20 Famous Musicians From Iowa

Iowa has produced some of the most talented musicians. From country legends like Emmy West and Maddie Poppe to pop sensations like Nate Ruess and Tracie Spencer, Iowa has given birth to a diverse range of musicians.

In this article, let’s delve into the 20 musical talents from Iowa and explore their contributions in various genres:

1. Slipknot

Slipknot is a heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. Known for their intense live performances and distinctive image, which includes masks and jumpsuits, Slipknot has become one of the most successful and influential metal bands of their generation. 

Their music is characterized by a mix of aggressive vocals, complex rhythms, and pounding percussion, and their lyrics often deal with themes of pain, anger, and alienation.

2. Andy Williams

Andy Williams was a singer who became famous for his smooth voice and easygoing style. Williams had a string of hit songs including “Moon River,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” and “Born Free.”

He also hosted his own television show, “The Andy Williams Show,” which won numerous Emmy Awards.

3. Stone Sour

Stone Sour is a rock band. Founded by slipknot members Corey Taylor and Jim Root, Stone Sour has released several albums and is known for their melodic hooks, heavy riffs, and Taylor’s powerful vocals.

The band has also been praised for their ability to blend different genres, including hard rock, metal, and alternative, into their music.

4. Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden was a jazz bassist who was known for his virtuoso playing and his work with some of the biggest names in jazz. Haden played with Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, and Pat Metheny, among others, and was a member of the influential group the Liberation Music Orchestra.

He was also a respected composer and bandleader, and was awarded numerous honors throughout his career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

5. Art Farmer

Art Farmer was a jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist, who was known for his lyrical playing style. He began his career in the 1940s and played with many of the great jazz musicians of his time, including Horace Silver and Benny Golson.

Farmer was also a prolific composer and bandleader, and his recordings continue to be admired for their elegance and sophistication.

6. Glenn Miller


Glenn Miller was a big band leader and musician who was one of the most popular and influential musicians of the swing era.

He formed his own band in the 1930s and quickly became known for his catchy melodies and tight arrangements. Miller’s hits include “Moonlight Serenade,” “In the Mood,” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

7. Tommy Bolin

A guitarist and songwriter from Sioux City, Iowa, Tommy Bolin was known for his virtuosic playing style and eclectic musical tastes.

He began his career playing with bands like Zephyr and the James Gang before launching a solo career. Bolin’s music was a fusion of rock, jazz, and funk, and he collaborated with a variety of musicians across different genres.

8. Bix Beiderbecke

Bix Beiderbecke was a jazz cornetist,composer, and pianist who was one of the most influential musicians of the 1920s. He played with many of the great jazz bands of his time, including those led by Paul Whiteman and Frankie Trumbauer, and was known for his melodic improvisations and unique sound. 

9. Julia Michaels

Julia Michaels is a singer and songwriter who has become one of the most successful pop songwriters of the past decade.

Michaels has written hit songs for artists like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato, and has also released her own solo music. Her hits include “Issues,” “Heaven,” and “If The World Was Ending.”

10. Corey Taylor

Corey Taylor is a singer-songwriter and musician who has gained popularity as the lead vocalist for Slipknot and Stone Sour. Taylor’s powerful and versatile voice has made him one of the most recognizable figures in heavy metal, and he has also gained attention for his dynamic stage presence and colorful personality. 

In addition to his work with Slipknot and Stone Sour, Taylor has released several solo albums and has collaborated with a variety of other artists across different genres.

11. Maddie Poppe

Maddie Poppe is a singer-songwriter who rose to fame after winning the 16th season of American Idol in 2018.

Poppe’s music is characterized by her unique blend of folk, pop, and country, and her songwriting has been praised for its honesty and authenticity. She has since released several albums and continues to tour and perform.

12. Tionne Watkins

Tionne Watkins, famed as T-Boz, is a singer, songwriter, author, and actress who is best known as a member of the R&B group TLC.

With hits like “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” and “Creep,” TLC became one of the most successful girl groups of all time and also won numerous awards like the Grammys.

13. Nate Ruess

Nate Ruess is a singer-songwriter from Iowa City, who is best known as the lead vocalist of the indie pop band Fun.

Ruess’s distinctive voice and catchy melodies helped make Fun one of the most popular bands, with hits like “We Are Young,” “Some Nights,” and “Carry On.” He has also released solo music and collaborated with other artists across different genres.

14. William Elliott Whitmore

William Elliott Whitmore is a folk-blues singer and songwriter who is known for his gritty vocals and stripped-down sound. Whitmore’s music draws on traditional folk and blues influences and often deals with themes of love, loss, and social justice. 

15. Tracie Spencer

Tracie Spencer is a pop singer-songwriter who had several hit songs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “Symptoms of True Love,” “This House,” and “Tender Kisses.”

Spencer’s soulful voice and catchy pop hooks made her a popular figure in the R&B and pop music scenes, and she also appeared in several films and television shows.

16. Jason Reeves

Jason Reeves is a singer-songwriter. He is famous for his unique blend of acoustic pop and folk music. He gained popularity after co-writing several songs with Colbie Caillat, including her hit single “Bubbly.”

Reeves has also released several solo albums, including “The Lovesick” and “Songs Are Silent Films,” showcasing his ability to craft poignant lyrics and memorable melodies.

17. Simon Estes

Simon Estes is a bass-baritone opera singer who has performed in many of the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. Estes’s career has spanned over five decades, and he has been recognized for his powerful voice and commanding stage presence.

18. Emily West

Emily West is a country musician who gained national attention after competing on the ninth season of the television show America’s Got Talent.

West’s soulful voice and unique blend of country and pop influences impressed the judges and audiences, and she has since released several albums and toured extensively.

19. Jinxx

Jinxx, born Jeremy Ferguson, is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is best known as a member of the rock band Black Veil Brides.

Jinxx’s classical training in violin, cello, and his energetic guitar playing have been a defining feature of the band’s sound, and he has also contributed to their songwriting and visual aesthetic.

20. Hailey Whitters

Hailey Whitters is a country singer and songwriter who has gained critical acclaim for her honest and authentic songwriting. Whitters’s music draws on classic country influences, and her lyrics often deal with themes of heartbreak, self-discovery, and rural life. 

She has released several albums and collaborated with other artists, and her music has been praised for its emotional depth and storytelling.


Musicians from Iowa have made significant contributions to the music industry across various genres. From the acoustic pop-folk of Jason Reeves to the heavy metal of Slipknot, and the emotional lyrics and powerful vocals of Maggie Lindemann, Iowa has produced some of the most talented and influential musicians of our time.

Their music has touched the hearts of fans worldwide, and their legacies continue to inspire new generations of musicians.

Slipknot Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Julia Michaels Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Justin Higuchi, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons