The word came to the English language in 1883 and used for operatic prima donnas that time. The contemporary term “Diva” is believed to have started with Maria Callas – the Greek-American opera singer who earned worldwide fame in the 50s. Then there was Googoosh of Persia, Edith Piaf of France, Rocio Jurado of Spain and many others.
How will we do it?
To lessen "subjectivity" like voice quality, singing style, fan-base, etc. -- We came up with the 5 most common criteria of a Diva. These will be the objective principles to be used in our pursuit to list the region’s ultimate divas:
1. Fame. Her name is known to at least 3 generations; a confirmation of her staying power.
2. Signature Song. A song that only her name is attributed to. No other singer dares to sing it without acknowledging her name.
3. Cultural contribution. Her music represents her nation’s identity and heritage; made an impact to the local music industry.
4. A goddess is never always available. She has no fan-base but commands respect from the public and fellow performers. Appearances are rare.
5. Real tragic drama. Her personal life is one big spectacle itself. The raw emotions of her real life resonate through her songs.
We have already prepared a short list, but we welcome contributions to list the Divas of Southeast Asia.