuning Fork’) and immediately became beloved by fans in the country. Although they have had several lineup changes over the years, original member and singer Yuri Shevchuk continues to lead the band, and they are still touring Europe and Russia.

Youssou N’Dour

His collaborations with Peter Gabriel on his 1986 hit “In Your Eyes” and with Neneh Cherry on her 1994 song “7 Seconds” earned him some international attention, but nothing compared to the following he’d had in his native Senegal for decades. before. . He is revered for his vocal range and his innovation with the mbalax musical style, which combines traditional Wolof instruments with vocal forms popular in Latin America. He is also a politician and served as Senegal’s minister of culture and tourism from 2012 to 2013.

Soda Stereo

Although they officially broke up in 1997, there was a time when Soda Stereo, made up of guitarist and vocalist Gustavo Cerati, drummer Charly Alberti and bassist Zeta Bosio, was the biggest band in Argentina, although they never made their mark in the US. The band’s sound, which combined elements of new wave, reggae, soul, electronic and ska, was popular with fans and critics throughout South America. His last album, 1995’s Sueño Stereo, was named the fourth best Latin rock album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The band briefly reunited for a 26-stop tour in 2007.

Buju Banton

By the time he was 19, reggae star Buju Banton had broken the legendary Bob Marley’s Jamaican record for the most No. 1 singles in a year. Known as one of the country’s biggest dancehall reggae performers in the 1990s, Banton stayed productive for the next two decades branching into R & B and hip hop. Annoyed with traditional record labels, he started his own, and won a 2010 Grammy for the album Before the Dawn. He was convicted on drug trafficking charges in the U.S., and spent many years in prison before being released in 2018. His most recent release was the 2020 album Steppaz Riddim.

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As small as the country is, Iceland has spawned some recognizable musical stars, including Of Monsters and Men, Björk, and Sigur Rós. Less well known in North America, but equally beloved in their home country and beyond, is the band Hjálmar, who uniquely and wonderfully blend the hot rhythms of reggae with their Icelandic idiom. Formed in 2004, with members from Sweden, the band put out two successful albums before the Swedish members left. The new band released a comeback album in 2007 and seven more since then, including Yfir hafið in 2020.


Mexican-American folk musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez tried to make a career as a musician in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan in the ’60s and early ’70s, releasing a few albums and even making an unsuccessful run at mayor of the city. When it seemed his career was going nowhere, Rodriguez gave up music, but a fanbase developed in Australia and then South Africa in the late 1970s and 1980s, catapulting the musician to a level of fame he never experienced in his home country. A 2012 film called Searching for Sugar Man about two South African men who set out to discover what happened to Rodriguez, their musical hero, won the Oscar for best documentary.

Mando Diao

They’ve been called “the greatest Swedish rock band of all time”, but unless you live in Europe, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard a single Mando Diao song. They’ve been around since 1995, when all five members were still teenagers, and landed in superstar territory with their second album, 2004’s Hurricane Bar. Known for experimenting with their style and sound, the band went four-platinum in their native Sweden. They released their self-produced ninth album Bang to great acclaim in 2019.


Japan’s AKB48 are one of the most famous pop groups in Asia, although they are relatively unknown in North America. Created in 2005 by producer Akimoto Yasushi, the troupe-style singing group, made up of various “teams” of female vocalists, consistently break their own records for best-selling singles. Their inclusion on the soundtrack of the 2012 Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph helped them reach new audiences with the catchy song “Sugar Rush.”

Tokio Hotel

German rockers Tokio Hotel have tried to break into US markets with English-language releases, but their most popular North American hits, “Scream” and “Humanoid,” only reached No. 39 and No. 35, respectively, on the Billboard charts. The band has won over 100 awards, including seven MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Gusttavo Lima 

International soccer fans have likely sung and danced to Brazilian singer Gusttavo Lima’s anthem, “Balada,” which reached No. 1 in Brazil, France, Italy and the Netherlands after being featured on his 2011 live album E Você. Known for using synthesizers and electric guitars over more traditional accordion and guitar sounds, Lima’s music is heard almost everywhere except in the United States.

The Tragically Hip 

When 11.7 million Canadians tune in to see your final concert, it’s fair to say you’re a national treasure. Formed in 1984, the rock band has been called “Canada’s most inspiring and important band” with hits that manage to combine musicianship with Canadian history and social justice. The death of the gang’s leader, Gordon Downie, in 2017 was marked by national mourning and a tribute from the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Even with six million albums sold in Canada and dozens of award and award nominations, they barely registered on the radar of music lovers south of the border.

Caetano Veloso 

He is a Brazilian legend who established himself in the 1960s as one of the creators of the Tropicália movement in Brazil. In 2021, at the age of 79, he released Meu Coco, and although it was his first new music in over a decade, it has remained a fixture of the Latin music scene. Relatively unknown in the United States, Veloso has won multiple Latin Grammy Awards and was named the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year in 2012.

Sol3 Mio

Also known as SOLΞ MIO, the operatic trio of Samoan tenor brothers Pene and Amitai Pati and their baritone cousin Moses Mackay are superstars in their native New Zealand and elsewhere, despite being relatively unknown in North America. Since forming in 2011, they have been featured on New Zealand’s Got Talent and TV One’s documentary series NZ Story. Their 2013 self-titled debut album wowed the nation, knocking pop star Lorde off the top spot on the year’s charts. .

Neha Kakkar

She was one of Spotify’s top three most-streamed female artists in 2021 and was the highest-paid singer in the world in 2020, but outside of India, singer and former Indian Idol contestant Neha Kakkar is not well known. She is as famous for her personal and romantic life as she is for her hit Bollywood singles, and she is a huge star on social media, becoming the first singer in India to win a YouTube Diamond award.

These Artists Are Known All Over the World… Except in The USA (image)

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