Music

The Best Musical Artists From Washington  

Ranker Music
1k votes 63 voters 1k views 100 items

List Rules Only 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.

list ordered by
1
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock
Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, ...more
2
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded ...more
3
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron ...more
4
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
5
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge
Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the death of Kurt Cobain and the resulting ...more
6
Heart is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock
Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's four-decade history, the band has had three primary lineups, with ...more
7
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge
Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has comprised Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The ...more
8
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock
Fleet Foxes is a Grammy-nominated American indie folk band that was formed in Seattle, Washington. It is signed to the Sub Pop and Bella Union record labels. The band came to prominence in 2008 ...more
9
Death Cab for Cutie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Emo, Alternative rock
Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band, formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band comprises Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr. In 2014, founding guitarist and ...more
10
Bing Crosby is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Traditional pop music, Easy listening, Jazz
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, Jr. was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark warm bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, ...more
11
The Wailers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Ska, Rock music
12
Sinitta is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Dance-pop, House music
Sinitta is an American-born singer who has lived in the United Kingdom for most of her life. She is best known as a TV Personality and for her hit records in the 1980s including "So ...more
13
He Is We is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop
He Is We was an indie pop band from Tacoma, Washington. The band originally was made up of Trevor Kelly and Rachel Taylor as the lead vocalist.
14
The Halo Benders is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
The Halo Benders Rock music
The Halo Benders was a band formed in 1994 as a side project by Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and Doug Martsch of Built to Spill. They released their first album, God Don't Make No Junk, in ...more
15
Modest Mouse is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Indie pop, Garage rock, Space rock
Modest Mouse is an American rock band formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington, by singer/guitarist Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bassist Eric Judy. Since the band's 1996 debut album, ...more
16
Brandi Carlile is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock
Brandi M. Carlile is an American alternative country and folk rock singer-songwriter. She has released several albums including The Story, Give Up the Ghost and Live at Benaroya Hall with the ...more
17
The Presidents of the United S... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Pop punk, Noise rock, Rock music
The Presidents of the United States of America, sometimes referred to as PUSA, The Presidents or Pot USA, is a twice Grammy-nominated American alternative rock band. The band formed in Seattle, ...more
18
Macklemore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hip hop music in the Pacific Northwest
Benjamin Hammond Haggerty (born June 19, 1983), known by his stage name Macklemore, and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter, from Seattle, Washington. He ...more
19
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock
Band of Horses, originally known briefly as Horses, is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released four studio albums, the most successful of which is ...more
20
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal
Queensrÿche is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band The Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP and several ...more
21
Sleater-Kinney is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Riot grrrl, Rock music, Grunge
Sleater-Kinney is an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. The band's current lineup features Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar) and Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals) ...more
22
Mudhoney is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Punk blues, Garage punk, Garage rock
Mudhoney is an American alternative rock band. Formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1988 following the demise of Green River, Mudhoney's members are singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Arm, lead ...more
23
Sir Mix-a-Lot is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, West Coast hip hop
Anthony Ray, better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American MC and producer based in Seattle, Washington.
24
Bikini Kill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Riot grrrl, Alternative rock, Punk rock
Bikini Kill was an American punk rock band formed in Olympia, Washington in October 1990. The group consisted of singer and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi ...more
25
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Washington
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock
The Ventures are an American instrumental rock band formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington. Founded by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, the group in its various incarnations has had an enduring impact on ...more