Alaska is often known for its breathtaking natural beauty and rugged wilderness, but it also boasts a vibrant music scene that is home to some of the best musicians in the world. From folk to hip-hop, Alaska has nurtured artists across various genres that are guaranteed to delight music lovers of all tastes.
Here’s the list of the 20 best musicians in Alaska, which is a testament to the state’s musical prowess.
- 1. Jewel
- 2. Lincoln Brewster
- 3. Portugal. The Man
- 4. John Luther Adams
- 5. Jason Everman
- 6. Vivica Genaux
- 7. Bearfoot
- 8. Nathan West
- 9. Artis the Spoonman
- 10. Marian Call
- 11. Marcus Shelby
- 12. Hilary Weeks
- 13. Mythological Horses
- 14. Janet Gardner
- 15. Kelly Moneymaker
- 16. Matthew Burtner
- 17. Erin Heist
- 18. Kate Earl
- 19. John Gourley
- 20. Brock Lindow
Jewel is a singer-songwriter who rose to fame with her hit single “Who Will Save Your Soul.” She started out singing folk music, but over time she evolved into the electronic dance-pop genre.
She has since released multiple best-selling albums, received several Grammy nominations, and established herself as one of the most successful musicians to come out of Alaska.
2. Lincoln Brewster
Lincoln Brewster is a Christian worship leader, singer, songwriter, and guitarist who is widely regarded for his soulful voice, unique blend of contemporary worship music, and blues-inspired guitar playing. He has toured with Steve Perry and, since then, inspired millions of fans around the world.
3. Portugal. The Man
This Alaskan alternative rock band has achieved global success with their eclectic and innovative sound. Their music has a catchy blend of indie rock, pop, and psychedelic music. The band’s album “Feel It Still” won the award for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
4. John Luther Adams
John Luther Adams is a highly acclaimed composer, known for creating music inspired by the natural world, including elements of Alaska’s stunning wilderness.
With works ranging from movie and television scores to orchestral compositions, he has won numerous awards and accolades, such as the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his orchestral piece “Become Ocean.”
5. Jason Everman
Jason Everman is a musician who gained fame as the guitarist for two iconic grunge bands, Mind Funk and Nirvana. He then served in the military and started a band called Silence & Light with a fellow veteran.
6. Vivica Genaux
Vivica Genaux is an opera singer who has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Barber of Seville, and the Royal Opera House. She is known for her powerful voice and her ability to bring a contemporary twist to classic operatic repertoire.
Bearfoot is a bluegrass band that has earned widespread recognition for their high-energy performances and their innovative approach to the genre. With their tight harmonies and virtuosic musicianship, they have become one of the most beloved bluegrass bands in Alaska.
8. Nathan West
Nathan West is a singer, musician, producer, and actor. He is mostly known for his work on the television series “7th Heaven.” He plays music with his wife Chyler Leigh under the moniker “WestLeigh.”
9. Artis the Spoonman
Artis the Spoonman is a street performer who has become a cultural icon for his unique spoon-playing skills. He is a beloved figure in Alaska and has been featured on numerous television shows and in films.
10. Marian Call
Marian Call is a contemporary folk singer-songwriter who appeals to geek culture. Her rise to fame can be attributed to her extensive bus tours and song commissions from movies and companies like Quantum Mechanix and Black Market Beagles.
11. Marcus Shelby
Marcus Shelby is a highly regarded bassist and composer who is known for bringing a fresh and modern perspective to jazz music. He composes music for theater and dance groups, and he also leads the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra.
12. Hilary Weeks
Hilary Weeks is a singer-songwriter who has been a staple of the contemporary Christian music scene. Some of her works are the albums “Every Step,” “Love Your Life,” and “Say Love,” which have reached the charts.
13. Mythological Horses
Mythological Horses is an alternative rock band that has earned widespread recognition for their unique sound and energetic live performances. As they were founded in Alaska, the band is currently based in Seattle.
14. Janet Gardner
As the lead vocalist of the band Vixen, Janet Gardner is a glam metal singer and rhythm guitarist. She was part of the band during their most successful period, when they released the hit song “Edge of a Broken Heart.”
Gardner is recognized for her powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence, which helped establish Vixen as one of the leading female-fronted hard rock bands of the era.
15. Kelly Moneymaker
Kelly Moneymaker is a singer-songwriter who achieved fame when she joined the freestyle vocal group Exposé. She entered a solo career and created hit songs like “Can’t Live Without Your Love,” which became one of the tracks in the television series “Days of Our Lives.”
16. Matthew Burtner
Matthew Burtner is a composer and sound artist who is known for his innovative work.
His music often explores the relationship between humans and the natural world, and he is celebrated for his unique use of technology in musical performance and composition. He has won an IDEA, an EMMY, and other prestigious recognitions for his music.
17. Erin Heist
Erin Heist is a contemporary folk artist known for her songs that showcase moody acoustic guitar, evocative melodies, and songs about perseverance, loss, and redemption. She plays with her husband in the Great Alaska Bluegrass Band.
18. Kate Earl
Kate Earl is a successful singer-songwriter who has opened for big names such as Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty. She has also performed in various shows, including the television series “The Bachelorette.”
19. John Gourley
John Gourley is a skilled singer-songwriter and musician, known for his role as the frontman and lead guitarist of Portugal. The Man. He plays rock and post-hardcore music, and previously was a member of the band Anatomy Of a Ghost.
20. Brock Lindow
Brock Lindow is the lead vocalist of 36 Crazyfists, a metal band known for their powerful live shows. He is known for his powerful and aggressive vocal style, which has helped the band achieve a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim.
Alaska has nurtured a number of skilled musicians who have had a major impact on the music industry.
Ranging from singer-songwriters such as Jewel and Kate Earl to instrumentalists like John Luther Adams and Marcus Shelby, these artists showcase a diverse array of musical styles and influences for all music enthusiasts.