Music
337 voters

The Best Musical Artists From Washington

Updated April 11, 2020 5.2k votes 337 voters 7.4k views102 items

List RulesOnly artists born or raised in Washington or bands formed in Washington.

Here are the best artists and bands from Washington. Seattle, the largest city in the state, is known as the birthplace of grunge, which dominated the music industry in the 1990s. Numerous artists in a variety of genres, including hip-hop, folk, punk, and indie music have also come out of the Evergreen State. Although Seattle gets most of the love, plenty of noteworthy acts have also come out of Tacoma and Olympia. You will find the best musical artists from Washington on this list, ranging across decades. 

All your favorite grunge artists come from this state. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and more got their start performing in local clubs before dominating radio stations around the globe. However, the state has much more to offer than grunge. Before Sir Mix-a-Lot sang about how much he loved big butts, he was just your average kid in Auburn who loved hip-hop. These artists barely scratch the surface of all the great Washington musical artists. 

Do you like wearing flannel, or do you prefer listening to sick beats over the biggest boombox possible? This list has all of the most popular musical artists who have come out of Washington. Vote up the best Washington artists, and feel free to add any other famous musicians, rappers, singers, and bands with Pacific Northwest roots.

  • Bikini Kill26
    35
    21

    Bikini Kill

    Riot grrrl, Alternative rock

    AlbumsPussy Whipped, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, Bikini Kill, Reject All American, Revolution Girl Style Now!

    Bikini Kill is an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington, in October 1990. The... more on Wikipedia

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    #19 of 44 Punk Bands with the Best Lyrics#107 of 389 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

  • The Head and the Heart27
    37
    25

    The Head and the Heart

    Indie pop, Folk rock

    AlbumsThe Head and the Heart, Let's Be Still, iTunes Session

    The Head and The Heart is an indie folk band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in the summer of... more on Wikipedia

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    #27 of 74 The Best Bands Named After Body Parts#4 of 180 The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

  • Sir Mix-a-Lot28
    46
    35

    Sir Mix-a-Lot

    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop

    AlbumsSwass, Baby Got Back, Mack Daddy, Chief Boot Knocka, Daddy's Home

    Anthony L. Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an... more on Wikipedia

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    #148 of 235 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time#70 of 136 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s

  • The Wailers29
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    36

    The Wailers

    Pop music, Ska

    AlbumsCatch a Fire, Burnin', Reggae Greats, African Herbsman, Rasta Revolution

  • Brandi Carlile30
    43
    33

    Brandi Carlile

    Pop music, Folk music

    AlbumsThe Story, Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost, Bear Creek, We're Growing Up

    Brandi M. Carlile (born June 1, 1981) is an American three-time Grammy Award-winning... more on Wikipedia
  • The Sonics31
    23
    14

    The Sonics

    Rock music, Garage rock

    AlbumsHere Are The Sonics, Boom, Psycho-Sonic, Psycho-Sonic: The Best of 1964-65, Here Are the Ultimate Sonics

    The Sonics are an American garage rock band from Tacoma, Washington, originating in the early... more on Wikipedia

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    #208 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands#129 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

  • Sleater-Kinney32
    29
    20

    Sleater-Kinney

    Riot grrrl, Rock music

    AlbumsThe Woods, One Beat, Call the Doctor, Dig Me Out, All Hands on the Bad One

    Sleater-Kinney is an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. The... more on Wikipedia
  • The Postal Service33
    34
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    The Postal Service

    Indie pop, Synthpop

    AlbumsGive Up, Against All Odds, We Will Become Silhouettes, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Such Great Heights

    The Postal Service was an American indie band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2001.... more on Wikipedia

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    #68 of 99 The Best Musical Duos#27 of 80 The Best Music Side Projects

  • Tad34
    23
    16

    Tad

    Noise rock, Rock music

    AlbumsInhaler, 8-Way Santa, Infrared Riding Hood, God's Balls, Salem

    Tad (often styled as TAD) was an American grunge band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1988... more on Wikipedia
  • Judy Collins35
    28
    24

    Judy Collins

    Pop music, Folk music

    AlbumsSo Early in the Spring, the First 15 Years, Judith, Times of Our Lives, Hard Times for Lovers

    Judith Marjorie Collins (born May 1, 1939) is an American singer and songwriter known for her... more on Wikipedia

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    The Best Judy Collins Albums of All Time#125 of 739 The Best Singers of All Time

  • Sunny Day Real Estate36
    21
    14

    Sunny Day Real Estate

    Rock music, Emo

    AlbumsDiary, The Rising Tide, Sunny Day Real Estate, How It Feels to Be Something On, Live

    Sunny Day Real Estate was an American alternative rock band from Seattle, Washington. They... more on Wikipedia

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    #357 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s#264 of 559 The Most Hipster Bands

  • Kenny G37
    35
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    Kenny G

    Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz

    AlbumsMiracles: The Holiday Album, Faith: A Holiday Album, Breathless, Classics in the Key of G, Duotones

    Kenneth Bruce Gorelick (born June 5, 1956), better known by his stage name Kenny G, is an... more on Wikipedia

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    The Best Kenny G Albums of All Time#1156 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • MxPx38
    25
    22

    MxPx

    Pop punk, Christian punk

    AlbumsAt the Show, Life in General, Punk Rawk Christmas, Ten Years and Running, The Ever Passing Moment

    MxPx is an American punk rock band from Bremerton, Washington founded in 1992 as Magnified... more on Wikipedia

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    #20 of 121 The Best '90s Christian Bands & Artists#31 of 55 The Best '90s Christian Rock Bands & Artists

  • Neko Case39
    21
    16

    Neko Case

    Americana, Folk rock

    AlbumsMiddle Cyclone, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Blacklisted, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight

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    #141 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years#1112 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

  • The Posies40
    23
    20

    The Posies

    Grunge, Power pop

    AlbumsFrosting on the Beater, Dear 23, Success, Amazing Disgrace, Failure

    The Posies are an American power pop group. The band was formed in 1987 in Bellingham,... more on Wikipedia
  • Mount Eerie41
    19
    18

    Mount Eerie

    Indie pop, Black metal

    AlbumsNo Flashlight: Songs of the Fulfilled Night, Black Wooden Ceiling Opening, Clear Moon, Wind's Poem, Dawn

    Mount Eerie is the musical project of Anacortes, Washington-based songwriter and producer Phil... more on Wikipedia
  • Murder City Devils42
    17
    16

    Murder City Devils

    Horror punk, Rock music

    AlbumsR.I.P., Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, ATDI / The Murder City Devils, In Name and Blood

    The Murder City Devils are an American garage rock band formed in 1996.
  • Minus the Bear43
    17
    16

    Minus the Bear

    Experimental rock, Alternative rock

    AlbumsPlanet of Ice, Menos el oso, This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic, Highly Refined Pirates, Infinity Overhead

    Minus the Bear was an American indie rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 2001, and... more on Wikipedia

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    #182 of 254 The Best Bands With Animal Names#23 of 40 The Best Bands Named After Desert Animals

  • The Lonely Forest44
    16
    15

    The Lonely Forest

    Rock music, Alternative rock

    AlbumsAdding Up the Wasted Hours, Nuclear Winter, Regicide, We Sing the Body Electric!, The Lonely Forest E.P.

    The Lonely Forest was an American indie rock band formed in Anacortes, Washington in 2005. The... more on Wikipedia
  • The Fall of Troy45
    16
    16

    The Fall of Troy

    Pop punk, Mathcore

    AlbumsManipulator, In the Unlikely Event, Doppelgänger, The Fall of Troy, Ghostship EP

    The Fall of Troy is an American post-hardcore band from Mukilteo, Washington. The band is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Hammerbox46
    12
    11

    Hammerbox

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsNumb, Hammerbox, Live EMP Skychurch, Seattle, WA

    Hammerbox was an American grunge band from Seattle, Washington. The band formed around 1990... more on Wikipedia
  • Botch47
    15
    15

    Botch

    Mathcore, Metalcore

    AlbumsThe Unifying Themes of Sex, Death, and Religion, We Are the Romans, American Nervoso

    Botch was an American metalcore band formed in 1993 in Tacoma, Washington. The band, featuring... more on Wikipedia
  • Sunn O)))48
    14
    13

    Sunn O)))

    Doom metal, Dark ambient

    AlbumsAltar, Monoliths & Dimensions, Angel Coma, The Grimmrobe Demos, White2

    Sunn O))) (pronounced "sun") is an American experimental metal band from Seattle, Washington,... more on Wikipedia
  • Myles Kennedy49
    16
    17

    Myles Kennedy

    Thrash metal, Blues-rock

    AlbumsLive in Manchester, Made in Stoke 24/7/11

    Myles Richard Bass (born November 27, 1969), known professionally as Myles Kennedy, is an... more on Wikipedia

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    #264 of 603 The Best Rock Vocalists#171 of 639 The Greatest Lead Guitarists Of All Time

  • The Fartz50
    15
    16

    The Fartz

    Hardcore punk

    AlbumsBecause This Fuckin' World Still Stinks..., What's in a Name, Injustice

    The Fartz were originally formed in 1981 and were one of the first well-known hardcore bands... more on Wikipedia