South Carolina is home to a plethora of talented musicians who have left a lasting impact on various genres. These singers, songwriters, and even actors have been born and bred in the Palmetto State, and have used their unique perspectives and experiences to create some of the most memorable and iconic tunes that we surely love.
Here is a compilation of 20 celebrated musicians hailing from South Carolina who have created iconic music and made great contributions to the music industry:
1. James Brown
James Brown was a highly influential and legendary musician who is known as the “Godfather of Soul.” His unique style and energetic performances of funk, soul, and R&B music gained him worldwide recognition and numerous hits, including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).”
2. Edwin McCain
Edwin McCain is an indie-rock singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the 1990s with his hit single “I’ll Be.” His music is known for its heartfelt lyrics, catchy melodies, and guitar talent. He has released several successful albums and continues to tour and perform to this day.
3. Hootie & the Blowfish
A rock band that is known for their debut album “Cracked Rear View,” Hootie & the Blowfish’s music is characterized by its catchy hooks, pop sensibility, and lead singer Darius Rucker’s distinctive voice.
They have won several Grammy Awards and remain one of the most successful bands to come out of South Carolina.
4. Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt was a singer, actress, and dancer who rose to fame in the 1950s with a novelty tune “Santa Baby” and became a prominent figure in both the entertainment industry and the civil rights movement. Her music spanned genres such as jazz, cabaret, and pop.
5. The Marshall Tucker Band
The Marshall Tucker Band is a southern rock band, They gained popularity in the 1970s with hits such as “Can’t You See” and “Heard It in a Love Song.” Their music blends elements of country, blues, and rock, and they have become known for their tight harmonies and skilled musicianship.
6. Chubby Checker
Chubby Checker is a rock and roll singer and dancer who is best known for his dance style and rendition of “The Twist.” He was a prominent figure in the dance craze of the early 1960s and his music remains a staple of oldies radio stations.
Jeezy, also known as Young Jeezy, is a rapper and songwriter. He gained fame with his debut album “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101” which received a certified platinum.
Jeezy is known for his gritty, trap-influenced sound and socially conscious lyrics. He has collaborated with many other successful artists such as Usher, Akon, and Kanye West.
8. Peabo Bryson
Peabo Bryson is a soul singer-songwriter who gained fame for his collaborations with other female singers. He has won two Grammy Awards and contributed to Disney featured soundtracks in their animated movies.
9. Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker is a singer-songwriter best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish. He later embarked on a solo career in country music and has become a multi-platinum selling artist.
He has won multiple awards, including three Grammys and CMAs. His album ‘Learn To Live’ has gained a certified platinum for its commercial success.
10. Josh Turner
Josh Turner is a gospel and country music singer. He has released several chart-topping singles, including “Would You Go with Me” and “Your Man.” Turner’s deep, rich voice has become his signature sound, and he has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations.
11. The Independents
A punk band from Florence, South Carolina, The Independents is known for their high-energy live performances and socially conscious lyrics. The band has been active since the late 1990s and has released several albums, including “Eternal Bond” and “Full Moon Arise.”
12. Toro y Moi
Toro y Moi is the stage name of musician and producer Chaz Bear. He is known for his blend of electronic and indie rock music and has released several critically acclaimed albums, including “Causers of This” and “Outer Peace.” Toro y Moi has been credited with helping to pioneer the ‘chillwave’ genre of music.
13. Linda Martell
Linda Martell is a country music singer. She became the first African-American woman to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, one of the most famous country music venues in the world. She released several singles, including “Color Him Father” and “Bad Case of the Blues.”
14. Angie Stone
Angie Stone is an R&B singer and songwriter. She rose to fame in the 1990s as a member of the group Vertical Hold, and later as a solo artist with hits such as “No More Rain (In This Cloud)” and “Wish I Didn’t Miss You.”
Stone has won several Soul Train Music Awards and has been nominated for Grammy Awards thrice.
15. Lee Brice
Lee Brice is a country music singer and songwriter. He has released several successful albums and singles, including “Love Like Crazy” and “I Don’t Dance.”
Brice has won several awards and is known for his emotional and heartfelt songwriting. He collaborated with other artists like Tim McGraw, Adam Gregory, and Garth Brooks.
16. Reverend Gary Davis
A blues and gospel musician known for his intricate fingerpicking guitar style, Reverend Gary Davis is famed for his powerful voice and being a multi instrumentalist.
Davis influenced many other musicians, including Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, and his music is still celebrated today for its raw emotional power and spiritual depth.
17. Shovels & Rope
Shovels & Rope is a husband-and-wife duo, consisting of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. They play a mix of folk, country, and rock music, with gritty vocals and energetic guitar riffs.
Shovels & Rope has earned critical acclaim for their raw, authentic sound and their dynamic live performances in their tours.
18. Bill Anderson
Dubbed as the “Whisperin’ Bill,” Bill Anderson is a country music singer and songwriter known for his gentle and soothing voice. He has had a long and successful career, with over 50 years of hit songs and accolades including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
19. Teddy Pendergrass
Teddy Pendergrass was an R&B singer. He had a powerful, soulful voice and a string of hits, including “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Close the Door,” and “Love T.K.O.” He is considered one of the most influential R&B singers of all time, also infusing his tunes with soul, disco, and funk.
20. Ruston Kelly
Ruston Kelly is a singer and songwriter. His music blends elements of country, rock, and folk, with introspective lyrics that explore themes of love, loss, and addiction.
Kelly’s debut album, “Dying Star,” earned critical acclaim for its raw honesty and vulnerability, and he has since become known as one of the most promising young songwriters in the Americana scene.
South Carolina has a rich musical heritage and has contributed greatly to various genres. From Reverend Gary Davis’ influential fingerpicking blues to Ruston Kelly’s introspective Americana, this showcases the diverse array of musical talent the state has produced.
These musicians have left their mark on the music world and will continue to inspire us because of their interesting tunes and history.
James Brown Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Heinrich Klaffs, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Peabo Bryson Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons