Narayan's birthplace is in Saptari in his maternal home while he paternally belongs to Bhardaha, Saptari District, Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal. He studied at Jageshwar High School, Kunauli, Supaul, Bihar, India, where he finished his SSC (Class XII) and later obtained his intermediate degree from Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu. His father Harekrishna Jha was a farmer and his mother Bhuvneshwari Devi was a folk singer. His mother encouraged him to pursue music as a career.
In 2006, Ranjana Narayan, claimined to be the Narayan's first wife but Narayan consistently denied. Later, Narayan accepted her as his wife and promised to provide for her maintenance. Narayan has been married twice, first to Ranjana Narayan Jha and then to Deepa Narayan Jha. Narayan began his relationship with Deepa Narayan while he was still married to Ranjana Narayan. Narayan and Deepa got married in 1985. With Deepa Narayan, he has one son Aditya Narayan who is also a playback singer.
Narayan work has been praised by his contemporaries Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy and music director Ankit Tiwari. Mid Day included him in the list of notable 90's playback singers. Narayan is considered one of the most prominent singers of his generation.
He was one of the most prominent ustad of Bollywood singers throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been the on-screen singing voice for various Bollywood stars. He has also sung with Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna and Dev Anand. Most of his duets are with Alka Yagnik. He began his career in 1970 as a Maithili folk singer (staff artist) for Radio Nepal, singing mostly popular folk songs in Maithili and Nepali. Gradually, he started singing Nepali Modern songs. After eight years, Narayan moved to Bombay on a musical scholarship for Nepalese from the Indian Embassy in Nepal to study classical music at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.
Narayan started his Bollywood career in 1980 when he was noted by music director Rajesh Roshan and asked Narayan to playback sing for the Hindi film Unees-Bees. Narayan was given the opportunity to sing with the veteran singer Mohammed Rafi. Soon after, Narayan sang for a number of other movies, including Bade Dil Wala in 1983, where he sang a duet with senior singer Lata Mangeshkar composed by senior music director R D Burman. In the same year, Narayan sang with Kishore Kumar in the film Kehdo Pyar Hai another singer was Suresh Wadkar and music composed by Bappi Lahiri. A significant milestone in his career occurred in 1988 when Anand-Milind gave him the opportunity to sing all the songs for the successful Bollywood movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak with Alka Yagnik which earned him a Filmfare Award. In interview with The Times of India, Narayan said, “The song I’ve sung, Manzilein, is the best song of my career after Pehla Nasha which gave me superstardom!”. Narayan were not seen after 2000, made a comeback in the 2008, with the song ‘Deewangi deewangi' from the film Om Shanti Om.
In 2002, Narayan sang 'Bairi Piya' with new comer Shreya Ghoshal from the film Devdas which Rediff mentioned, "Narayan successfully captures the eternal romanticism of Devdas". In 2014, Narayan sang a song titled "Naa Hum Jo Kah De" along with Shreya Ghoshal, for the album Women's Day Special: Spreading Melodies Everywhere. The song was composed by Ram Shankar and penned by A. K. Mishra.
He has a friend, named Jiyand Nawab Deedag in Pakistan suggested him to bring some changes in his work from old to modern in order to get to be selected in film as a playback singer due to become a modern singer but somehow it doesn't worked and considering old films in 1973, Narayan sang a song for a Nepali film called "Sindoor." The song was a comedy song for the famous Nepali comedians GopalRaj Mainali (Chankhe) and Basundhara Bhushal (Nakkali). Narayan sang this song with Sushma Shrestha – now known as Poornima in Hindi films. In addition to singing in Nepali movies, Narayan has also acted in two Nepali films – Kusume Rumal and Pirati in 1985. In 2004, he released his first non-movie Nepalese album, Upahaar, in which he sang duets with his wife Deepa Jha. Narayan has may solo albums as well, such as Bhajan Sangam, Bhajan Vatika, I Love You, Dil Deewana, Yeh Dosti, Love is Life, Jaanam,Jhumka de Jhumka, Sona No Ghadulo, Dhuli Ganga, and Ma Tarini.
Narayan has performed in many stage shows in India and abroad and is the recipient of a large number of awards. These awards include Screen Videocon Award, MTV Best Video Award and Pride of India Gold Award. In 2010, Udit Narayan with Madhushree sang for the English independent film When Harry Tries to Marry.
Narayan had also sung the title song for TV show Yeh Duniyan Gazab Ki, with singer Kumar Sanu.
Narayan was in the panel of judges of Indian Idol 3 with music composer Anu Malik and female playback singer Alisha Chinai on Sony TV.
Narayan was in the panel of judges on Sony TV for Waar Parriwar, a reality show based on the bringing together of a singing gharana (family of singers). He shared judging duties with fellow playback singer Kumar Sanu and Jatin Pandit of the famous music duo Jatin-Lalit.
Udit Narayan has appeared in Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs as a guest.
Narayan acted in and sang all the songs in a 1985 Nepali movie called Kusume Rumal, which spent 25 weeks in the box office top ten list and became the highest-grossing Nepalese movie of all time until overtaken in 2001 by another Tulsi Ghimire film, Darpan Chaya.
In 2012, Narayan was the one of the jury mumber of film music jury in Global Indian Music Academy Awards. In 2015, Narayan was one of the jury member in Mirchi Music Awards and same year he was the judge of Jagran Film Festival.Padma Bhushan: Third Highest Civil Honour from Indian Government 2016National Bravery Award from Maharashtra at Raj Bhavan 2016Padma Shri: Fourth Highest Civil Honour from Indian Government 2009Lifetime Achievement Award from Suryadatta National Awards 2016Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu, Fourth Class of Prestigious Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu (Order of Gorkha Right Arm), one of the Highest Civil Honour in Nepal, by the late King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 2001Honoured at Swabhimani Mumbaikar Awards 2016Special Jury Salute Award from Radio Mirchi Award 2016.Receiving the Kishore Kumar Memorial Award for Music from Mr. S. Krishna Kumar.Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards 2015Dr Ambedkar awards in Mumbai 2015Awarded for his exceptional performance Bhojpuri industry 2015Received BIFA awards 20151st, Chitragupta Cineyatra Film Award 2015Received bhojpuri award 2014Maharashtra Ratna Awards from Government of Maharashtra 2011International Brandlaureate Personality Award from Malaysia 2011First Mohammed Rafi award 20102nd Medscape India National AwardsChitragupta Cineyatra Samman for Bhojpuri Cinema 2015Lifetime Achievement Award from Kalashri Award in 2010Sahara Awadh Samman Awardees for 2006Received ‘Samrat Vikramaditya Sangeet Alankaran Samman 2006
Narayan has won three National Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards.List of regional songs recorded by Udit NarayanBollywood selected discography of Udit Narayan