Famous Musicians from Cardiff

Famous Musicians from Cardiff

Wales has served as the breeding ground for various musical greats, from the likes of Manic Street Preachers to Feeder. Here at Piano Lessons Cardiff, we strongly encourage students to adopt an enthusiasm for the fantastic range of artists that have emerged from this region. It is highly inspirational for students to learn that their idols started their musical careers in the very same place with similar opportunities available to them. These paragons of music serve as a great example to our students, and it provides a highly educational and influential experience for aspiring pianists to listen and engage with such successful artists. We have therefore compiled a short-list of artists for your perusal, accompanied by a short biography detailing their transition from young, aspiring musicians to globally successful artists. 

Manic Street Preachers 

Manic Street Preachers, also known as “The Manics”, or just “Manics”, were a musical quartet established in 1986 at Oakdale Comprehensive School in South Wales. They originally consisted of Richey Edwards as lyricist and guitarist, James Dean Bradfield on lead vocals and guitar, Nicky Wire as lyricist and bass guitarist, and Sean Moore on drums. In 1990, they signed a record deal with Damaged Good Records and released their EP, New Art Riot soon afterwards. Edwards’ disappearance in 1995 reduced the band to a trio. The band adopted a socially-critical stance, producing songs based on culture and despair, which gained them a widespread following and led to their profound success as one of Britain’s greatest rock bands. Their success and popularity can be seen by their having had eight albums in the Top 10, fifteen singles within the Top 10, and three UK number 1s. These were their 1998 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, and 1998 single “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next”, and “The Masses Against the Classes” single, released in 2000.


Stereophonics consists of of Kelly Jones (lead vocalist and guitarist), Richard Jones (bassist and backing vocals), Adam Zindani (guitarist and backing vocalist), and Tony Kirkham (keyboardist). They formed in 1992 in Cwmaman in Cynon Valley, Wales. This successful alternative rock band has produced eight studio albums, with five consecutive UK number 1 albums. Their compilation album, Decade in the Sun, released in 2008, reached number two in the UK and their eighth album, Graffiti on the Train, charted at number three in the UK albums chart. As one of the most successful Welsh bands, Stereophonics have sold nine million copies globally. The band are renowned for their high-energy live performances, and have headlined at such famous festivals as Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury, V Festival, and Isle of Wight Festival.  


Feeder was first established in Newport in 1994, under the name “Reel”, by Grant Nicholas and Jon Lee. After signing a record deal with “The Echo Label” in 1994, Feeder was comprised of Grant Nicholas (Guitarist & vocalist), Jon Lee (drummer) and Taka Hirose (bassist). After Jon Lee took his life in 2002, Mark Richardson (Skunk Anansie drummer) joined the band, but returned to Skunk Anansie in 2009. Since then, Karl Brazil has assumed the role of drummer, but Damon Wilson and Tim Trotter take on this role for sessions and touring. This alternative rock band is highly influenced by such bands as The Police, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins. They have however, introduced more acoustic elements to their sound since their earlier days, with the addition of pianos and string orchestras. Feeder has released eight studio albums, three compilations, two EPs and thirty four singles, gaining most recognition for their fourth album Comfort in Sound, released in 2002. This album incorporated themes of loss and death, after the tragic passing away of band member Jon Lee. The band won two Kerrang! Awards in 2001 and feature in the Xfm Top 1000 Songs of All Time.  

Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church was born in Cardiff and began her music career as a classical singer before delving into the world of pop music in 2005. Since then, she has also become an actress and television presenter, hosting The Charlotte Church show. Two years into her career as a pop singer, she had sold over ten million records globally, with over five million sold in the USA. She first rose to fame through her performance on ITV’s Big, Big Talent Show in 1997. After this, she performed at Cardiff Arms Park, the Royal Albert Hall, and even opened a show for Shirley Bassey in Antwerp. She then accepted a vocal scholarship to go to Howell’s School Llandaff in Cardiff in 1998. Her most recent album Back To Scratch, was released in 2010. 

Shirley Bassey

Dame Shirley Bassey was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales in 1937. She began her successful singing career in the 1950s and is renowned for her vocals in the theme tunes for the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). Bassey signed her first contract in 1953 to exhibit her vocal talents in a musical based on the life of Al Jolson (Memories of Jolson). She then went on to perform in Hot from Harlem, but had to temporarily abandon her vocal career when she became pregnant with her first daughter at 16. After waiting on tables in the years that intervened, Bassey was taken on by Michael Sullivan in 1955, and so her musical career resumed. After performing in a range of theatres, she was recognised by Jack Hylton, who invited her to star in Al Read’s Such is Life in the West End. Bassey recorded her first single “Burn My Candle” in 1956, when she was just 19, but it was banned by the BBC due to suggestive lyrics. Since then, she has accomplished a highly successful vocal career and has won various awards, including a BRIT award, amongst many others.

Interesting in finding out more about what Cardiff has to offer music-wise?! Have a read of where you might be able to record your first piano piece here: Recording and Rehearsal Studios Cardiff. You can also have a read about some of the best Music Shops in Cardiff to find up all your music equipment needs. We also have some information on local music venues so you can find places to go and watch live music!

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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