Famous American Lyricists & Songwriters

How often have you been glued to a random song, shuffling and re-shuffling it, just because you relate to its lyrics so well? Lyrics are to a song what soul is to a body — it is the quintessence of good song. Music, irrespective of its genre, needs its poet. It is this lot of musical scribes who makes any song click with the crowd or make it sound so insanely good. Lyrics are how a layman relates to a song, given that music isn’t everyone’s ball game. All said, writing lyrics is a tricky business. Picking the right words that correctly communicates the feelings of a lyricist’s heart even while perfectly fitting into the tunes and beats of a song can be arduous. Good lyrics read like fine poetry, and many Neil Young or Bob Dylan fans would consider them no less than Shakespeare or Wordsworth. If you cherish great lyrics, you will love going through the biographies, trivia and facts of America’s famous lyricists and songwriters we have listed here for you.

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 Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish
17
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 18, 2001
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California

A young singer and songwriter who rose to international fame while still in her teens, Billie Eilish is blessed with a soprano vocal range and an ethereal voice. Already the recipient of numerous accolades, including five Grammy awards, she was named in Time magazine’s  inaugural "Time 100 Next" list in 2019.

 2 Eminem

Eminem
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Joseph

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.

 3 Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 9, 1999
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lithia Springs, Georgia, United States

 4 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Florida, United States
Died: July 3, 1971

Considered the prototypical rock star, Jim Morrison remains one of the most influential singer-songwriters, almost five decades after his death. Jim influenced the counterculture of the 1960s as he embodied the hippie counterculture rebellion. Due to his erratic performances and wild personality, he is regarded as one of the most iconic frontmen in rock history.

 5 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: The Bronx, 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.

 6 Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
2
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 21, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston
Died: March 20, 2020

Kenny Rogers was an American singer-songwriter. He is among the best-selling musicians of all-time list, having sold over 100 million records. His songs and albums remain influential among country music lovers. A multi-talented personality, Rogers was also successful as an actor and entrepreneur; he was the co-founder of the Kenny Rogers Roasters chain of restaurants.

 7 Khalid (Singer)

Khalid (Singer)
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 11, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fort Stewart, Georgia

Khalid is an American singer-songwriter whose work in Logic’s hit single 1-800-273-8255 earned him a nomination at the Grammy Awards. He has also received prestigious awards, such as Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Award, and American Music Awards. In 2019, he was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

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 8 XXXTentacion

XXXTentacion
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: January 23, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florida
Died: June 18, 2018

A rapper and singer, XXXTentacion, gained fame with the success of the song, Look at Me, and release of albums like 17 and ?. In his personal life, he faced multiple legal issues from the beginning. He was shot dead at the young age of 20. XXXTentacion had a cult following among the youth owing to his depression and alienation thematic driven music.

 9 Selena

Selena
7
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lake Jackson, Texas, United States
Died: March 31, 1995

Known as the queen of Tejano music, Selena became the most famous Mexican-American entertainers during the late 20th century, thanks to her contributions to fashion and music. She is one of the most influential Latin artists ever. Her rags-to-riches story, which includes struggle, fame, and finally death at the age of 23, was showcased in the 1997 film, Selena.

 10 Kevin Jonas

Kevin Jonas
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States

Musician, singer, and songwriter Kevin Jonas rose to fame as a member of the pop-rock band, the Jonas Brothers, with his younger brothers, Joe and Nick. Also an actor, he has appeared in many Disney Channel productions. He is involved in business ventures as well and is the founder of a construction company, JonasWerner.

 11 Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
2
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: November 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Died: September 18, 1970

One of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. As his career progressed, he became the first musician to use stereophonic phasing effects in recordings. Rolling Stone ranked him as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time. He died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27.

 12 Ava Max

Ava Max
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

 13 Diplo

Diplo
0
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: November 10, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tupelo, Mississippi, United States
Rapper, producer, and DJ Diplo is part of the duo Jack U, with Skrillex, and of the supergroup LSD, with Labrinth and Sia. He is also a co-creator of the electronic dance-music trio Major Lazer, with DJs Ape Drums and Walshy Fire. He owns a record company and a non-profit.

 14 DaBaby

DaBaby
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 22, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio

American rapper and songwriter DaBaby gained critical acclaim and commercial success with his debut album Baby on Baby. Later, his two other albums Kirk and Blame It on Baby became huge successes and made him one of the biggest rappers in the US. Earlier his single Light Show and Baby Talk series of mixtape attracted quite a lot of attention.

 15 Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

Actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian, Jamie Foxx became internationally famous for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, a role that earned him an Academy Award. He is also known for hosting his own television sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. Besides acting, he is also a Grammy Award-winning musician who has released four albums.

 16 Adam Levine

Adam Levine
2
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Three-time Grammy-winning Maroon 5 singer and guitarist Adam Levine had started his career with the band Kara's Flowers, which went defunct later. He has also judged the reality show The Voice. Adam owns a production company and a music label. He also has his own fragrance line and clothing collection.

 17 Saweetie

Saweetie
0
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 2, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Clara, Hayward, California

Saweetie is an American rapper gained recognition when she posted her debut single Icy Grl on SoundCloud. Subsequently, the video of the song broke the internet as it went on to gather 100 million views on YouTube. She was then signed by Warner Records, which increased her popularity. She is also signed to Artistry Worldwide, her manager Max Gousse's record label.

 18 NF (Nathan John Feuerstein)

NF (Nathan John Feuerstein)
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 30, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gladwin, Michigan
Rapper Nathan John Feuerstein, or NF (stylized as ИF), gained fame in the niche genre of Christian hip-hop. His albums Perception and The Search both charted on the Billboard 200. His single Let You Down was certified triple-platinum. His style has been influenced by the music of Eminem.

 19 Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper
0
Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: June 22, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City

Cyndi Lauper is an American singer-songwriter, activist, and actress. Apart from her distinctive appearance, Lauper is also known for her achievements; having won three of the four major entertainment awards (Grammy, Emmy, Tony), she is consistently named in lists like 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. Cyndi Lauper is also celebrated for her humanitarian work and charitable efforts.

 20 Chris Pérez

Chris Pérez
0
Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: August 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, United States
Guitarist Chris Pérez was married to Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla and performed as part of her band, Selena y Los Dinos. Following Selena’s murder by her own manager, Chris sank into depression. He later won a Grammy with the Chris Pérez Band and also wrote a book about Selena. 

 21 Luke Combs

Luke Combs
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 2, 1990
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Luke Combs is an American singer-songwriter. The two studio albums, which he has released so far, have produced nine number-one songs on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. In his relatively short country music career so far, Luke Combs has had a major impact by winning prestigious awards, such as Country Music Association Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.

 22 A.B. Quintanilla

A.B. Quintanilla
0
Famous As: Record Producer
Birthdate: December 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wapato, Washington, United States
A. B. Quintanilla is the brother of the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, who was murdered by her manager. He was part of the band Los Dinos, which included Selena, their other sister, and their father, and later Selena’s husband, too. He later went solo and released a few albums.

 23 DMX

DMX
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States

 24 John Legend

John Legend
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Springfield, Ohio, United States

John Legend is a singer, songwriter, actor, film producer and theatre director and his song All of Me from his fourth studio album was a Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit. He has released a host of successful albums. He has also won many awards, including an Oscar and a handful of Grammys. He is also an actor and a TV personality.

 25 Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 1, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee

The only child of the legendary singer and musician, Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley fought her addiction with drugs during her teens and later launched herself as singer-songwriter with her debut album To Whom It May Concern. It was followed by two more commercially and critically successful albums. Lisa Marie Presley has also earned appreciation for her numerous philanthropic work.

 26 Sean Combs

Sean Combs
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning hip-hop legend Sean Combs, known to fans as Puffy, Puff Daddy, or Diddy, started off as a talent director with Uptown and then launched his own record label. His debut album, No Way Out, was certified 7Xplatinum, and his song I'll Be Missing You topped the Billboard charts. 

 27 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones
4
Famous As: Musician, Conductor, Producer, Arranger, Composer, Film Composer
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: 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.

 28 Fergie

Fergie
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hacienda Heights, California, United States
Fergie soared to fame as part of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, which has delivered hits such as Boom Boom Pow. She was initially a child star in Kids Incorporated. She has also released solo hits such as Big Girls Don't Cry and owns a line of fragrances. 

 29 Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 16, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Chance the Rapper is best known for his Billboard-charting mixtape Coloring Book, which was the first streaming-only album to earn a Grammy. An avid social activist in Chicago, he owns the non-profit SocialWorks. He is known for his signature style of wearing a cap with the number "3" on it.

 30 Ice-T

Ice-T
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: February 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, and actor, Ice-T is known for his fusion music that combines elements of rock and hip hop. Beginning his career as an underground rapper in the 1980s, he went on to release many albums that were commercially and critically successful. He is also an actor and voice actor.

 31 Meek Mill

Meek Mill
2
Famous As: Hip-hop Artist
Birthdate: May 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: South Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Rapper Meek Mill initially performed with the group The Bloodhoundz. His debut album was featured at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. He has released Billboard-charting tracks such as Amen and Going Bad, both featuring Drake. His brushes with the law inspired the documentary Free Meek.

 32 Kesha

Kesha
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Kesha is an American singer-songwriter. Having sold more than 134 million records, Kesha is one of the best-selling singers of her generation. As a songwriter, she has contributed to the success of songs recorded by artists like Britney Spears, Miranda Cosgrove, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande. As an openly bisexual musician, she serves as an inspiration to the LGBT community.

 33 Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda
9
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
The multiple award winning actor, composer, lyricist, singer and playwright, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has transformed Broadway musicals like never before by combining classic musical theatre with modern musical forms like hip-hop and salsa. His creation Hamilton, a hip-hop musical on Alexander Hamilton, is one of the biggest musicals of all time.

 34 Lil Peep

Lil Peep
11
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 1, 1996
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Died: November 15, 2017

Hailed as the leading figure of the emo rap scene of the mid-late 2010s, Lil Peep went on to inspire many youth subcultures. Peep achieved tremendous success in less than three years' time. In his personal life though, he struggled with mental health conditions. He died at the age of 21 due to an accidental overdose of drugs.

 35 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.

 36 Cardi B

Cardi B
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 11, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Rap legend Cardi B rose from being an exotic dancer and internet celebrity to being featured on Forbes and Time 100. Her triple-platinum-certified debut album, Invasion of Privacy, topped the Billboard 200. She was the only female solo artist to win the Grammy for the Best Rap Album.

 37 NBA YoungBoy

NBA YoungBoy
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 20, 1999
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

NBA YoungBoy is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He garnered a cult following between 2015 and 2017, during which he released eight successful, independent mixtapes. Rated highly among America's most controversial rappers, NBA YoungBoy has been arrested on a couple of occasions for charges, including attempted first degree murder.

 38 Young Thug

Young Thug
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Young Thug, is considered to be one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Famous for his eccentric vocal style, he has inspired many others in the music industry. His debut studio album peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 and earned him international fame.

 39 Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx
2
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 11, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Jose, California, U.S

Nikki Sixx, the co-founder, songwriter, and bassist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, has also worked with side bands such as Sixx:A.M. Sixx owns a clothing line, has been part of radio shows such as Sixx Sense, and has written a bestselling memoir. He is also a talented photographer.

 40 Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday
7
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 7, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: July 17, 1959
Jazz legend Billie Holiday had a tumultuous childhood and ended up in prison due to prostitution. Upon her release, at 14, she started singing using her pseudonym and performed at sold-out Carnegie Hall shows. Nicknamed Lady Day, she was riddled with alcohol and drug issues. She won four posthumous Grammys.

 41 Eazy-E

Eazy-E
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Compton, California
Died: March 26, 1995

Widely regarded as the godfather of gangsta rap, Eazy-E was a rapper and record producer. He played a major role in popularizing gangsta rap and West Coast rap by forming N.W.A, which is considered one of the most influential and greatest hip hop groups of all time. Eazy-E died at the age of 30 after being diagnosed with AIDS.

 42 Halsey

Halsey
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1994
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Washington, New Jersey

Halsey is an American singer and songwriter. She serves as an inspiration to several aspiring singers as she became a professional singer after posting self-released music on the internet. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Also an activist, Halsey has been involved in racial justice protests and suicide prevention programs.

 43 Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California

Regarded as one of the most acclaimed musical artists of his generation, Frank Ocean is recognized for his unconventional production techniques and wide vocal range. He is credited with revitalizing and popularizing jazz and funk-influenced R&B. He is also regarded as a representative of alternative R&B. He was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.

 44 Lizzo

Lizzo
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Three-time Grammy-winning rap and hip-hop sensation Lizzo is also a queer and body-positivity icon. She began singing with groups such as The Chalice and Grrrl Prty, and graced the Billboard 200 with the album Cuz I Love You. Time’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo is also a talented flute-player.

 45 ASAP Rocky

ASAP Rocky
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York
Rapper ASAP Rocky gained fame with his debut mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP. He released two consecutive Billboard 200-topping albums, Long. Live. ASAP and At. Long. Last. A$AP. Fans loved his Grammy-nominated single Fuckin' Problems. He also produces using the pseudonym Lord Flacko and is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob.

 46 Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Singer and songwriter, Lana Del Rey broke into the world of music when her debut single, Video Games, became viral in 2011. She then gained international fame with her debut album Born to Die in 2012. Over the years, she has released a numerous chart-topping albums. Violet Bent Backwards over the Grass, a collection of poetry, is her first book.

 47 Paul Simon

Paul Simon
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
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.

 48 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
13
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana
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.  

 49 Future (Rapper)

Future (Rapper)
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kirkwood, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Future is an American rapper, record producer, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with founding a record label named Freebandz. Having released many gold-certified singles and albums, Future is a popular rapper and his music is often characterized as trap music.

 50 Christina Grimmie

Christina Grimmie
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 12, 1994
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marlton, Evesham Township, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 10, 2016

Christina Grimmie was an American singer-songwriter, actress, and YouTuber. She was fatally shot in 2016 when she was signing autographs after performing at The Plaza Live in Florida. Following her murder, celebrities demanded better security measures at concert venues and Billboard published an open letter demanding background checks for gun purchases. Several venues observed safety precautions like adding metal detectors.