Music

The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina  

Ranker Music
585 votes 73 voters 2.3k 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
DaBaby is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Charlie Daniels is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
K-Ci & JoJo is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
Luke Combs is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Jodeci is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Thelonious Monk is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Ben Folds Five is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Nick Cannon is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
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
Rapsody is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Ryan Adams is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz
Maceo Parker is an American funk and soul jazz saxophonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s, as well as Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. Parker was a prominent soloist ...more
20
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
Fred Durst is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
9th Wonder is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop music
Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder is a hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper from Durham, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer ...more
23
Building 429 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Rock music, Contemporary Christian music
Building 429 is a Christian rock band signed to Essential Records. They were the Gospel Music Association 2005 New Artist of the Year. Their name is derived from a Biblical passage known as ...more
24
Fighting Instinct is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rock music, Christian rock
Fighting Instinct was a Christian rock band formed in 2004 out of Winston-Salem/Greensboro, North Carolina. The members were TJ Harris, Jason Weekly, Chris Burrow, and Derek Drye. They released ...more
25
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 25 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