Bands / Musicians Who's The Most Famous Musician From Every State?  

Ann Casano
11.9k votes 1.6k voters 36.7k views 50 items

List Rules Vote up the musicians who best represent their home states.

Great music can be found across the US, but we often give the majority of credit to places like New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville. Like actors, the best known musicians from each state may have migrated to media hubs to chase their dreams, but there is only one place they will ever call home. 

Some of these singers were born in the state that helped to define them, while others moved there as young children. All of these musicians were influenced by the state in which they grew up. We can hear the Seattle grunge scene in Kurt Cobain’s music and feel the hippie San Francisco vibe in the melodies of Jerry Garcia.

Check out all 50 singers by American states. Then make your voice heard. Which musician do you think represents their home state the best?

 

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Mississippi - Elvis Presley Died at 42 (1935-1977)

Elvis Presley was born in 1935 in Tupelo, MS. He was raised in a religious household, and like many musicians, sang regularly in church, a place where Gospel became very important to him. The "Heartbreak Hotel" vocalist got his first guitar at the age of 11. Today, the singer is considered one of the pioneers of rock music and is often called the "King of Rock and Roll."

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Arkansas - Johnny Cash Died at 71 (1932-2003)

Johnny Cash was born in 1932 in Kingsland, AR. The "Walk the Line" singer grew up during the Great Depression and began working in cotton fields at a young age. Cash began writing songs at the age of 12, and many of his tunes were about the hardships of his life in Arkansas.

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Minnesota - Prince Died at 57 (1958-2016)

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in 1958 in Minneapolis, MN. The "Purple Rain" singer taught himself how to play the drums, guitar, and piano at a very young age. He went on to become one of the most successful artists of the 1980s and ultimately a music legend. While most big-time musicians eventually leave their hometown for New York City or Los Angeles, Prince never abandoned his Minnesota roots.

Prince's close friend Nik West talked about Prince's connection with Minnesota:

"He said Minneapolis raised him... [moving]will never happen," she said. " He would say, 'I'm never leaving... there's a legacy here for me' He was just all about just being who he was - being at home."

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Indiana - Michael Jackson Died at 51 (1958-2009)

Michael Jackson was born in Gary, IN in 1958. Success came early for Jackson and his brothers when they formed the Motown group The Jackson 5. Of course, Michael would go on to be known as the "King of Pop" with monster hits like "Thriller," "Beat It," and "Man in the Mirror." He is widely considered the most successful entertainer of all time.

 

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Washington - Kurt Cobain Died at 27 (1967-1994)

Kurt Cobain was born in 1976 in Aberdeen, WA. The "Smells Like Teen Spirit" singer learned how to play piano by ear and had an early love of music. Cobain formed the grunge band Nirvana in the late 1980s, and the power trio released their first studio album, In Utero, in 1993. There are few bands in music who are so fundamentally tied to building a local sound like Nirvana was to the Seattle grunge scene in the 1990s.

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Florida - Tom Petty age 67

Tom Petty was born in 1950 in Gainesville, FL. The "American Girl" singer became completely obsessed with rock music while a teenager in the Sunshine State and even dropped out of high school to be in a band. Working as both a solo artist and with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the rocker is one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

 

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Tennesse - Dolly Parton age 72

Dolly Parton was born in 1946 in Locust Ridge, TN. The "Jolene" singer was one of 12 children and grew up very poor. She got her first exposure to music singing at her local church. Parton is considered one of the most successful country artists of all time with tremendous crossover appeal. She has had 25 Number 1 hits and has won 11 Grammy Awards. 

 

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Hawaii - Bruno Mars age 32

Bruno Mars was born in 1985 in Honolulu, HI. The Grammy-winning "Uptown Funk" singer grew up in an extremely musical family. Mars learned how to play several instruments as a young child. He performed in Waikiki Beach alongside his family in a Las Vegas-style revue that featured celebrity impersonations and played Motown hits.

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New York - Billy Joel age 68

Billy Joel was born in 1949 in the Bronx, NY. His father was a trained pianist and Joel was pushed by his mother to take lessons as a very young boy. By the time the "Piano Man" was a teenager, he had mastered the instrument and was starting various rock bands. Joel has gone on to become one of the most successful pop-rock singer-songwriters of all time. His home state is well-represented in his music with songs like "New York State of Mind" and "Miami 2017."

 

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New Jersey - Bruce Springsteen age 68

Bruce Springsteen was born in 1949 in Long Branch, NJ. "The Boss" got an early start as a teenager playing in local bars across the Garden State, especially in the highly regarded music scene in Asbury Park. The "Born to Run" singer assembled the members of the E Street Band in Jersey and began his career writing anthems for blue-collar America. Springsteen is one of the best selling musicians of all time and has won 23 Grammy Awards.

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Michigan - Stevie Wonder age 67

Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, MI in 1950. The musical prodigy was discovered at the age of 11 years old and signed to a recording deal with Motown Records. In the 1960s, Wonder became a defining player in developing the Detroit-based Motown sound with mega hits like "My Cherie Amour" and "For Once in My Life."

 

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Oklahoma - Garth Brooks age 56

Garth Brooks was born in 1962 in Tulsa, OK. The "Thunder Rolls" singer honed his craft by singing in local bars while attending Oklahoma State University. Few country artists have experienced the crossover success to pop star quite like Brooks, who has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

 

 

 

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Arizona - Alice Cooper

Vincent Damon Furnier was born in 1948 in Detroit, MI. The "School's Out" singer, who eventually became known as Alice Cooper, moved to Arizona when he was 12 years old and soon started playing in the local bar scene. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is often referred to as "The Godfather of Shock Rock."

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Missouri - Chuck Berry age 91

Chuck Berry was born in 1926 in St. Louis, MO. He got his start in music at both church and school. The "Johnny B. Goode" singer first delighted audiences at a school talent show. Berry learned how to play the guitar and ultimately became one of the pioneers of rock music.

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South Carolina - James Brown Died at 73 (1933-2006)

James Brown was born in 1933 in Barnwell, SC. The singer grew up very poor during the Great Depression and even got kicked out of school at the age of 12 for "insufficient clothing." Brown sang in the church choir where he would find the voice that would eventually lead to the moniker "the Godfather of Soul." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time.

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Kentucky - Loretta Lynn age 85

Loretta Lynn was born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, KY. She was raised in a small cabin and grew up in a poor coal mining community. She started singing at a young age at her local church. The "Coal Miner's Daughter" singer has sold almost 50 million albums world wide and in 2013, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

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West Virginia - Brad Paisley age 45

Brad Paisley was born in 1972 in Glen Dale, WV. The singer-songwriter had an early love of music and started learning how to play the guitar at eight years old. The "She's Everything" vocalist formed a band at 12 and started playing around West Virginia in church and civic meetings. He found immediate success with his 1999 debut album Who Needs Pictures. Since then, the country music star has sold over ten million albums and has three Grammy Awards.

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Alaska - Jewel age 43

Jewel may have been born in Utah, however, the singer-songwriter moved to Alaska shortly after her birth. She was raised in Homer, AK, and often performed around town with her musician father. The "You Were Meant for Me" singer grew up roughing it in Alaska, going without indoor plumbing, running water, or heat for much of her youth.

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Louisiana - Britney Spears age 36

Britney Spears was born in 1981 in Mississippi but moved to Kentwood, LA by the age of three. The "...Baby One More Time" vocalist started performing as a singer, dancer, and actress since she could walk. Spears found her first taste of fame as a Mousketeer at the age 11. Pop super stardom followed as Spears dominated the music charts for most of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

 

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Virginia - Patsy Cline Died at 31 (1932-1963)

Patsy Cline was born in 1932 in Winchester, VA. The "Crazy" singer is often cited as a pioneer in women's music who helped breakdown the gender divide, especially in country music. Cline started singing at a young age and taught herself how to play the piano at eight years old. She found early success as a teenager, performing in local singing competitions and on the radio. In the 1960s, the smooth-voiced Cline found tremendous crossover success with her hits "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy."

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New Mexico - John Denver Died at 54 (1943-1997)

John Denver was born in 1943 in Roswell, NM. The folk singer got his first guitar as a teenager as a gift from his grandmother. Denver had his initial success in music when the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary recorded a song he wrote called, "Leaving on a Jet Plane." The singer-songwriter catapulted into the mainstream with his 1970s hits "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Rocky Mountain High."

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Wisconsin - Steve Miller age 74

Steven Miller was born in 1943 in Milwaukee, WI. Both of Miller's parents were entrenched in the jazz scene, and the singer credits his father's friendships with Les Paul and T-Bone Walker as having a great impact on his love of music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer formed the Steve Miller Band in 1966 and found incredible success with hit singles like "The Joker" and "Fly Like an Eagle."

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Pennsylvania - Taylor Swift age 28

Taylor Swift was born in 1989 in Reading, PA. The "Love Story" singer started singing in local contests and state fairs at an early age - she even sang the National Anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game when she was only 11 years old. Swift has proved to have massive crossover appeal for both country music and pop fans. The singer-songwriter has already sold over 40 million albums and has ten Grammy Awards.

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Delaware - George Thorogood age 68

George Thorogood was born in 1950 in Wilmington, DE. The "I Drink Alone" singer formed a band with his high school pal, a drummer named Jeff Simon. They named the rock band after their home state, the Delaware Destroyers.

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North Carolina - Randy Travis age 58

Randy Travis was born in 1959 in Marshville, NC. He grew up listening to country stars like Hank Williams and Gene Autry, and he learned how to play the guitar at 10 years old. Travis spent years honing his craft in bars in North Carolina before setting off for Nashville. The "Promises" singer has gone on to become one of the most successful country artists ever.

 

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Maryland - Frank Zappa Died at 53 (1940-1993)

Frank Zappa was born in 1940 in Baltimore, MD. The self-taught musician has played in a variety of different genres from rock to jazz; much of his music could easily be described as avant-garde due to his genre-bending. The "Muffin Man" singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

 

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Iowa - The Everly Brothers

Don Everly was born in Kentucky in 1937 and his brother Phil was born in Illinois in 1939. However, the Everly brothers spent most of their youth growing up in Shenandoah, IA. Known for their rich harmonies and acoustic guitars, the "Bye Bye Love" singers are members of both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

 

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Massachusetts - Joe Perry age 67

Joe Perry was born in Lawrence, MA in 1950. He started playing the guitar at the age of 10, dropped out of high school his senior year, and moved to Boston. The decision to leave his hometown was a fortuitous one because Perry met up with Steven Tyler in Boston. The pair would go on to form Aerosmith.

 

 

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Wyoming - Chris LeDoux Died at 57 (1948-2005)

Chris LeDoux was born in 1948 in Biloxi, MS, but moved to Cheyenne, WY, as a teenager. The country singer made his home in Kaycee, WY, and stayed there until his death in 2005. LeDoux was a professional rodeo cowboy who began to compose songs to pay for his traveling expenses. LeDoux eventually recorded his own album and went on to make over 30 albums.

 

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New Hampshire - Mandy Moore age 33

Mandy Moore was born in 1984 in Nashua, NH. The "Candy" singer was discovered at 13 years old when a FedEx Delivery person overheard her singing and then sent along her demo tape to a friend at Sony. After signing her to a record deal, Moore became a teen pop idol in the late 1990s. In 2018, Moore can be seen on the small screen starring in the NBC drama This Is Us.

 

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Colorado - Glenn Miller Died at 40 (1904-1944)

Glenn Miller was born in Iowa in 1904 but moved to Fort Morgan, CO as a teenager. The big-band musician was an avid composer as well as a bandleader. In just a few short years, Miller scored 23 Number 1 hits, which is more than Elvis Presley had over his entire career.

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Illinois - Billy Corgan age 51

Billy Corgan was born in 1967 in Elk Grove, IL. The "Tonight, Tonight" singer's father was a blues guitarist, and Corgan formed his own band in high school. However, real success did not come until the late 1980s, when the front man formed the alternative rock group the Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins went on to be one of the most popular bands of the '90s. 

 

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California - Jerry Garcia Died at 53 (1942-1995)

Jerry Garcia was born in 1942 in San Francisco, CA. The singer and his band The Grateful Dead are sutured directly into the 1960s counter-culture music scene of Northern California and have become synonymous with the city of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District.

 

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Kansas - Melissa Etheridge age 56

Melissa Etheridge war born in Leavenworth, KS in 1961. The "Come to My Window" singer started strumming the guitar and writing music at the age of eight. By 12, the singer-songwriter began playing in country music groups at local bars all around her hometown. Known for her raspy vocals, Etheridge has won two Grammys and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up" from the 2007 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

 

 

 

 

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Utah - Donny Osmond age 60

Donny Osmond was born in 1957 in Odgen, UT. Donny - along with the rest of his siblings - started singing at a very young age. He found his greatest success with his sister Marie, and the pair became one of the biggest musical acts in the 1970s with their variety TV show Donny & Marie. Osmond has maintained his squeaky clean Mormon image throughout his career and has appeared on Broadway. He still performs with Marie on the Vegas circuit.

 

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Texas - Beyoncé Knowles age 36

Beyoncé Knowles was born in 1981 in Houston, TX. The "Single Ladies" singer got her start in show business at an early age when she competed and won several local talent shows. Knowles and her cousin Kelly Rowland, along with Michelle Williams, teamed up to form Destiny's Child in the late 1990s. The trio hit the top of the charts with songs like "Say My Name" and "Bills, Bills, Bills." Knowles eventually went solo and has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed and popular entertainers of the 21st century.

 

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Vermont - Aaron Lewis age 45

Aaron Lewis was born in 1972 in Rutland, VT. The singer fell in love with music at a young age. Lewis formed the alternative rock band Staind in the mid-1990s and had mainstream success with the hit single "It's Been Awhile." The singer-songwriter is known for writing confessional, angst-ridden songs that reflect the hardships of his life.

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Ohio - Tracy Chapman age 54

Tracy Chapman was born in 1964 in Cleveland, OH. The "Fast Car' singer-songwriter burst onto the music scene in the 1980s with her self-titled debut album, which earned Chapman three Grammy Awards and went multi-platinum.

 

 

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Nevada - Brandon Flowers age 36

Brandon Flowers was born in 1981 in Las Vegas, NV. The vocalist responded to an ad that Dave Keuning placed in the local Las Vegas Weekly newspaper. They started playing together and were eventually joined by Mark Stoermer on bass and Ronnie Vannucci on drums to form the band The Killers. Flowers still resides in Nevada and is very active in the local community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alabama - Wilson Pickett Died at 65 (1941-2006)

R&B rock singer Wilson Pickett was born in 1941 in Prattville, AL. The "Mustang Sally" singer is considered one of the trailblazers of American soul music and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

 

 

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North Dakota - Wiz Khalifa age 30

Cameron Jibril Thomaz was born in 1987 in Minot, ND. The future rap star showed an early interest in music and began writing his own lyrics at the age of nine. By the time the "Say Yeah" singer was a teenager, Wiz Khalifa was recording his own tracks.

 

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Georgia - Michael Stipe age 58

Michael Stipe was born in 1960 in Decatur, GA. Stipe met Bill Berry, Mike Mills, and Peter Buck when he was a student at the University of Georgia. The four musicians would go on to form the alternative rock group R.E.M. and become one of the biggest bands of the 1980s and 90s.

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Montana - Jeff Ament age 55

Jeff Ament was born in 1963 in Havre, MT. The Pearl Jam bassist was raised in Big Sandy, MT, a town with a population of less than 700 people. Ament's dad served as mayor, barber, and school bus driver for the community. The musician eventually left "Big Sky Country" for Seattle and became one of the founding members of Pearl Jam.

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Connecticut - Moby age 52

Richard Melville Hall, AKA Moby, was born in New York City in 1965. However, at two years old, he moved to Darien, CT, following the death of his father. The electric dance musician worked at a Darien record store in his youth and also played in several local bands. The "Go" singer is also an animal rights activist.

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Maine - Patty Griffin age 54

Patty Griffin was born in 1964 in Old Town, ME. The folk singer-songwriter is also a guitarist and pianist. The Grammy Award winner has been covered by several of the most popular artists in music, such as Linda Ronstadt and the Dixie Chicks.

 

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Nebraska - Conor Oberst age 38

Conor Oberst was born in 1980 in Omaha, NE. The "If Winter Ends" singer has been writing music since the age of 12 and recorded his own album on cassette tape when he was 13. Oberst has founded eight bands, including the critically acclaimed Bright Eyes.

 

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Rhode Island - Billy Gilman age 29

Billy Gilman was born in 1988 in Westerly, RI. Gilman started singing as a young boy and was discovered at the age of nine. After heading to Nashville, Gilman's hit "One Voice" became a crossover country and pop hit. Gilman was only 11 years old at the time. In 2016, Gilman finished runner-up on the reality show The Voice.

 

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South Dakota - Shawn Colvin age 62

Shawn Colvin was born in 1956 in Vermillion, SD. The folk singer taught herself how to play the guitar at ten years old. Colvin gained popularity during the late 1980s as part of the "new folk movement." She achieved international fame with her 1997 Grammy Award winning single "Sunny Came Home."

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Oregon - Tommy Thayer age 57

Tommy Thayer was born in 1960 in Portland, OR. He grew up in a musical family; his mother was a classically trained violinist and singer. The future Kiss guitarist learned how to play the electrical guitar at 13 and gigged in several local bands after graduating high school. Thayer eventually met up with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and became lead guitarist in the band.

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Idaho - Doug Martsch age 49

Doug Martsch was born in 1969 in Twin Falls, ID. The singer formed the Boise-based band Built to Spill in the early 1990s. Martsch and his band remain a staple in the indie rock scene in Idaho.