Aside from comfort food and that famous Southern Hospitality, Atlanta has one other thing it’s intensely proud of—its musical legacy. You don’t need to delve deep into the city’s history to get to know Atlanta’s musical side: this primer will get you acquainted with Atlanta’s best musical acts ever, from past to present.
A City of Different Genres
Atlanta’s music industry is diverse, a melting pot of different genres that, from time to time, mix with each other to make music that is unique and proudly Atlantan.
Back in the day, Atlanta was widely considered the center for country music, with Fiddlin’ John Carson at the center stage. Today, the strings and ballads of country music has given way for another powerhouse. The 80s marked the time of pop and new wave in Atlanta, with bands such as The Brains and The Raves making waves in the city.
Today, people consider Atlanta as the capital of hip-hop, R&B, and gospel music. Hip-hop has especially shot Atlanta to astronomical heights in the music industry as several prominent contemporary hip-hop artists hail from the city. To make the music industry and life in Atlanta even more exciting, the city is also home to a lively indie rock and live music scene.
Atlanta’s Most Famous Musicians and Artists Across the Years
- Fiddlin’ John Carson – One of the earliest recorded country musicians in the country, Fiddlin’ John Carson made his name in Atlanta with a fiddle on his hand, thus his name. He was popular in the 1920s and well until the 1930s and is considered one of the most influential country musicians of the time.
- Manchester Orchestra – A popular fixture at major music festivals, indie rock band Manchester Orchestra hails from Atlanta. Since their formation in 2004, the band has produced five studio albums and several EPs.
- Indigo Girls – Formed in 1985, the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers started out as high school musicians. Now, they’re a fixture in the folk rock scene with a Grammy Award under their belt. So far, they have released 15 studio albums, three live albums, and five compilation albums.
- OutKast – One of hip-hop’s premier acts, Outkast is composed of Atlanta rappers Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. They started out in 1991 and is widely considered as one of the greatest hip-hop acts of all time, having won six Grammy Awards and widespread critical acclaim.
- Usher – Although R&B singer Usher was born in Dallas, his music career bloomed in the city of Atlanta. Ever since his success in R&B, Usher has branched out to other ventures, dabbling in music production, philanthropy, acting, business, and even politics. He is considered as one of the best selling music artists of all time.
- India.Arie – India Arie Simpson, known as India.Arie, is a prominent R&B and neo-soul singer, songwriter, and record producer. India.Arie has since collected four Grammy Awards and has received 21 nominations from the award-giving body.