When it comes to famous singers you would probably be surprised how many tone-deaf singers have made it big. Some of them are recognized as successful singers while others are just a small part of internet meme history. Some famous tone deaf singers either try to fake it till they make it or simply ignore criticism, as their main goal is to become famous even if that means that their songs are only listened out of morbid curiosity or sheer hilarity.
The famous tone deaf singers are, Florence Foster Jenkins, Paris Hilton, Mike Tyson, Scarlett Johansson, William Hung, Naomi Campbell, James Franco, Kelly Osbourne, Mrs. Miller, Kobe Bryant, The Shaggs, The Olsen’s and Wing.
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Generally speaking tone deaf singers either do not know that they are really tone-deaf or they either do and try to make the best of it. Luckily for them but not for the audience, there are several ways to hide or even mask how tone deaf the singer is with specialized software. Although these kinds of software can be found mostly in studios there are several free apps and software which attempt to blur the line between singing and tone deaf singing.
Oftentimes, beginner singers who sing from the throat sound like they are tone deaf, my recommendation is to read my recent article Singing from diaphragm vs throat ( Which one is better? ), to find out more.
Most famous tone deaf singers became famous by either investing a lot of money to put out a single or simply by luck on a talent show or on social media. Luckily for them, most people who listen to pop music can not make the difference between tone deaf singing and actual singing, this is mostly due to the lack of quality in today’s music. Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame, some even to the extent of letting others laugh at them.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins was actually a socialite during the early 20’th century if you do not know what a socialite is then just think of another famous tone deaf singer like Paris Hilton, rich parents, and zero talent. Foster Jenkins actually began her “career” as a pianist but due to an injury, she could not play the piano anymore. Although since childhood her dream was to be a famous opera singer she never tried to sing in front of an audience.
Until one day due to the sheer determination at the age of around 60 she has sung for a crowd of socialites, at first the crowd couldn’t figure out if she was serious or if her singing was part of a joke. After a couple of minutes of her singing, it became obvious that she took singing very seriously after she finished to sing her first song some people in the audience stud up, applauded, and yelled “encore” which means one more time, most likely they did it just for the laughs.
From that point on she was determined to become a famous opera singer and started performing around the country in theaters, and believe it or not she was a massive hit. When she was performing the theaters were booked, and oftentimes the audience would bring a lot of flowers to her. Although she heard from critics that she is a tone deaf singer who can not actually sing, it still didn’t stop her.
It is still unknown to this day if she actually taught she was a good opera singer or just rode the wave of fame. If you want something really entertaining then check out my recent article on Best sing along songs when drunk ( Top 23 ).
Paris Hilton’s fame came from an amateur sex tape which she released in the early 2000s. As the most famous tone deaf singers on this list, Paris was determined to become famous no matter what. So what should a rich and talentless person do to become famous, release a sex tape? Believe it or not, it actually made her famous and she wanted to capitalize on this fame by starting to sing. In 2006 she has released her first and only solo album called “Paris”.
But no matter how much of her daddy’s money would spend she still sounded tone deaf, this was an era before autotune so the studios did whatever they could to help her sound like an actual singer. Most of the critics thought the album was awful, but still, the album sold almost a million copies which aren’t bad for the first album of a tone-deaf talentless singer. Although she quit singing she has a quite large following as a DJ.
Yeah, you heard it right, Mike Tyson is one of the most famous tone deaf singers. The former heavyweight boxer after retiring dabbled in a bit of singing, he even told interviews that he would love to be a part of a musical as he loves to dance and sing. I don’t know about you but if they ever make a musical with Mike Tyson as the star I would definitely want to see it. What makes Mike Tyson’s tone deaf singing even weirder is his voice, which I can not even comprehend what it sounds like but you have probably seen a lot of memes about his voice already.
Although he didn’t release any albums he still sang a couple of popular songs in the early 2010s, although I can not put my finger on it if he was doing it for the lols or he was in fact taking it seriously which makes it even funnier.
If you are a fan of the Avengers you probably already know who Scarlett Johansson is as she has played the role of Black Widow. The talented actress even dabbled in some singing in the bast, back in 2008 she even released an album called Anywhere I Lay My Head. Although if you listen to her singing you might find it that it isn’t as bad as some other famous tone deaf singers in this list, although the critics hated her singing, mostly because she was singing in her album with Tom Waits and David Bowie, where she simply couldn’t compete with the voices of the former two.
In the early 2000s, American Idol was extremely popular, the show made a lot of celebrities, some talented and some not. William Hung auditioned in 2004 by singing the song “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin, Hung didn’t have any training as a singer and he was eventually rejected by the judges at American Idol. Altho Hung had a tone deaf singing and no talent in the area, he’s singing at the American Idol went viral and catapulted him into the spotlights.
Believe it or not, he got even approached by record labels and he also gets to make 3 albums which are more than most even talented singers can say which auditioned at American Idol. In addition to his 3 albums, he was invited to a lot of events and talk shows like Ellen, which even helped him gain more fame due to his hilarious tone deaf singing. He sang at baseball games, local events and he was even the Artichoke King at a local festival.
He even had been invited to the ending of the season of American Idol where he sang the same song as Ricky Martin. After a time his 15 minutes of fame ended and he now lives a comfortable life being a government employee.
Back in the early ’90s, Naomi Campbell was a top supermodel, and in 1994 she released her first and the only album named Baby Woman. The album flopped both in the UK and in the US, most of the critics saying she is a tone deaf singer without any actual talent, just riding the wave of her supermodel fame. Although the album has bombed in western markets it still was not a flop, the album was a big success for some reason in Japan where she ended up selling millions.
The sales of the album weren’t helped by the cover either, as the main picture was her sitting on a toilet if you ever find one of the original albums of her buy it as it might be valuable sometime.
As oftentimes famous actors do try out singing at some point during their career, James Franco paired up with Tim O’Keefe in the band named “Daddy” which I might add is a strange choice of names. In 2012 they released their first record which flopped bout in the US and the UK, and the critics didn’t hold back their criticism. Having their first record flop didn’t stop the duo and they released the second album 4 years later in 2016, although this also flopped both in the US and the UK, it was somewhat not as awful as their debut record.
Kelly Osbourne is the daughter of Ozzy Osbourne and that is pretty much it, no other “accomplishments” other than being born to a singing family. In the early 2000s, MTV had a reality show called The Osbournes where the filming crew would follow their day to day life which contained a lot of drama and spoiled children’s tantrums. Now imagine how would a spoiled child sound like while singing, that sums up how her first album Shut Up.
One of her songs in the album was called Papa Don’t Preach, for which she actually made a video clip, if you take a look at the above YouTube video you will notice that her dancing is golden, it is simply hilarious. Some people claim that the album didn’t flop due to her being tone deaf but due to the style which she adopted as being a princess, and coming from a dysfunctional family like the Osbourne’s she probably should have adopted a darker or funnier style.
Elva Ruby Miller was an amateur singer, who often recorded her songs and then she donated them to children and hospitals. She had no high dreams of ever being a successful singer and she was just singing as a hobby until one day a DJ at a radio station stumbled upon one of her recordings. After playing her recordings a couple of times on the radio more and more people began asking for the song from Mrs. Miller, and thus she became famous.
Although she was a tone deaf singer that didn’t stop her to release her first album called Mrs. Miller’s Greatest Hits, which to everybody’s amazement topped No 15 in the US charts selling hundreds of thousands of her album.
What is it with people who are very successful at what they are doing and suddenly the urge comes over them to become a singer? This is the case of Kobe Bryant which is a famous NBA player, and some might call him a successful singer, he even released an album called “Kobe” back in 2009. Although the album flopped not due to his tone deaf singing but due to his lack of talent and somewhat strange lyrics.
The Shaggs was formed by 3 sisters, and rather bizarrely I might add. Their father was into the occult and palm reading, he would often visit fortune tellers and palm readers. After visiting one day a palm reader he decided that his daughters should form a band, despite them not having any training for singing. Their album called Philosophy of the World was filled with smashing hits like the song My Pal Foot Foot.
With song titles like that, you can imagine the quality of their singing. If you grew up in the 90’s you have probably heard the expression “better than The Beatles”, well this expression comes from Frank Zappa describing The Shaggs.
During the late ’80s and early ’90s, everybody knew who the Olsen twins were due to them being the co-stars in the very successful sitcom Full House. Capitalizing on their fame their manager thought that it is a good idea for the twins to start singing, so thus The Olsen’s was born. They released their first album back in 1992, although the critics were not to harsh on the twins as they were just small children singing without any training at all, their album was still considered a flop.
Born in Hong Kong and emigrating later to New Zeeland, Wing was an amateur singer. If you look at her story it has a lot of similarities with Mrs. Miller journey to success. In New Zeeland, she got a job as a nurse where after a while she started to sing for the children and the elderly. Her singing is borderline insanity, but it is extremely funny, this is why some people asked for her to make a CD so they could buy it and support her music career.
From that point onward she made a lot of cover songs and she became famous virtually overnight, she has even been a feature in on o South Park’s episode.
There are a lot of famous tone deaf singers around the world, in our most recent times with several talent shows on the air there will be even more famous tone deaf singers as time passes by, some of them even acquiring a meme status. If these people can become successful even if they are tone deaf and have an awful singing voice, you have no excuses not to start singing.