Music

The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina  

Ranker Music
950 votes 109 voters 3.4k views 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
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
DaBaby is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
Charlie Daniels is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Luke Combs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Luke Albert Combs (born March 2, 1990) is an American country music singer and songwriter. Combs signed a deal with Sony Music Nashville, and the debut single from This One's For You, ...more
9
Thelonious Monk is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Stride, Cool jazz, Hard bop
Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round ...more
10
Ben Folds Five is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Andy Griffith is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Christian music
Andy Samuel Griffith was an American actor, television producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He was a Tony Award nominee for two roles, and gained prominence in the ...more
12
Nick Cannon is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Randy Travis is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Ryan Adams is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Tori Amos is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Carolina Chocolate Drops is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Old-time music, Bluegrass, Country
The Carolina Chocolate Drops is an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina. Their 2010 album, Genuine Negro Jig, won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 53rd Annual ...more
19
K-Ci & JoJo is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Jodeci is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Sylvan Esso is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Sylvan Esso Electropop
23
Petey Pablo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music, Southern hip hop, Crunk
Moses Mortimer Barrett III, known by the stage name Petey Pablo, is an American rapper from Greenville, North Carolina.
24
Jermaine Dupri is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music, Pop music, Pop rap
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin, known as Jermaine Dupri or JD, is an American record producer, songwriter and rapper.
25
Rapsody is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rapsody, is an American rapper from Snow Hill, North Carolina. She is signed to producer 9th Wonder's Jamla Records imprint under his It's A Wonderful World Music Group. She has worked with ...more