Ranked: Famous Musicians From Your State
While you initially may think that all successful musicians were born and bred in Hollywood, that is definitely not the case. Many of your favorite musicians may actually have been born closer to you than you’d think — or even born in your state! Follow along as we reveal the most famous musicians from every state:
50. Alabama: Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie was born on June 20, 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was a founding member of the Commodores, a top R&B band of the 1970s, but eventually went solo where he found success with a self-titled debut album. Aside from his own successful ballads, he also co-wrote many songs with other thriving artists like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Kenny Rogers.
49. Alaska: Jewel
While singer Jewel may have been born in Utah, her family quickly relocated to Alaska after her birth. She was raised in Homer, Alaska, and often performed around town with her father who was also a musician. Her upbringing was definitely quite simple and lacked many of today’s modern luxuries like indoor plumbing, running water, and even heat!
48. Arizona: Michelle Branch
Michelle Branch was born on July 2, 1983, in Sedona, Arizona. Growing up in Arizona, Branch was limited in resources available for her to excel in a music career, but her parents encouraged her to hone her talent and signed her up for voice lessons and bought her a guitar. Her hit singles “Everywhere,” “All You Wanted,” and “Goodbye to You” made her a household name by 2001.
47. Arkansas: Johnny Cash
Country legend Johnny Cash was born in 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas. He grew up during the Great Depression and spent his early working years picking cotton, dreaming of a different life. During this time he began writing music and the lyrics often revolved around his struggles while living in Arkansas.
46. California: Billie Eilish
17-year old Billie Eilish was born and raised in Highland Park, Los Angeles, where she began singing at a young age. She gained a following with the release of her single “Ocean Eyes” in 2016, which propelled her into success and paved the way for her career. As someone so new to the music industry, Billie has already become a huge role model for the younger generation.
45. Colorado: The Fray
The Fray is an American rock band from Denver, Colorado. The founding members, Isaac Slade and Joe King, formed the band in 2002 and achieved success with the release of their debut album How to Save a Life in 2005. They had many successes to follow including singles Over My Head (Cable Car) and You Found Me.
44. Connecticut: John Mayer
Singer-songwriter John Mayer was born on October 16, 1977 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, but disenrolled and moved to Atlanta in 1997 with Clay Cook where they formed a short-ived band called Lo-Fi Masters. He eventually took his career solo which was definitely the right move for him since it launched him into stardom. Some of Mayer’s most iconic songs include “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” “Gravity” and “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room.”
43. Delaware: George Thorogood
American blues-rock musician George Thorogood was born in Wilmington, Delaware on February 24, 1950. His high-energy music was a staple in the rock music realm in the ’80s and continues to be a classic to this day. With his band The Destroyers, Thorogood has released over 20 albums, two of which have been certified Platinum and six have been certified Gold.
42. Florida: Ariana Grande
Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist Ariana Grande was born on June 26, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida. She rose to fame through an acting role on the Nickelodeon channel, but eventually switched gears into the music industry. She’s acclaimed for her wide vocal range, which many have compared to Mariah Carey in the past.
41. Georgia: Luke Bryan
Country music star Luke Bryan was born in Leesburg, Georgia on July 17, 1976. He began his music career writing songs for country singers Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, before eventually launching his own career and signing with Capitol Nashville. His first nine albums had fourteen number-one hits and in 2013 he received the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award.
40. Hawaii: Bruno Mars
Uptown Funk singer Bruno Mars was born in 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His musical talent was bred as part of his upbringing since many of his family members are also quite musically-inclined. Mars learned how to play multiple musical instruments as a young boy and loved to perform Motown hits in Waikiki with his family.
39. Idaho: Doug Martsch
Singer and musician Doug Martsch was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on September 12, 1969. He’s known for his distinct vocals and guitar style as a member of the band, Built to Spill. He’s been a part of various bands throughout the years and has referenced Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin as his musical influences.
38. Illinois: Chicago
The American rock band Chicago was formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. They called themselves the “Chicago Transit Authority“ in 1968 before deciding to shorten the name in 1969. Chicago is one of the longest-running and successful rock bands having sold more than 100 million records. They were also the first act to sell out Carnegie Hall for a week in 1971.
37. Indiana: Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was coined the King of Pop and is widely considered one of the most successful entertainers of all time. He was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958 and success came at a young age when he along with his brothers formed The Jackson 5. He later pursued a solo career with mega-hits like “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” and “Man in the Mirror.”
36. Iowa: Julia Michaels
Julia Carin Cavazos, known professionally as Julia Michaels, was born on November 13, 1993 in Davenport, Iowa. She began her music career as a pop songwriter and the brainpower behind many of the hits sung by Selena Gomez, Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, and Justin Bieber. Michaels released her debut solo single “Issues” with Republic Records in 2017.
35. Kansas: Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is an American actress and singer who was born on December 1, 1985, in Kansas City, Kansas. She had dreams of being an entertainer from a young age with an interest in musical theatre. She eventually moved to New York to study drama at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Monae got her big break in 2005 when she was invited by Big Boi to perform on several OutKast tracks, which accelerated her career in the music industry.
34. Kentucky: Chris Stapleton
Country star Chris Stapleton was born on April 15, 1978 in Lexington, Kentucky. Chris grew up in a small town and started a Travis Tritt tribute band in 1999, which helped him discover his passion for music. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to further pursue a music career in 2001 where he was a member of quite a few bands before ultimately making the decision to go solo. In 2015 he released his smash debut album, Traveller, which went platinum and practically swept the CMAs.
33. Louisiana: Britney Spears
Pop icon Britney Spears was born in 1981 in Mississippi but moved to Kentwood, Louisiana by the age of three. She was a born performer and became an official entertainer at age 11 when she was a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club. Her pop stardom followed shortly after during her teenage years where she released legendary hits like “…Baby One More Time” which dominated the world.
32. Maine: Anna Kendrick
Actor and singer Anna Kendrick was born on August 9, 1985 in Portland, Maine. She rose to prominence with her role in the Twilight saga and received further recognition in her role as Beca Mitchell in the Pitch Perfect film series. Long before her Hollywood debut, Kendrick was singing in quite a few musicals in her childhood and teen years and even sang on Broadway.
31. Maryland: Good Charlotte
The American rock band Good Charlotte was formed in 1996 in Waldorf, Maryland after brothers Joel and Benji Madden watched a Beastie Boys show. The group began full-time touring in 2000 as supporting acts for Lit, Goldfinger, Sum 41 and Mest. After releasing singles like “The Anthem” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” the band was catapulted into stardom and began playing on the biggest stages in the world.
30. Massachusetts: Aerosmith
American rock band Aerosmith was formed in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts. The group, which consists of members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford is considered one of the best-selling American rock bands of all time. They’ve sold more than 150 million records worldwide, including over 70 million records in the United States alone.
29. Michigan: Stevie Wonder
Musician and record-producer Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan on May 13, 1950. He was a child prodigy known as “Little Stevie Wonder” for his incredible vocal and instrumental talent. With legendary hits like “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition,” Wonder has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century.
28. Minnesota: Prince
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At a young age, the famous musician taught himself to play the drums, guitar, and piano, which eventually led to him becoming one of the most successful musicians of the ’80s and all time. While many big-time entertainers eventually settle their home base in New York or Los Angeles, Prince remained true to his Minnesota roots and remained there throughout his years of success.
27. Mississippi: Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley revolutionized the music industry with his risque dance moves and suave vocals. The legendary singer was born in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi where he was raised in a religious home and grew up singing regularly at church. He’s widely considered the “King of Rock” and also one of the pioneers of the genre.
26. Missouri: Sheryl Crow
Country icon Sheryl Crow was born in Kennett, Missouri on February 11, 1962. Throughout her successful music career, she has released ten studio albums, four compilations, two live albums, and has contributed to many film soundtracks. Some of her biggest hits include “All I Wanna Do,” “If It Makes You Happy” and “My Favorite Mistake.”
25. Montana: Jeff Ament
Jeff Ament, who serves as the bassist for the American rock band Pearl Jam, was born in Havre, Montana on March 10, 1963. He is one of the founding members of Pearl Jam and is widely considered one of the greatest rock bassists of all time.
24. Nebraska: Conor Oberst
Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst was born in 1980 in Omaha, Nebraska. He’s best known for his work on the indie band Bright Eyes, but has also played in several other bands throughout the years. Oberst began writing music since the age of 12 and recorded his own album on a cassette tape when he was just 13. By 2008, Rolling Stone named Oberst the Best Songwriter of the year.
23. Nevada: Panic! At The Disco
American pop-rock band Panic! at the Disco was formed in 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada by childhood friends Brendon Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson. Their discography includes many chart-topping singles like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” “This Is Gospel,” and “High Hopes.”
22. New Hampshire: Mandy Moore
Musician and actress Mandy Moore was born in 1984 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Moore was first discovered by a FedEx delivery man at the age of 13 when he overheard her singing and sent her demo tape to a friend at Sony. She quickly became a teen idol in the late 1990s with both her acting and music career but has recently resurfaced her career in a different way through her role in the hit television drama This Is Us.
21. New Jersey: Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen was born in 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey. His music career began to take off in his teenage years when he began playing in local bars across the Garden State. His anthems about working-class America skyrocketed his career and ultimately led to him becoming one of the best selling musicians of all time with 23 Grammy Awards under his belt.
20. New Mexico: Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 20, 1992. Her entertainment career began in 2002 when she appeared on the children’s television series Barney & Friends, but she skyrocketed to fame in her teen years when she appeared in the Disney film series Camp Rock. Alongside acting, Demi also pursued a career in music with the release of six studio albums, all of which debuted in the top five of the Billboard 200.
19. New York: Lady Gaga
Pop superstar Lady Gaga was born and bred in New York City, New York! The famous musician discovered her passion for performing as a teenager often singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. Known for her experimental music and style, Gaga had her breakthrough in her career with the release of her debut album, The Fame. She’s now become one of the world’s best-selling musical artists and even dabbled in acting with her role in A Star Is Born where she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
18. North Carolina: Chris Daughtry
Chris Daughtry was born in Roanoke Rapid, North Carolina on December 26, 1979. By age 16, he started taking his music seriously by taking guitar lessons, performing with local rock bands and appearing in stage productions. He competed in American Idol where he grew a cult-following and skyrocketed his music career. He’s now the third most successful American Idol contestant when it comes to record sales, behind Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
17. North Dakota: Wiz Khalifa
Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known by fans as Wiz Khalifa, was born in 1987 in Minot, North Dakota. Wiz had an early interest in music and began writing his own rap lyrics at the age of nine. His career progressed quickly and by the time he was a teenager, he was already recording his own tracks.
16. Ohio: Rascal Flatts
The Rascal Flatts, composed of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, formed together in 1999 in Columbus, Ohio. They’ve become icons in the country music world with some of their biggest hits being “Life Is A Highway,” “Mayberry,” and “Fast Cars and Freedom.”
15. Oklahoma: Garth Brooks
Country singer Garth Brooks was born in 1962 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He perfected his talent by singing in bars while attending Oklahoma State University, which eventually manifested itself into a full-blown country music career. Brooks has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and is popular for his ability to cross genres between country and pop.
14. Oregon: Modest Mouse
While the indie rock band Modest Mouse was founded in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington, they are currently based in Portland, Oregon and call it home. Their fourth album Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004) and its singles “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty” was the turning point in their career that brought them out of the indie scene and into mainstream success.
13. Pennsylvania: Taylor Swift
Music icon Taylor Swift was born in 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania and began showcasing her love of music with the world at a young age. She performed in local contests and state fairs and even sang the National Anthem at a Philadelphia basketball game when she was 11 years old. She’s found epic success throughout the years and her fans remained loyal through her transition from country music into the world of pop. Swift has already sold over 40 million albums and has ten Grammy Awards.
12. Rhode Island: Billy Gilman
Billy Gilman was born on May 24, 1988, in Westerly, Rhode Island. Many will recognize Gilman as the runner-up on The Voice in 2016. Gilman has been singing ever since he was young and even had a surprise hit with the country-pop song ‘One Voice’ at age eleven. While he may have moved to Nashville to pursue his music career later in life, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a proud Rhode Island native.
11. South Carolina: Darius Rucker
Country sensation Darius Rucker was born in Charleston, South Carolina on May 13, 1966. He first gained his fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish. When he took his career solo as a country musician, his first single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” made him the first black artist to reach number one on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983.
10. South Dakota: Shawn Colvin
When it comes to South Dakota, the first musician that comes to mind is Shawn Colvin. She was born on January 10, 1956, in Vermillion, South Dakota and has been a solo recording artist for nearly 30 years. She’s best-known for her 1997 Grammy-winning song, “Sunny Came Home.”
9. Tennessee: Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton was born in 1946 in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. Dolly grew up in a poor family as one of 12 children, and she got her start in the music industry by humble beginnings through singing at her local church. Her musical talent was obvious and her career has been considered one of the most successful in the country industry with twenty-five Number 1 hits and 11 Grammy Awards.
8. Texas: Beyonce
Beyonce was born in 1981 in Houston, Texas and has created a cult-following throughout her years as a musician. She began her singing career by competing and winning many local talent shows, which eventually paved the way for her full-blown music career. Beyonce and her cousin Kelly Rowland, along with LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett (and later Michelle Williams), joined together to form Destiny’s Child in the late 1990s, which had quite a few legendary songs like “Say My Name.” She eventually took her career solo, which was obviously the right choice for her given the epic success her career has been.
7. Utah: Donny Osmond
When it comes to Utah, the Osmond family is certainly one of the most famous from the state! Donny Osmond was born on December 9, 1957, in Ogden, Utah. He first gained fame performing with four of his elder brothers as the Osmonds, earning several top ten hits and gold albums throughout the years. Nowadays, he’s performing with his sister Marie with an award-winning show on the Vegas strip.
6. Vermont: JoJo
Joanna Levent, best known professionally as JoJo, was born on December 20, 1990, in Brattleboro, Vermont. While competing on the television show America’s Most Talented Kids in 2003, she was noticed by record producer Vincent Herbert which was the beginning of her career. When she was just 13-years old, JoJo released her eponymous titled debut album where her single “Leave (Get Out)” reached number one on the US Billboard Pop songs chart. This made her the youngest solo artist to top the chart.
5. Virginia: Patsy Cline
Legendary country singer Patsy Cline was born in 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. The Crazy singer is best known as a pioneer in the female music industry as she helped breakdown the gender divide in country music. Cline started honing her musical talent at a young age and taught herself how to play the piano at just eight years old.
4. Washington: Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana, was born in 1976 in Aberdeen, Washington. The mega-successful star had an early love for music and began self-teaching himself how to play piano by ear when he was a young boy. Cobain formed Nirvana in the late 1980s with his bandmates, and the power trio released their first studio album in 1993.
3. West Virginia: Brad Paisley
Country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia where his love for music began at a young age. He began learning to play the guitar at age eight and formed a band at age twelve where they played around West Virginia in church and various civic meetings. The star was one of the lucky few who found immediate widespread success with his debut solo album, Who Needs Pictures.
2. Wisconsin: Bon Iver
Indie folk band Bon Iver was founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The majority of their debut album For Emma, Forever Ago was recorded while Vernon spent three months isolated in a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. Their second eponymous album won the 2012 Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album.
1. Wyoming: Spencer Bohren
Musician Spencer Bohren was born in Casper, Wyoming on April 5, 1950. He had a variety of musical talents including the ability to play guitar, lap steel guitar, banjo, and percussion. He started performing in public venues at age 14 and had a passion for the blues, country, gospel and folk music.