17 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Musicians From Oklahoma

Last updated

Despite being a less-populated central state in America, Oklahoma has churned out hundreds of popular and well-liked musicians over the years! Ranging from Blues to Rock music, Oklahoma is known for its creative artists and hit songs that people still sing until 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. 

1. Blake Shelton

First up we have Blake Shelton who is an American singer born in Ada, Oklahoma in 1976.

With over 10 million records sold worldwide, it is no wonder his name is so well-known in 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, Blake Shelton is one of the most respected singers in the country genre. 

2. Toby Keith

Next up we have Toby Keith, who is a well-known country singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer born in 1961.

Hailing from Clinton, Oklahoma, Keith began his musical career back in 1993 — and has increased in popularity ever since.

With his latest albums of Bullets in the Gun, That Don’t Make me a Bad Guy, Clancy’s Tavern, Hope on the Rocks, Drinks After Work, and 35 MPH Town, Ketoh continues to make hit albums with his new label, Show Dog Nashville. 

3. Chet Baker

Next up, we have Chet Baker who was an American jazz trumpet player and vocalist born on in 1929.

Called the “prince of cool” during his time composing and playing the trumpet, flugelhorn, and piano, Baker rose to prominence between 1949 and 1988.

His early musical years started after falling in love with the trumpet as a child. Once he discovered his talent and affinity for the trumpet, he joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, released his first popular albums between 1953 and 1956, and started acting with the flick Hell’s Horizon in 1955. 

Unfortunately, his decline was riddled with drug abuse and substance problems. He began using heroin in 1957 and remained addicted for the years until his death.

Despite his issues with violence and heroin use, he still performed in the 1970s until his death in 1988 after falling from a building.

4. Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire is a female country music singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and businesswoman who took over the TV and musical world by storm.

After her start in 1975, Reba has not slowed down, but only managed to speed up her fame and musical career.

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, including various top ten country songs, number-one Billboard country singles, and Grammy-Award-winning albums.

After she took a hiatus in 2002 from her musical career, she made a comeback and record label switch during the years 2003 and 2015, which revitalized her career. 

5. Garth Brooks 

Troyal Brooks, also known as Garth Brooks, is an American singer-songwriter known for his ten-barrel hat and quintessential country hits!

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1962, Brooks combines rock into pop music to create musical singles, high-ranking albums and crosses over into the pop world as a country artist. 

Curious about some lesser-known facts about Brooks? Well, he was the 65th member to join the Grand Ole Opry, broke one of the biggest country music records of all time, and he broke his ACM Awards record! 

6. Carrie Underwood

6th we have Carrie Underwood who is an American singer, songwriter, author, and actress born in Muskogee in 1983.

After winning American Idol and gaining immediate fame, she is one of the most widely-known female artists.

She was the only country artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100 chart, produce successful debut singles, and become the best-selling female debut album in country music history. 

7. Vince Gill

Next up we have Vince Gill who is a male country-rock singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist focusing mainly on playing the guitar and mandolin.

Rising to fame in the late 1970s, Gill put out hit albums that have topped the Hot Country Songs on BIllboard and earned 18 CMA Awards by the county Music Association.

With numerous Grammys and CMAs to his name, it is no wonder he was finally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in early 2007.

He began performing bluegrass with his high school band during his early life. Enjoying the excitement from performing, he moved to Los Angeles to join a blue dance band after school.

He found his footing in Los Angeles, earning the lead singing spot for the country-rock band Pure Prairie League. 

Throughout his later years after his initial recognition, he made hit albums in the 1980s and experimented with electric and acoustic guitar albums in the 1990s and 2000s. 

8. Nathan and Matthew Followill (Kings of Leon)

Kings of Leon is an American rock band formed in 1999, with two cousins — Nathan and Matthew Followill — both key members of the band.

With an early style of garage rock mixed with blues, the Kings of Leon soon turned to more alternative rock and saw their fame skyrocket in the early 2000s. 

After earning critical recognition between 203 and 2006, the Kings of Leon churned out hit albums like Because of the Times and ONly by Night in the following years, entering numerous Brit, Grammarly, MTV Europe music, and Sweden GAFFA Awards. 

9. Taylor and Isaac Hanson

Hanson was an American pop rock band from Tulsa, formed by Isaac Hanson on the guitar and vocals, Taylor Hanson on the keyboard and vocals, and Zac Hanson on drums.

After releasing their first breakout album in 1995 called Boomerang, the MMMBOP album in 1996 took the world by storm, with their picturesque blonde hair and young faces, Hanson became well known by teenage girls all over the world. 

After taking a break from their music between 2010-2013 and 2014-2017, Hanson has continued churning out albums in recent years, with names like Finally It’s Christmas, String Theory, and their new album, Against the World in 2021.

Plus, they have been nominated and won numerous awards over the years.

Hanson has won titles from the MTV Europe Music Awards, Japan Gold Disc Awards, ECHO Awards, Kids Choice Awards, and NARM Awards.

10. Lee Hazelwood

Barton Lee HAzelwood, also known as just Lee Hazelwood, was a record producer, country singer, songwriter, and pop singer known for his work between the 1950s and 1970s.

Working with star-studded performers like Duane Eddy and Nancy Sinatra, Hazelwood had a low voice that made his tone stand out among the rest.

Ranked as a member as one of the top duos of all time according to Rolling Stone Magazine, Hazelwood died after a successful career on August 4 of 2007 at 78 years old. 

11. Tyson Ritter (All American Rejects)

Composed of four members (Tyson Ritter, Nick Wheeler, Mike Kennerty, and Chris Gaylor), Ritter is arguably the most famous due to him being the primary lyricist.

Born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Ritter helped him and his bandmates achieve success after their debut album, The All-American Rejects in 2003. 

12. Joe Diffie

Joe Logan Diffie, known as Joe Diffie, was an American country music singer and songwriter who could play the guitar and carry a tune.

Active between 1989 and 2020, his over 30-year music career involved earning spots on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, releasing multiple albums, and co-writing hits with Tim McGraw and other stars. 

After releasing seven different studio albums, he continued his work with bluegrass inspiration and co-wrote songs with Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean.

Unfortunately, Joe Diffie passed away on March 29, 2020, due to Covid-19 complications. 

13. J.J. Cale 

John Weldon Cale, known as J.J. Cale was an American musician, songwriter, and producer who predominantly sang Americana, Cajun blues, swamp rock, Red Dirt, Tulsa sound, and country rock music during his career.

With such a distinct sound and style, he has worked with numerous hit artists such as Eric Clapton and Neil Young. 

With a specific focus on Tulsa rock style, he has incorporated unique elements into otherwise-traditional styles of country and jazz.

His combination of rock with other genres made him an influential figure in the music industry until his death on July 26 of 2013 at 74 in La Jolla, California. 

14. Patti Page

Clara Ann Fowler, known as Patti Page, was an American singer and actress known for her traditional pop and country songs.

Born on November 8 of 1927 in Claremore, Oklahoma, Patti Page became the best-selling female artist in the 1950s.

With her big selling hits of With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming and Tennessee Waltz, Patti had a fabulous career between the years of 1946 and 2012.

Patti passed away in Encinitas, California on January 1, 2013, at age 85. 

15. Sandi Patty 

Sandi Patty is an American Christian music and country singer who is a gifted pianist and vocalist.

Active since 1978, Patty was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1965 and has since had a successful singing career.

Patty won various GMA Dove Awards, created inspiring singles, and managed over 200 concerts per year while she was on tour.

Sandi Patty fans should listen to ‘Another Time…Another Place’, arguably one of her best albums. 

16. Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie was an American singer, songwriter, and musician known for American folk music, protest music, country, and talking blues songs.

Featuring the hit “This Land is Your Land,” he is of the most respected and well-known folk music songwriters and singers to ever have lived.

His unique style, personality, and tone have influenced numerous artists after his time, like John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan.

Not only did Woody Guthrie build a legacy for himself with Bound for Glory and folk revival, but he helped with anti-war protests and peaceful songs to spur on unanimous beliefs during World War II before his death on October 3, 1967. 

17. Jason Boland

Jason Boland, known for being in the Jason Boland & The Stragglers band, is an American musician and lyricist who has been present since 1988.

With other band members, Boland has created numerous studio albums, hit singles, and live albums over the years. 

Summing Up Our List Of Great Musicians From Oklahoma

Oklahoma musicians are known for their homegrown attitude, country twang, and lyrical prowess. With catchy tunes, heartfelt sentiments, and plenty of young talent, it is no wonder that this state has produced dozens of top-selling musical artists.

Whether you are interested in the traditional country music of Woody Guthrie and Garth Brooks, or the belting voices of Carrie Underwood and the Kings of Leon, there is a musician for you.

You will love putting on some Oklahoma artists while cruising in your car, singing in the shower, or rockin’ out with your friends.

Photo of author
Written by Dan Farrant
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. Since then, he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.