21st Century Musicians

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Musicians, including Dulce María, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Taj Mahal and Eminem

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Eminem

Eminem
94
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States

Amongst the biggest rappers of all time, Eminem gained worldwide popularity with the release of albums like The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP. His subsequent albums became huge successes further making him a bigger sensation and one of the bestselling music artists of all time. His fame greatly inspired other white rappers to succeed in popular music.

 2 Prince

Prince
47
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: April 21, 2016

Singer-songwriter, dancer, and musician, Prince is is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. He was considered a guitar virtuoso and could also play several other instruments. With worldwide sales of over 150 million records, he is ranked among the best-selling music artists of all time. He was also well known for his flamboyant persona.

 3 Elton John

Elton John
60
Famous As: Singer, Composer
Birthdate: March 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pinner, England
The supremely gifted English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Elton John has entertained music lovers globally since the 1970s. His phenomenal talent make him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Not to forget his tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind 1997, which till date is one of the best-selling singles in the UK and the US.
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 4 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
38
Famous As: Singer & Activist
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

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 5 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
19
Famous As: Singer & Songwriter
Birthdate: May 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Singer-songwriter and author, Bob Dylan, is widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Active in the music industry for almost six decades, he is a major pop culture icon who introduced a range of political, social, and literary influences to pop music. He is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 6 Jay-Z

Jay-Z
20
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jay-Z is an American rapper and songwriter and is one of the world's best-selling music artists. His debut album Reasonable Doubt was hugely successful in 1996 and since then he has gone on to release many more acclaimed and successful albums. He has been charged with assaulting a record executive and was given a three-year probation sentence in January 2000.

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 7 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
15
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

American singer and songwriter, Stevie Wonder, is one of most influential and the best-selling musicians of all time. That Girl, Gotta Have You, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Part-Time Lover and Happy Birthday are some of his chartbuster songs. He has won many awards and accolades, including 25 Grammy Awards.

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 8 Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks
44
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Stevie Nicks is a songwriter and vocalist with the British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac. She also performs solo and is known for her unique voice. She has numerous hits to her credit and her records have sold in millions. She has won many awards, including the Grammy and was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by the Rolling Stone magazine.

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 9 Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre
23
Famous As: Rapper, Record producer, and entrepreneur
Birthdate: February 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States

Rapper, record producer, and audio engineer, Dr. Dre, is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. He is credited with the popularization of  West Coast G-funk, a sub-genre of hip hop. After establishing himself in the music industry, he promoted the careers of many other rappers, including 2Pac and Snoop Dogg.

 10 Madonna

Madonna
9
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bay City, Michigan, United States

Often called the Queen of Pop, Madonna is considered one of the most popular and influential personalities in popular culture. Having sold more than 300 million records, she is the best-selling female musician of all time. Often featured in lists like the Greatest Artists of All Time, Madonna serves as an inspiration to many musicians, singers, and songwriters.

 11 Brian May

Brian May
23
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton, London, England

Queen guitarist and singer-songwriter Brian May is also a PhD in astrophysics. One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Guitar World’s second-greatest guitarist, he received a CBE. He was a Chancellor of Liverpool at John Moores University, has worked with NASA, and fights for animal rights.

 12 Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton
21
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Locust Ridge, Tennessee, United States

Multifaceted personality, Dolly Parton is a singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, author and businesswoman and is known mainly for her work in country music. She has received various accolades and awards in her very successful singing career spanning several decades and has composed over 3,000 songs. She has also worked in several movies and is a prolific songwriter.

 13 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
22
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Popularly known as the Piano Man, Billy Joel is a singer-songwriter and musician. Having sold more than 150 million records worldwide, Billy is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He is also America's third best-selling solo artist and the sixth best-selling recording artist. He is also known for his multiple relationships with popular women.

 14 Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen
59
Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: January 26, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nijmegen
Died: October 6, 2020

Eddie Van Halen was an American songwriter and guitarist. The co-founder of the popular rock band Van Halen, Eddie is widely considered one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock music. He is credited with popularizing the tapping technique, which is now used extensively by guitarists all over the world.

 15 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
22
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 16 Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl
13
Famous As: Musician & Singer
Birthdate: January 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warren, Ohio, United States

Regarded as one of the most popular and influential rock musicians of the 1990s and 2000s, Dave Grohl is best known for his association with the famous rock band Nirvana, for which he was the drummer. Also a singer-songwriter, Dave Grohl was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

 17 Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton
22
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: March 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ripley, England

Eric Clapton, the rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time. In the 1970s, he recorded a number of successful solo albums and continued to do so over the next several decades and is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has had issues with alcohol and drugs.

 18 Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger
11
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dartford, England

Mick Jagger is widely regarded as one of the most influential frontmen in rock & roll history. Known for his energetic performances on-stage and multiple relationships off-stage, Mick is frequently portrayed as a countercultural figure. He is an inductee to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame.

 19 John Williams

John Williams
12
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Floral Park, New York, United States

John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.

 20 Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer
18
Famous As: Film score composer
Birthdate: September 12, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films so far. He developed a love for music as a child and started playing professionally when he was in his teens. He eventually ventured into films. He is the recipient of four Grammy Awards and three Classical BRIT Awards.

 21 Tom Petty

Tom Petty
11
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gainesville, Florida, United States
Died: October 2, 2017

A rock icon and creator of sprit-lifting songs, Thomas Earl Petty was one of the defining musicians of the 1970s and the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Writing songs and creating music up till his last breath, Petty is noted for positivity and self- liberation themed songs, a rarity in rock music.

 22 Finneas O'Connell

Finneas O'Connell
10
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 30, 1997
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Finneas O'Connell is an American singer-songwriter, actor, and record producer. He has played an important role in the success of his younger sister Billie Eilish's career as he has written and produced many of her popular songs. He has written and produced songs for other famous music artists as well.

 23 Phil Collins

Phil Collins
32
Famous As: Drummer, Singer
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiswick, Middlesex, London, United Kingdom

Phil Collins is best known for his work with the popular rock band Genesis. Having sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Phil is one of three recording artists who have sold more than 100 million records both as principal members of a band and as solo artists.

 24 Carole King

Carole King
9
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 9, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York

Carole King is an American singer-songwriter. As a songwriter, King has contributed immensely to the success of other singers and is widely regarded as one of the most successful female songwriters of the 20th century. In 2013, she became the first woman to be honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

 25 Axl Rose

Axl Rose
15
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 6, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer W. Axl Rose, being true to his rebel spirit, fled to Los Angeles on a bus at 17, before he co-founded the legendary hard rock band Guns N' Roses. Working as the lead vocalist/lyricist of the band, he soon became a global sex symbol. 

 26 Slash

Slash
19
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hampstead

Slash is an English-American songwriter, musician, and record producer. After achieving popularity as the lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses, Slash left the band to form Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock, Slash is often named in lists, such as the Top Guitarists of All Time.

 27 Bjork

Bjork
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Reykjavík, Iceland

Bjork is an Icelandic singer, record producer, songwriter, DJ, and actress. She is best known for her association with the now-defunct yet popular band, The Sugarcubes. The bestselling Icelandic singer-songwriter of all time, Bjork was named in Time magazine's most influential people in the world list in 2015. Over the course of her illustrious career, Bjork has received several awards.

 28 Sting

Sting
14
Famous As: Musician & Singer
Birthdate: October 2, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wallsend, England

Sting is an English singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. Credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Police, Sting played an important role in the band's success from 1977 to 1984 during which he served as the band's bassist, lead singer, and principal songwriter. Also known for his work as an activist, Sting has shown interest in political and social issues.

 29 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page
12
Famous As: Musician, Record Producer
Birthdate: January 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heston, Middlesex, England

An English musician, songwriter, and record producer, Jimmy Page gained international recognition as the founder of the popular rock band Led Zeppelin. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest guitarists of all time, Jimmy Page was ranked third in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Jimmy Page has influenced several popular guitarists.

 30 Keith Richards

Keith Richards
19
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom

Keith Richards is a musician and songwriter. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular rock bands ever, The Rolling Stones. Also a guitarist, he was ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 best guitarists list in 2011. Richards' look and characterization inspired the character of Captain Teague who appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

 31 Neil Young

Neil Young
18
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: November 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

One of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers of all time, Neil Young has worked both solo as well with bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grammy award winning musician’s notable albums include After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Harvest Moon and Ragged Glory. He strongly backs environmental and disability issues too.

 32 Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr
34
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dingle, Liverpool, United Kingdom

English musician, singer, and songwriter, Ringo Starr, gained international fame as the drummer for the rock band, the Beatles. Raised by a single mother, he had a difficult childhood. He sought solace in music and it became his vocation. After finding success with the Beatles, he embarked on a solo career as well.

 33 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones
14
Famous As: Record Producer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Regarded as one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the previous century, Quincy Jones is known for his work with other legendary artists like Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. As the first African-American to find success at the Academy Awards ceremony, Quincy has influenced a host of black musicians and songwriters.

 34 Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 14, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, United States

Loretta Lynn is an American singer known for her groundbreaking contribution to country music. In a career spanning six decades, she has released multiple gold albums and has won Grammy Award thrice. Apart from being the most decorated female country singer, Loretta is also the only female Academy of Country Music (ACM) Artist of the Decade (the 1970s).

 35 Paul Simon

Paul Simon
16
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: 1991 AD
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

One half of the popular musical duo Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon is a singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters of all time. His career, which has spanned more than 60 years, has been so influential that Time named him among the 100 People Who Shaped the World in 2006.

 36 Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis
12
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States
Four-time Grammy-winner Jerry Lee Lewis, nicknamed “The Killer,” is best known for his track Great Balls of Fire. A controversy surrounding his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra destroyed his career. Named to Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, he was also part of the Million Dollar Quartet.

 37 Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: January 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Neil Diamond has sold more than 125 million records and has had 10 Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart-topping singles. The Lifetime Achievement Grammy-winner was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His song Sweet Caroline was preserved in the National Recording Registry for being culturally relevant.

 38 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
75
Famous As: King of Pop
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 39 Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Macleod, Canada

Joni Mitchell is one of the most popular Canadian singer-songwriters. Widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, her songs reflect her feelings about joy, romance, disillusionment, and confusion. Apart from being a musician, Joni is also a visual artist who designs most of her album covers. In fact, she calls herself a painter derailed by circumstance.  

 40 James Hetfield

James Hetfield
12
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Downey, California, United States

James Hetfield is an American songwriter and musician. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular heavy metal bands of all time, Metallica. James Hetfield is often regarded as one of the greatest guitarists and vocalists ever. Since the 1980s, Hetfield has played a key role in the success of ESP Guitars, as one of its major endorsers.

 41 Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift
75
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: West Reading, Pennsylvania, United States

American pop and country music singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift is a multiple Grammy award winning artist who has inspired a number of hopeful musicians. A talented artist since a young age, she achieved success with her first single and debut album in 2006. Since then, the Fearless star has not looked back and also made her acting debut in 2009.

 42 Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson
9
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, United States

Brian Wilson is a singer-songwriter and record producer. He is credited with co-founding the popular rock band, The Beach Boys. Referred to as a genius, Wilson serves as an inspiration to several indie musicians. Regarded as one of the most significant songwriters of his generation, Wilson is often featured in lists, such as the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

 43 Bono

Bono
9
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
U2 frontman Bono he has earned more than 20 Grammys and has been named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the band. An avid philanthropist, he has also been associated with projects such as the ONE Campaign and Product Red, to aid countries such as Africa.

 44 Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong
20
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
Birthdate: February 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician and record producer. He is credited with co-founding and popularizing the rock band, Green Day. As a guitarist and vocalist, he has also contributed immensely to the success of the punk rock band Pinhead Gunpowder. In 1997, Armstrong founded Adeline Records to help support contemporary bands; the record company was closed in 2017.

 45 David Bowie

David Bowie
21
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 10, 2016

English singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Dubbed "The Greatest Rock Star Ever" by Rolling Stone magazine, he rose to international prominence in the 1970s with his innovative style of music. Deeply dedicated to his profession, he remained musically active until his death in 2016.

 46 Angus Young

Angus Young
11
Famous As: Co-founder & Lead Guitarist of the Hard Rock Band, AC/DC
Birthdate: March 31, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glasgow
Angus Young, AC/DC co-founder, lead guitarist, and songwriter, migrated to Australia at 13. After dropping out of school at 15, he started playing instruments. Named the Best Australian Guitarist of All Time by Australian Guitar magazine, he is known for his uniform outfits and for reviving Chuck Berry's "duck walk."

 47 John Deacon

John Deacon
12
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oadby, United Kingdom
Former Queen bass guitarist and songwriter John Deacon contributed to some of the most popular hits of the band, such as I Want to Break Free and Another One Bites the Dust. He was the last member to enter the band, and the “quietest.” He retired in 1997.

 48 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
12
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

English singer-songwriter and musician, Paul McCartney, is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the rock band, the Beatles. He also enjoyed a successful solo career. Besides music, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes and animal rights issues.

 49 Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder
11
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 23, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States
Pearl Jam lead singer and guitarist Eddie Vedder went from being a hotel security guard to being ranked 7 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Best Lead Singers of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been a vocal supporter of environmental initiatives and abortion rights.

 50 Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh
11
Famous As: Guitarist, Singer
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States

Joe Walsh is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer. Over the years Walsh has contributed to the success of popular rock bands such as Eagles and James Gang. In 1998, he was made an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 54th on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.