20 Famous Musicians From Ohio

Ohio has a rich history of producing some of the most influential and innovative musicians of all time. From jazz pianist Art Tatum to the avant-garde stylings of Nine Inch Nails, Ohio has played a major role in shaping the landscape of popular music over the past century. 

In this article, we will explore 20 famous musicians from Ohio, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the world of music. From R&B legends to punk rockers, this list encompasses a diverse range of styles and genres, all of which have been influenced by the unique musical heritage of Ohio.

1. John Legend

Born in Springfield, Ohio, John Legend is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter known for his soulful voice and socially conscious lyrics. With hits like “All of Me” and “Ordinary People,” he has won multiple Grammy Awards and has become a prominent figure in the music industry.

2. Dave Grohl

Although he was born in Warren, Ohio, Dave Grohl is best known as the drummer for the rock band Nirvana and the lead singer and guitarist for the Foo Fighters. He has also played with other notable acts like Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures.

3. Twenty One Pilots

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Twenty One Pilots is a duo consisting of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. Their unique blend of alternative, pop, and hip-hop has earned them a massive following and multiple awards, including a Grammy for their album “Blurryface.”

4. Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind Nine Inch Nails, was born in Pennsylvania, but the band was formed in Cleveland, Ohio. Known for their dark and industrial sound, Nine Inch Nails has been a major influence on alternative music since their debut in the late 1980s.

5. Kid Cudi

Originally from Cleveland, Kid Cudi is a rapper and singer known for his introspective lyrics and laid-back delivery. He has collaborated with artists like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams and has released multiple critically acclaimed albums.

6. Art Tatum

Considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Art Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio. He was known for his virtuosic playing style and his ability to improvise complex solos on the spot. Tatum’s playing style was characterized by his lightning-fast fingers, impeccable timing, and incredible technical skill.

7. Marilyn Manson

Born Brian Warner in Canton, Ohio, Marilyn Manson is a controversial figure in the music world known for his shock rock style and provocative lyrics. Despite the controversy, his music has won him a devoted following and multiple awards.

8. The Isley Brothers

Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Isley Brothers are a legendary R&B group known for hits like “Shout” and “Twist and Shout.” The group has been active since the 1950s and has influenced generations of musicians with their soulful sound.Their hits are still streamed by a lot of people until today.

9. Anita Baker

Anita Baker, hailing from Toledo, Ohio, is renowned for her silky smooth jazz and R&B vocals. Over the years, she has amassed numerous Grammy Awards, cementing her status as a prominent figure in the music industry since the 1980s.

10. Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is a singer-songwriter born in Cleveland, Ohio. Known for her folk and acoustic sound, Chapman’s music often deals with themes of social and political issues, including poverty, racism, and human rights.

Her self-titled debut album, released in 1988, propelled her to international fame and earned her multiple Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.

11. Scott Walker

Walker’s legacy as a visionary artist and innovator continues to be celebrated by fans and fellow musicians alike. Born in Hamilton, Ohio, he was an enigmatic singer-songwriter known for his baritone voice and avant-garde approach to music.

After achieving success in the 1960s as a member of the Walker Brothers, he embarked on a solo career that would see him experiment with various genres and push the boundaries of traditional pop music.

12. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the renowned blues singer, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is remembered for his wild onstage antics and theatrical performances. Hawkins’ classic hit, “I Put a Spell on You,” has become an iconic song that has been covered by numerous artists.

13. The O’Jays

The O’Jays are a legendary R&B group formed in Canton, Ohio in 1958. Consisting of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, and William Powell, the group’s name was inspired by the O’Jays, a popular Cleveland DJ at the time.

The group’s music was heavily influenced by the soulful sounds of Motown and Stax Records, but they also incorporated elements of funk and disco into their music.

14. Andy Biersack

Andy Biersack, also known as Andy Black, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and is the lead vocalist of the rock band Black Veil Brides.

Known for his powerful voice and dramatic stage presence, Biersack has also released solo music under the name Andy Black and has been active in the music industry since the mid-2000s.

15. Kim Deal

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Kim Deal is a musician known for her work as the bassist and vocalist for the alternative rock band The Pixies. She has also been a member of the band The Breeders and has released solo material, earning her critical acclaim and a loyal fan base.

16. Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan was born in Ravenna, Ohio and is best known as the lead vocalist of the rock bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer. He is known for his powerful vocals and introspective lyrics, and has become a respected figure in the rock music community.

17. Ohio Players

Founded in Dayton, Ohio, the Ohio Players are a funk band known for hits like “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire.” They were active in the 1970s and have been influential in shaping the funk music genre.

18. Roger Troutman

Roger Troutman, born in Hamilton, Ohio, was a singer, songwriter, and musician who gained fame as the lead vocalist of the funk band Zapp. He was known for his innovative use of the talk box, a device that allowed him to create unique vocal effects by manipulating the sound of his guitar.

19. Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was a soul singer and songwriter known for hits like “Across 110th Street” and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” He has been active in the music industry since the 1950s and has been a major influence on soul and R&B music.

20. Johnny Paycheck

Born in Greenfield, Ohio, Johnny Paycheck was a country music singer known for hits like “Take This Job and Shove It” and “She’s All I Got.” He had a successful career spanning several decades and was known for his rebellious attitude and outlaw country style.

Final Thoughts

Ohio has been a hotbed for musical talent for generations, and the state has produced some of the most innovative and influential artists in the world.

From the soulful sounds of the O’Jays and Anita Baker, to the avant-garde stylings of Scott Walker and Nine Inch Nails, Ohio has a rich musical history that spans a variety of genres and eras.

John Legend Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Toglenn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dave Grohl Featured Image (Top-Right) by: Raphael Pour-Hashemi, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Anita Baker Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tracy Chapman Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: © Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0