Serj Tankian (Western Armenian: Սերժ Թանկեան, pronounced [ˈsɛɾʒ tʰɑnˈkjɑn]; born August 21, 1967) is an Armenian-American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet and political activist. He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, and occasional live rhythm guitarist of the alternative metal band System of a Down, formed in 1994.
During his musical career, Tankian has released five albums with System of a Down, one with Arto Tunçboyacıyan (Serart), as well as the five solo albums Elect the Dead, Imperfect Harmonies, Harakiri, Orca, and Jazz-Iz-Christ. A live orchestral version of Elect the Dead incorporating the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra named Elect the Dead Symphony was released. In 2002, Tankian and Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello co-founded a non-profit political activist organization, Axis of Justice. Tankian also founded the music label Serjical Strike Records, and is represented by Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group under System of a Down. On August 12, 2011, Tankian was awarded the Armenian Prime Minister's Medal for his contributions to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the advancement of music.
He is widely considered and ranked as one of the greatest vocalists in metal history, with praise given to his unusual delivery and his wide vocal range. Serj Tankian is currently listed as one of the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, ranked at #26. A study conducted by VVN Music found Tankian to possess a moderately-high and diverse vocal range, not only in metal, but in all of popular music, with a range of 4.2 octaves. This range is comparable to Rob Halford, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Anthony Kiedis, Hansi Kürsch, and Steven Tyler (range of 4 octaves and 1 note).