Music
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The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina

Updated November 19, 2020 4.7k votes 560 voters 26.9k views105 items

List RulesOnly 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. 

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  • 1
    John Coltrane
    120
    53

    John Coltrane

    Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop
    John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    J. Cole
    208
    123

    J. Cole

    Hip hop
    Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    The Avett Brothers
    132
    64

    The Avett Brothers

    Folk music, Folk rock
    The Avett Brothers is an American band from Concord, North Carolina. The band is made up of... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Nina Simone
    117
    53

    Nina Simone

    Folk music, Rhythm and blues
    Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Luke Combs
    145
    78

    Luke Combs

    Country
    Luke Albert Combs (born March 2, 1990) is an American country music singer and songwriter.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Eric Church
    57
    8

    Eric Church

    Outlaw country, Country rock
    Kenneth Eric Church (born May 3, 1977) is an American country music singer-songwriter. He has... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Andy Griffith
    103
    48

    Andy Griffith

    Christian music
    Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, comedian, television... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Ben E. King
    79
    30

    Ben E. King

    Pop music, Rhythm and blues
    Benjamin Earl King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson, September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015) was an... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Charlie Daniels
    98
    46

    Charlie Daniels

    Outlaw country, Rock music
    Charles Edward Daniels (born October 28, 1936) was an American singer, songwriter and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    DaBaby
    176
    122

    DaBaby

    Hip hop
    Jonathan Lyndale Kirk (born December 21, 1991), better known as DaBaby (formerly known as Baby... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Randy Travis
    75
    34

    Randy Travis

    Gospel music, Country
    Randy Bruce Traywick (born May 4, 1959), known professionally as Randy Travis, is an American... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Ben Folds Five
    74
    34

    Ben Folds Five

    Pop music, Piano rock
    Ben Folds Five are an alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Scotty McCreery
    50
    14
    Scott Cooke McCreery (born October 9, 1993) is an American country music singer. He won the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Thelonious Monk
    64
    31

    Thelonious Monk

    Stride, Cool jazz
    Thelonious Sphere Monk (, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Daughtry
    75
    44

    Daughtry

    Rock music, Pop rock
    Daughtry is an American rock band formed and fronted by namesake Chris Daughtry, who was a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Etta Baker
    38
    13

    Etta Baker

    Piedmont blues, Country blues
    Etta Baker (March 31, 1913 – September 23, 2006) was an American Piedmont blues guitarist and... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Tori Amos
    47
    23

    Tori Amos

    Piano rock, Dark cabaret
    Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos, August 22, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Jodeci
    44
    21

    Jodeci

    Pop music, Contemporary R&B
    Jodeci ( JOH-də-see) is an American R&B quartet with members DeVanté Swing, Mr. Dalvin, K-Ci,... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    K-Ci & JoJo
    47
    25

    K-Ci & JoJo

    Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues
    Cedric Renard Hailey (born September 2, 1969), known professionally as K-Ci (formerly Little... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Kellie Pickler
    62
    44

    Kellie Pickler

    Country pop, Pop music
    Kellie Dawn Pickler (born June 28, 1986) is an American country music artist, actress and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Sylvan Esso
    40
    20

    Sylvan Esso

    Electropop
  • 22
    Betty Davis
    30
    11

    Betty Davis

    Rock music, Soul music
    Betty Davis (née Mabry; born July 26, 1945) is an American funk and soul singer. She is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Carolina Chocolate Drops
    31
    12

    Carolina Chocolate Drops

    Old-time music, Bluegrass
    The Carolina Chocolate Drops is an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina. Their... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Rainbow Kitten Surprise
    36
    17

    Rainbow Kitten Surprise

    Rock, Pop
  • 25
    Archers of Loaf
    25
    5

    Archers of Loaf

    Noise rock, Noise pop
    Archers of Loaf is an American indie rock band originally formed in Chapel Hill, North... more on Wikipedia

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