Bands/Musicians The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina  

Ranker Music
209 votes 27 voters 99 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in North Carolina or bands formed in North Carolina.

Here are the best artists and bands from North Carolina. North Carolina has a long tradition of old-timey music. The state produced many country musicians at the turn of the 20th century, but that does not mean North Carolina has slowed down in the slightest in recent years. Many chart-topping artists were either born or raised in the Old North State. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to determine who the best musical artists from North Carolina are, but this list will certainly try. 

One noteworthy fact about the state is that it has produced many successful contestants on American Idol. Fantasia, Clay Aiken, and Kellie Pickler all came from the state and made their way to superstardom on the hit TV show. A lot of famous rock bands, such as Ben Folds Five, Sylvan Esso, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise, also got their early starts in North Carolina. Talent is just bursting at the seams in the state, and these examples barely scratch the surface. Other popular North Carolina artists include J. Cole, Fred Durst, Luke Combs, and R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo.

This list of North Carolina musical artists has singers, rappers, and bands from all genres. No matter what you like to listen to, you will find someone on this list you are a fan of. Vote for the acts you like best. 

list ordered by
1
7 1
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist. She worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, ...more
2
8 2
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues
Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole first received ...more
3
6 1
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Country pop, Pop music, Country
Kellie Dawn Pickler is an American country music artist and television personality. She gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, and finished in sixth place. In 2006, ...more
4
4 0
K-Ci & JoJo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
K-Ci & JoJo is an American R&B duo, consisting of brothers Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey and Joel "JoJo" Hailey, Natives of Monroe, North Carolina, they are also the lead ...more
5
4 0
Sylvan Esso is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Sylvan Esso Electropop
6
5 2
Nick Cannon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music, Rhythm and blues
Nicholas Scott "Nick" Cannon is an American actor, rapper, entrepreneur, record producer, and radio and television personality. On television, Cannon began as a teenager on All That ...more
7
5 2
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B
Fantasia Monique Barrino, commonly known simply by the mononym Fantasia, is an American R&B singer and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television ...more
8
4 1
Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge
Daughtry is an American rock band formed and fronted by namesake Chris Daughtry, who was a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol. Their self-titled debut album was released in November ...more
9
4 1
Jodeci is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, New jack swing
Jodeci, also known as, The Bad Boys of R&B, is an American R&B quartet. Possessed with a singing style that integrates R&B, soul, gospel, and new jack swing genres; they enjoyed ...more
10
4 1
Rainbow Kitten Surprise is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rainbow Kitten Surprise Rock, Pop
11
4 1
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop
John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the ...more
12
3 0
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
Benjamin Earl King, known as Ben E. King, is an American soul and R&B singer. He is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me"—a US Top 10 hit in both 1961 ...more
13
3 0
Ryan Adams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rock music, Heavy metal, Alternative rock
David Ryan Adams is an American singer-songwriter, musician and producer. He is best known for his prolific solo career, and as a former member of alternative country band Whiskeytown, with whom ...more
14
3 0
Ben Folds Five is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Piano rock, Power pop
Ben Folds Five are an alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group's members are Ben Folds, Robert Sledge, and Darren Jessee. The group achieved mainstream ...more
15
4 2
Charlie Daniels is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Outlaw country, Rock music, Country rock
Charles Edward "Charlie" Daniels is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for his contributions to country, bluegrass, and Southern rock music. He is perhaps best known for ...more
16
3 1
Randy Travis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Gospel music, Country, Neotraditional country
Randy Bruce Traywick, known professionally as Randy Travis, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, and actor. Since 1985, he has recorded 20 studio albums and charted more than ...more
17
3 1
Superchunk is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop punk, Emo, Alternative rock
Superchunk is a musical group.
18
3 1
Clay Aiken is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock
Clayton Holmes "Clay" Aiken is an American singer, songwriter, television personality, actor, author, politician and activist. Aiken was the 2014 Democratic nominee in the North ...more
19
3 1
Tori Amos is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Piano rock, Dark cabaret, Electronic dance music
Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer. She is a classically-trained musician and has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. She has been nominated eight times for a Grammy ...more
20
2 0
FireHouse is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Pop music
FireHouse is an American glam metal band formed in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1989. The band reached stardom during the early 1990s with hit singles like "Don't Treat Me Bad" ...more
21
2 0
Flat Duo Jets is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Punk blues, Rockabilly, Garage rock
Flat Duo Jets was an American psychobilly band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Athens, Georgia. They were a major influence on several bands of the 1990s and 2000s, including The White ...more
22
2 0
Frankenstein Drag Queens from ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Horror punk, Scum punk, Rock music
Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 are a horror punk band from North Carolina. The band was formed in 1996 by Wednesday 13, who recruited friends and former Maniac Spider Trash bandmates ...more
23
2 0
Fred Durst is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music, Nu metal, Rock music
William Frederick "Fred" Durst is an American musician and film director from Jacksonville, Florida. He spent his formative years playing in a number of local bands in Jacksonville, ...more
24
2 0
DaBaby is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Jonathan Kirk, known by his stage name DaBaby, is an American rapper from Charlotte, North Carolina. In early 2019 he signed with Interscope Records and released his debut studio album Baby on ...more
25
2 0
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass
The Avett Brothers is an American band from Concord, North Carolina. The band is made up of two brothers, Scott Avett and Seth Avett, as well as Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon. Mike Marsh, Tania ...more