244 voters

The Best Musical Artists From South Carolina

Updated May 10, 2019 2.5k votes 244 voters 12.6k views101 items

List RulesOnly artists born or raised in South Carolina or bands formed in South Carolina.

Here are the best artists and bands from South Carolina. Particularly known for its influences in the bluegrass, country, R&B, rock, and jazz genres, the Palmetto State has produced a number of memorable acts over the decades. It is also the birthplace of beach music, so if you have ever boogied while hanging out with your friends on the shoreline, then you can thank South Carolina. The best musical artists from South Carolina come from all over the state, but they have all entertained audiences with their talent. 

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was born in Barnwell but later moved to Georgia when he was still a child. South Carolina is also the state where Hootie & the Blowfish. Singer Darius Rucker and lead guitarist Mark Bryan met when they attended the University of South Carolina. Many bands have similar stories, and some other big bands that got their start in the state include Band of Horses, Crossfade, and The Marshall Tucker Band. Other popular South Carolina artists include Eartha Kitt, Jeezy, Carolina Liar, and Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty.

Have you ever thought about who the most famous musical artists from South Carolina are? You will definitely see some big names on this list that come from a range of decades. After you read through them, vote for the singers and bands you like best. 

  • 1

    James Brown

    Hip hop music, Doo-wop

    AlbumsLive at the Apollo, Star Time, Funky Christmas, Santa's Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You

    James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of...  more

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  • 2

    The Marshall Tucker Band

    Rock music, Country rock

    AlbumsCarolina Christmas, Where We All Belong, Beyond the Horizon, The Marshall Tucker Band, Searchin' for a Rainbow

    The Marshall Tucker Band is an American rock band from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Noted for incorporating blues, country and jazz into its eclectic sound, The Marshall Tucker Band helped establish...  more

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  • 3

    Hootie & the Blowfish

    Jangle pop, Heartland rock

    AlbumsCracked Rear View, Hootie & the Blowfish, Fairweather Johnson, Musical Chairs, Kootchypop

    "Hootie" is a nickname for the following people: Hootie Ingram (born 1933), former Clemson University head football coach William "Hootie" Johnson (born 1931), former chairman of Augusta National...  more

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  • 4

    Darius Rucker

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    AlbumsCharleston, SC 1966, Back to Then, True Believers, Learn to Live

    Darius Carlos Rucker (born May 13, 1966) is an American singer and songwriter. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in...  more

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  • 5

    Chubby Checker

    Rock music, Rock and roll

    AlbumsThe Best of Chubby Checker: Cameo Parkway 1959-1963, You Just Don't Know (What You Did to Me) / Two Hearts, Rosie / Lazy Elsie Molly, 20 Twistin' Hits, Limbo Rock / Let's Limbo Some More

    Chubby Checker (born Ernest Evans; October 3, 1941) is an American rock 'n roll singer and dancer. He is widely known for popularising many dance styles including the twist dance style, with his 1960...  more

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  • 6

    Dizzy Gillespie

    Afro-Cuban jazz, Jazz

    AlbumsNight in Tunisia, The Trumpet Summit Meets the Oscar Peterson Big Four, Jazz at Massey Hall, Sonny Side Up, Giants of Jazz

    John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (; October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the...  more
  • 7


    Christian alternative rock, Rock music

    AlbumsThe Heat, Daylight, Rivers in the Wasteland, The Outsiders, Live Horses EP

    Needtobreathe is an American Christian rock band from Seneca, South Carolina. The band is composed of Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart, Seth Bolt and Josh Lovelace. They have released five studio albums:...  more

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  • 8

    Edwin McCain

    Rock music, Alternative rock

    AlbumsMisguided Roses, Messenger, The Austin Sessions, Honor Among Thieves, Far From Over

    Edwin McCain (born January 20, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. His songs "I'll Be" (1998) and "I Could Not Ask for More" (1999) were radio top-40 hits in the U.S., and five of...  more
  • 9

    Eartha Kitt

    Torch song, Cabaret

    AlbumsThat Bad Eartha, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Purr-fect: Greatest Hits, I Love Men, Purrfect: The Ultimate Collection

    Eartha Kitt (born Eartha Mae Keith, January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an American singer, actress, dancer, comedian, activist, author, and songwriter known for her highly distinctive singing...  more

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  • 10

    Toro y Moi

    Indie pop, Synthpop

    AlbumsAnything in Return, June 2009, Underneath the Pine, Causers of This, FACT Mix 219: Toro y Moi

    Chaz Bear (born Chazwick Bradley Bundick; November 7, 1986), known professionally as Toro y Moi, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and graphic designer. His music has taken on many...  more
  • 11

    Band of Horses

    Rock music, Alternative country

    AlbumsEverything All the Time, Cease to Begin, Mirage Rock, Tour EP, Infinite Arms

    Band of Horses is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released five studio albums, the most successful of which is 2010's Grammy-nominated Infinite Arms. The...  more

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  • 12


    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

    AlbumsLet's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, The Inspiration, The Recession, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, Hood Politics

    Jay Wayne Jenkins (born September 28, 1977), known professionally as Jeezy (formerly Young Jeezy), is an American rapper and actor. Signed to Def Jam Recordings since 2004, his major label debut...  more

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  • 13

    AlbumsCall of the Wild, Read Between the Lines, What This Country Needs, You've Got to Stand for Something, Tool Box

    Aaron Dupree Tippin (born July 3, 1958) is an American country music artist and record producer. Initially a songwriter for Acuff-Rose Music, he gained a recording contract with RCA Nashville in...  more

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  • 14

    Rob Thomas

    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul

    Albums...Something to Be, A New York Christmas, Cradlesong, ...Something More, This Is How a Heart Breaks

    Robert Kelly Thomas (born February 14, 1972) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the lead singer of alternative rock band Matchbox Twenty....  more

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  • 15

    Lee Brice


    AlbumsHard 2 Love, Love Like Crazy, A Woman Like You, I Don't Dance (Single), Hard to Love

    Lee Brice (born Kenneth Mobley Brice, Jr., June 10, 1979) is an American country music singer and songwriter, signed to Curb Records. Brice has released four albums for the label: Love Like Crazy,...  more

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  • 16


    Rock music, Heavy metal

    AlbumsCrossfade, Falling Away, We All Bleed, Cold, Colors

    Crossfade is an American rock band originating from Columbia, South Carolina. Their current members are Ed Sloan on lead vocals and guitar, Les Hall on lead guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals, and...  more
  • 17

    Iron & Wine

    Folk music, Folk rock

    AlbumsThe Shepherd's Dog, The Creek Drank the Cradle, Our Endless Numbered Days, Kiss Each Other Clean, In the Reins

    Iron () is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal, that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is by mass the...  more

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  • 18

    Peabo Bryson

    Urban contemporary, Adult contemporary music

    AlbumsBorn To Love, A Whole New World, Through the Fire, Straight From the Heart, Anthology

    Peabo Bryson (born Robert Peapo Bryson; April 13, 1951, given name changed from "Peapo " to Peabo c. 1965) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, born in Greenville, South Carolina. He is...  more
  • 19

    Jump, Little Children

    Indie rock, Baroque pop

    AlbumsVertigo, Magazine, The Licorice Tea Demos, Between the Dim and the Dark, Buzz

    Jump, Little Children was a band formed in 1991 in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Known for their unique sound, energetic live performances, and willingness to interact with fans, the...  more
  • 20

    David Ball


    AlbumsThinkin' Problem, Play, Amigo, Starlite Lounge, David Ball

    David Ball (born July 9, 1953) is an American country music singer-songwriter and musician. Active since 1988, he has recorded a total of seven studio albums on several labels, including his platinum...  more
  • 21

    Carolina Liar

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsComing to Terms, Wild Blessed Freedom, Drown

    Carolina Liar is an American alternative rock band. Lead vocalist Chad Wolf is originally from Moncks Corner, South Carolina, but other members originate from Stockholm, Sweden....  more
  • 22

    Shovels & Rope

    Americana, folk
    Shovels & Rope are an American folk duo from Charleston, South Carolina composed of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Combining threads from their individual solo careers, Shovels &...  more

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  • 23

    Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones

    The Sparkletones were an American rock and roll/rockabilly group from Spartanburg, South Carolina....  more
  • 24
    Arthur Smith (April 1, 1921 – April 3, 2014) was an American musician, songwriter, and producer of records, as well as a radio and TV host. Smith produced radio and TV shows; The Arthur Smith Show...  more
  • 25

    The Movement

    Hip hop music, Rock music

    AlbumsSet Sail, Alive at Home, On Your Feet, One More Night

    The Movement is an American band originally formed in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2004. The two founding members, Josh Swain and Jordan Miller, then relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where...  more
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List Rules: Only artists born or raised in South Carolina or bands formed in South Carolina.