17 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Musicians From Oklahoma

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Oklahoma may be a less-populated central state in America. But it has churned out hundreds of famous musicians over the years! Ranging from blues to rock music, Oklahoma is known for its creative musicians and hit songs that people still sing to this day.

In this post, we have compiled a list of 17 of the greatest and most famous musicians from Oklahoma that make the world sing and capture the hearts of many. Read on to find out more.

1. Blake Shelton

Born Blake Tollison Shelton, this famous American singer was born in Ada, Oklahoma in 1976. From a young age, it was clear what he would be when he grew up. Aside from singing, he had learned how to play the guitar. And by 15, he already had a song under his belt.

At 17, he decided to pursue a singing career. That required moving to Nashville, Tennessee. It was here that Shelton’s fulfilling music career began, starting with his single “Austin.” This was his very first #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks.

Throughout his career, Shelton released songs that have charted well, including “The Baby,” “Some Beach,” and “Home.” His successes made him one of the most famous country artists. With over 10 million records sold worldwide, it is no wonder his name is so well-known in and out of Nashville.

Earning top spots on the Hot Country Songs chart, amassing several American Country Awards, wrangling CMT Artist of the Year, and earning 10 CMT Music Awards, there’s no question why Shelton is one of the most respected singers in the country genre.

2. Toby Keith

One of the most well-known country singers, songwriters, actors, and record producers is Toby Keith. He began his musical career back in 1993 and has increased in popularity ever since.

Keith was clearly bound for stardom when his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1993. It became the most-played country song of the decade. Soon after, Keith released songs and albums that sold or charted well.

This did not go unnoticed for in 2011, the American Country Awards named him “Artist of the Decade.” Years later, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

With all these accolades, it’s hard not to expect more from this Clinton, Oklahoma native.

3. Chet Baker

Our next musician on the list is certainly a talented jazz trumpet player and vocalist. Chet Baker was born in 1929 in Yale, Oklahoma, in a musical household. Unlike his father, who had to stop being a musician and get a regular job to support his family, Baker was given an opportunity to follow his dreams.

His early musical years started after falling in love with the trumpet as a child. And his interest in jazz began while serving in the United States Army. After he was discharged, he pursued a music career.

Baker was with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet when people started to take notice of him. The group often performed at jazz clubs in Los Angeles.

Between 1953 and 1956, Baker released his first albums. He also beat fellow trumpeters Miles Davis and Clifford Brown in several reader’s polls. He was declared the top jazz vocalist in 1954.

Baker rose to prominence, being called the “Prince of Cool” due to his innovations in cool jazz. But that climb has been riddled with substance abuse. In fact, he remained addicted for years until his death. Despite his issues with drug use, he still performed in the 1970s until his death in 1988.

4. Reba McEntire

Also coming from a musical family is Reba McEntire. She is a female country music singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and businesswoman who took over the musical world by storm.

McEntire wasn’t called the “Queen of Country” for nothing. A hundred of her singles appeared on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Twenty-five of these were top-spot placers. Throughout her career, she had more than 75 million records sold worldwide.

After her start in 1975, McEntire has not slowed down. With hit songs in the country and gospel genres, she can play the piano, strum the guitar, and sing catchy melodies.

She’s produced countless singles and albums. These include top ten country songs, number-one Billboard country singles, and Grammy-Award-winning albums.

She took a hiatus in the early 2000s and made a comeback in 2003. Switching to a new record label in 2008 proved beneficial as it further revitalized her career.

McEntire might be in her late 60s as of this writing, but she is not slowing down. This new era in her life witnessed her collaboration with several big names in the music industry. One thing’s for sure. She’ll continue to make music like she always does.

5. Garth Brooks

The name Garth Brooks is well-known in the world of country music. This Tulsa, Oklahoma native is one of the best-selling artists, selling more than 170 million records worldwide. But more than that, Brooks achieved fame for combining rock and pop with country.

Brooks had his career beginnings in 1985 by singing and playing the guitar in bars and clubs. His breakthrough came several years later with his debut album which reached #2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums. His 1989 song, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” was his first chart-topper.

His most successful album was No Fences, selling 18 million in the US alone. The album contained his signature song, “Friends in Low Places.”

Since his career beginnings, Brooks released 23 records and 67 singles. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified diamond nine of his albums. He is the only musician to do so.

Broks also won numerous awards throughout his career. He has two Grammy Awards and 17 American Music Awards. In 2012, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Curious about some lesser-known facts about Brooks? Well, he broke one of the biggest country music records of all time, and he broke his ACM Awards record!

6. Carrie Underwood

Our next musician, Carrie Underwood, is one of the biggest names in the world of music. She is not just a singer, but a songwriter, author, and actress as well.

Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1983. She almost gave up on her dream of singing, thinking it was more important to be more practical in preparation for the real world.

Underwood’s singing career began when she won the popular show, American Idol. Shortly after, she released her debut single “Inside Your Heaven.” It was a smash hit that debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. RIAA certified it gold after selling almost a million copies.

This was followed by more successful singles and albums that charted well. Some of her most popular songs include “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Before He Cheats,” and “Wasted.”

Underwood is truly a successful artist, selling 85 million records worldwide. She is the only female artist having the most #1 entries on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. She has won eight Grammy Awards, 17 American Music Awards, and five Guinness World Records.

7. Vince Gill

Next up we have Vince Gill, born in Norman, Oklahoma in 1957. He is a male country-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His fame was brought on by the right combination of excellent guitar playing and songwriting, and his tenor voice.

The late 1970s witnessed Gill’s rise to fame. He released hit albums that have topped the Hot Country Songs on Billboard and earned 18 Country Music Awards (CMA). By 2018, he had won the most Grammy Awards by a country artist.

With these accolades to his name, it is no wonder he was inducted into halls of fame. In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Country Music Hall of Fame. And in 2012, the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Some of the songs that brought him success are “When I Call Your Name,” “I Still Believe In You,” and “One More Last Chance.” Throughout Gill’s career, he has sold over 26 million albums. That shows he has come a long way since the day he began performing bluegrass with his high school band.

8. Kings of Leon

The American rock band Kings of Leon consists of the Followill brothers – Caleb, Nathan, and Jared – and their cousin, Matthew. Though the band was formed in Tennessee, Nathan was born in Oklahoma. He and his brothers also spent time growing up in Oklahoma.

The band rose to prominence in the early 2000s with their blend of Southern rock, alternative rock, and garage rock influences. They gained international recognition with their album, Only by the Night. It propelled them to mainstream success and earned them several Grammy Awards.

The band’s sound has evolved over the years. Their subsequent albums showcased a mix of rock, indie, and arena-ready soundscapes. Some of their other popular songs include “Notion,” “Radioactive,” and “The Bucket.”

Kings of Leon continue to create and perform music. They continue to prove why they are one of the prominent rock bands of the 21st century.

9. Hanson

Those who were around in the late 1990s witnessed Hanson‘s rise to fame. This pop-rock band consists of brothers Isaac (guitar and vocals), Taylor (keyboard and vocals), and Zac (drums). The band hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Isaac and Taylor were born. Zac was born in Virginia but was raised in Oklahoma.

The band released the independent album MMMBop in 1996, which contained the original version of “MMMBop.” After being signed into Mercury Records, the band released the song as part of their debut commercial album Middle of Nowhere.

With “MMMBop,” the boys took the world by storm with their picturesque blonde hair and young faces. The Hanson brothers became the stuff of every young girl’s dreams all over the world.

Capitalizing on their fame, the band went on successful tours and continued holding shows and releasing albums. These include their most recent ones, Against the World and Red Green Blue.

The band has been nominated and won numerous awards over the years. Their “MMMBop” won the MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Song. They also won the Favorite Song and Favorite Music Group categories at the Kids’ Choice Awards.

Related: Learn about other famous brothers who sing together here.

10. Lee Hazlewood

Another Oklahoma-born musician on our list is Lee Hazlewood. He was a record producer, country and pop singer, and songwriter known for his work between the 1950s and 1970s. He was credited with contributing to the “cowboy psychedelia” sound. This genre is apparently a fusion of Western and psych-rock.

It was his partnership with the rock and roll guitarist Duane Eddy and singer Nancy Sinatra that solidified his career. With Eddy, they produced hit instrumental records. Some of the very successful ones include “(Dance with the) Guitar Man,” “Rebel-‘Rouser,” and “Shazam!”

Hazlewood gained even more recognition for writing and producing the Nancy Sinatra #1 hit “These Boots are Made for Walkin’.” In the following years, Hazlewood would write more songs for her.

In 1967, they had a duet in “Some Velvet Morning.” In the same year, he produced the hit single “Something Stupid,” a duet by Nancy with her father Frank Sinatra.

Hazlewood died after a successful career in 2007. But his legacy lives on in the songs he wrote or produced and which various artists recorded throughout the years.

11. Tyson Ritter (The All-American Rejects)

Those who are familiar with the rock band The All-American Rejects will know that its frontman, Tyson Ritter, was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Aside from being the lead vocalist, he is also the pianist and lyricist for the band.

In high school, Ritter met his would-be band members. The All-American Rejects was born in 1999 in Stillwater. They switched labels a few times until Epitaph Records picked them up.

Ritter helped the band achieve success with the release of their self-titled debut album. RIAA certified it platinum.

Their most successful single is “Gives You Hell,” which RIAA certified four-times multi-platinum. It sold more than four million in the US alone. In addition, the song reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Throughout the band’s career, they have released four albums. They sold 10 million albums worldwide. They headlined their “Wet Hot All-American Summer” tour starting April 2023.

12. Joe Diffie

The American country music singer Joe Diffie came to popularity in the late ’90s and early 2000s. He was born in 1958 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in a musical family.

Diffie’s music was characterized by his distinctive voice and sometimes lighthearted lyrics. He was known for his ability to blend traditional country elements with a modern edge. This helped him appeal to a wide audience.

Diffie’s successful career includes 12 studio albums and 38 singles. Many of these charted well on the country music charts. Some of his well-known songs include “Pickup Man,” “John Deere Green,” and “Bigger than the Beatles.”

His contributions to country music were recognized with numerous awards and accolades. These include a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1998. He was also a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a prestigious honor in the country music community.

Diffie’s untimely passing was a significant loss to the country’s music industry. But his music continues to be celebrated and enjoyed by many, which was a fitting tribute to such a great musician.

13. J.J. Cale

The American musician and songwriter John Weldon Cale, known as J.J. Cale, deserves a spot on our list. He was born in December 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Cale was a well-known figure in the music industry, particularly in blues, country, and Americana. His music encompassed a laid-back and distinctive style. This was often characterized by his relaxed vocals, intricate guitar work, and a fusion of various genres.

With such a distinct sound and style, he has worked with many hit artists such as Eric Clapton and Neil Young. One of his most famous compositions is “After Midnight,” which was later covered and popularized by Clapton. His other notable songs include “Call Me the Breeze” and “Magnolia.”

His combination of rock with other genres made him an influential figure in the music industry until his death in 2013.

14. Patti Page

Born Clara Ann Fowler, Patti Page was an American singer and actress born in Claremore, Oklahoma. She became popular for her melodic voice and versatile singing style. Page was also known for her ability to perform in various genres, including pop and country.

With big-selling hits, Page had a fabulous career between 1946 and 2012. One of her most enduring hits is “Tennessee Waltz,” which became her signature song and remains a classic today.

Page was also a versatile performer, recording country music, jazz, and even rock and roll. Her vocal range allowed her to captivate audiences across various musical styles.

She received numerous accolades throughout her career, including Grammy Awards. She was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

15. Sandi Patty

Our next musician has been dubbed “The Voice” because of her powerful soprano. Sandi Patty, born Sandra Faye Patty, is a Christian music singer born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Patty gained prominence in contemporary Christian music during the 1980s and 1990s. Her music encompassed a variety of styles, including pop, gospel, and worship music.

Throughout her career, Patty released numerous albums, achieving critical acclaim and commercial success. Some of her most popular songs are “Via Dolorosa,” “In the Name of the Lord,” and “More Than Wonderful.”

She received numerous awards as well, including five Grammys and more than 40 Dove Awards. This is the highest honor in Christian music. She also managed over 200 concerts per year.

Patty’s contributions to Christian music have solidified her status as one of the genre’s most influential and beloved figures. Her powerful voice and heartfelt performances continue to inspire and uplift listeners.

16. Woody Guthrie

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie was an American folk singer, songwriter, and musician. He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in folk music.

Guthrie’s music focused on themes of social justice, labor rights, and political activism. His songs reflected the struggles and experiences of ordinary people. Some of these include “This Land Is Your Land,” “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On,” and “Grand Coulee Dam.”

What made Guthrie different is his storytelling style. He used simple and direct lyrics to convey powerful messages. His performances were characterized by his raw and authentic delivery, accompanied by his acoustic guitar.

Guthrie’s influence extends far beyond his lifetime. In fact, his music inspired countless artists, including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

His legacy as a champion of the common people and his impact on American folk music continues to be revered to this day.

17. Jason Boland

Finally, we have Jason Boland, an American country music singer and songwriter. Born in Harrah, Oklahoma, he is known for his traditional and outlaw country sound.

His music career began in the late 1990s when he formed the band Jason Boland & The Stragglers. The band was known for their energetic live performances and raw, authentic sound.

Throughout his career with the band, Boland has released several albums. These include Pearl Snaps (1999), Somewhere in the Middle (2004), and Dark and Dirty Mile (2013). His music incorporates elements of honky-tonk, Western swing, and rock influences. These create a unique blend that appeals to both traditional country music fans and those seeking a contemporary twist.

Boland continues to tour with the band and record new music. They maintain their reputation as influential figures in the Texas and Red Dirt music communities.

Summing Up Our List Of Musicians From Oklahoma

Oklahoma has certainly churned out some of the biggest names in the world of music. They are known for their homegrown attitude, country twang, and lyrical prowess.

With catchy tunes and plenty of young talent, it is no wonder that this state has produced dozens of top-selling musical artists.

From the traditional country music of Woody Guthrie to the belting voice of Carrie Underwood, we hope you find your new favorite musician from our list.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.