Music

The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina  

Ranker Music
1.5k votes 255 voters 13.1k 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
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole ...more
2
DaBaby is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Hip hop
Jonathan Lyndale Kirk (born December 21, 1991), better known as DaBaby (formerly known as Baby Jesus), is an American rapper and songwriter from Charlotte, North Carolina. He is best known for ...more
3
Luke Combs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Country
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
4
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Andy Griffith is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Christian music
Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, comedian, television producer, Southern Gospel singer, and writer whose career spanned seven decades in music and ...more
7
Ben E. King is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
Benjamin Earl King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson, September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015) was an American soul and R&B singer and record producer. He is best known as the singer and co-composer of ...more
8
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop
John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer ...more
9
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz
Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone (), was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music ...more
10
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Country pop, Pop music, Country
Kellie Dawn Pickler (born June 28, 1986) is an American country music artist, actress and television personality. Pickler gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol and ...more
11
Ben Folds Five is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Charlie Daniels is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Outlaw country, Rock music, Country rock
Charles Edward Daniels (born October 28, 1936) is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his contributions to Southern rock, country, and bluegrass music. He is best ...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 (born May 4, 1959), known professionally as Randy Travis, is an American country music and Christian country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor. Active since ...more
14
Betty Davis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rock music, Soul music, Glam rock
Betty Davis (née Mabry; born July 26, 1945) is an American funk and soul singer. She is a performer who was known for her memorable and noteworthy live performances.
15
Etta Baker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Piedmont blues, Country blues
Etta Baker (March 31, 1913 – September 23, 2006) was an American Piedmont blues guitarist and singer from North Carolina.
16
Thelonious Monk is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Stride, Cool jazz, Hard bop
Thelonious Sphere Monk (, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard ...more
17
Carolina Chocolate Drops is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Tori Amos is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Piano rock, Dark cabaret, Electronic dance music
Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos, August 22, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Having already begun ...more
19
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B
Fantasia Monique Barrino-Taylor (born June 30, 1984), known professionally by her mononym Fantasia, is an American R&B, singer, songwriter, actress and author. She rose to fame as the winner ...more
20
Ryan Adams is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rock music, Heavy metal, Alternative rock
David Ryan Adams (born November 5, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and poet. He is best known for his solo career, during which he has released 16 ...more
21
Chatham County Line is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Bluegrass
Chatham County Line is an American bluegrass musical group. Formed in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1999 from members of the band Stillhouse, the band has released seven albums including six on ...more
22
Flat Duo Jets is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Punk blues, Rockabilly, Garage rock
Flat Duo Jets is 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
23
K-Ci & JoJo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
Cedric Renard Hailey (born September 2, 1969), known professionally as K-Ci (formerly Little Cedric as a member of Little Cedric and the Hailey Singers), is an American singer, songwriter and ...more
24
Sylvan Esso is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Sylvan Esso Electropop
25
Rainbow Kitten Surprise is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina
Rainbow Kitten Surprise Rock, Pop