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.

Vote for Your Favourite American Lyricists & Songwriters

 1 Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 9, 1999
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 2 Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain
2
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: February 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: April 5, 1994

Gaining fame as a member of the rock band Nirvana, singer-songwriter and musician Kurt Cobain was often heralded as a spokesman of Generation X. He is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock. He enjoyed tremendous professional success, but his personal life was troubled. He died of suicide at just 27.

 3 Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones
0
Famous As: Musician, Conductor, Producer, Arranger, Composer, Film Composer
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

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.

 4 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

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 Fergie

Fergie
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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. 

 7 Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 16, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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.
You May Like

 8 Meek Mill

Meek Mill
0
Famous As: Hip-hop Artist
Birthdate: May 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

 9 Ice-T

Ice-T
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: February 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

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.

 10 Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Popularly known as the Demon of Screamin, Steven Tyler is the lead singer of the famous rock band Aerosmith. Known for his high-energy performances, Tyler is named in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Singers. Also a well-known philanthropist, Tyler launched a non-profit organization called Janie's Fund and has helped raise more than $2.4 million for the organization.

 11 Paul Simon

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

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.

 12 Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: August 21, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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.

 13 Kesha

Kesha
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

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.

 14 Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

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.

 15 ASAP Rocky

ASAP Rocky
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.

 16 Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
0
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: October 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Snoop Dogg is a famous American rapper whose life is a perfect example of rags-to-riches story. As a child, he did various odd jobs to help his family make ends meet. He started rapping as a young boy to distract himself from his unstable family life. He ran into trouble with the law as a teenager. However, once he released his debut album, there was no looking back.

 

 17 Eazy-E

Eazy-E
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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.

 18 Troyal Garth Brooks

Troyal Garth Brooks
0
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Troyal Garth Brooks is an American singer-songwriter. Having sold over 170 million records worldwide, Brooks is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. He is also the best-selling solo albums musician in the US. Also known for his charitable activities, Garth Brooks established the Teammates for Kids Foundation in 1999, which provides financial support to charities for kids.

 19 Khalid (Singer)

Khalid (Singer)
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 11, 1998
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

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.

 20 Danielle Bregoli

Danielle Bregoli
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 26, 2003
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 21 Young Thug

Young Thug
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

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.

 22 NBA YoungBoy

NBA YoungBoy
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 20, 1999
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

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.

 23 Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx
0
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 11, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

 24 Selena

Selena
7
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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.

 25 Akon

Akon
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Akon is one of the most successful R&B, hip hop and rap singers in the world. His albums Trouble, Konvicted, Freedom, El Negreeto and Akonda have many chartbusters songs. He has also founded record labels Akonik Label Group, KonLive Distribution and Konvict Mizik. He courted controversy in 2007 for an onstage act involving simulated sex with a 15-year-old girl.

 26 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

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.

 27 Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
2
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: November 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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.

 28 Lil Xan

Lil Xan
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 6, 1996
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Mexican-American rapper Nicholas Diego Leanos, better known by his pseudonym, "Lil Xan," soared to fame with his platinum-certified track Betrayed from his album Total Xanarchy. His stage name is the shortened form of Xanax, another name for the drug alprazolam, which is why he once considered using the nickname "Diego."

 29 Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

 30 DaBaby

DaBaby
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 22, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

 31 Nina Simone

Nina Simone
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: February 21, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: April 21, 2003

Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Nina Simone was a pioneering recording artist whose career was characterized by improvisational genius and fits of outrage. Nina continues to be an important musician and has influenced several artists like Elton John, Adele, David Bowie, Madonna, and Aretha Franklin. She was also a civil rights activist.

 32 Kevin Jonas

Kevin Jonas
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

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.

 33 Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: April 23, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: December 6, 1988
Six-time Grammy-winner Texan rocker Roy Orbison gained fame with songs such as Oh, Pretty Woman and Drove All Night. His shyness and stage fright made him dye his hair black and wear sunglasses. The "Caruso of Rock" was part of the Traveling Wilburys, along with legends such as Bob Dylan.

 34 Carole King

Carole King
0
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 9, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

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.

 35 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 20, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: June 26, 1997

 36 Lizzo

Lizzo
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

 37 Emmy Rossum

Emmy Rossum
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

Actress and singer-songwriter, Emmy Rossum, is best known for her portrayal of Fiona Gallagher in the TV series Shameless. Beginning her career as a child actress in the 1990s, she began taking up more mature roles in her teens. As a singer, she has released two albums and an EP and has also provided vocals to many collaborative singles.

 38 Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic
0
Famous As: Music Producer, Actor
Birthdate: October 23, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Five-time Grammy-winning artist Al Yankovic, or “Weird Al,” is known for his parodies of popular tracks and his trademark accordion. His hits include Eat It and Like a Surgeon, parodies of hits by Michael Jackson and Madonna, respectively. He has appeared in The Weird Al Show and written children's books.

 39 Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.

 40 Mark Salling

Mark Salling
0
Famous As: Actor, Musician
Birthdate: August 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: January 30, 2018

Beginning his career as a child actor, American actor, Mark Salling, gained fame with his portrayal of musically-inclined football star Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman’ in television series Glee. The actor, who was also a singer and musician, was arrested for possessing images of child pornography. He pleaded guilty but before his court sentencing, he was found dead from asphyxia by hanging.

 41 Michael Peña

Michael Peña
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Michael Peña is best known as Kiki Camarena from Netflix's Narcos: Mexico. He has also played significant roles in End of Watch, American Hustle, Ant-Man, and Crash. He delivered an award-winning performance in the HBO film Walkout and also scored a Billboard-charting song, Beast, with his band Nico Vega.

 42 Jewel

Jewel
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 43 Diplo

Diplo
0
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: November 10, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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.

 44 Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 23, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
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.

 45 DMX

DMX
0
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 46 Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: February 3, 1959

Widely regarded as the pioneer of Latin rock and Chicano rock, Ritchie Valens was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. Since his untimely death at the age of 17, Ritchie Valens has inspired several musicians and bands like Carlos Santana, Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos. Valens also inspired Robert Quine, Jimi Hendrix, Keith O'Conner Murphy, and Chris Montez among others.

 47 Ava Max

Ava Max
0
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 48 Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 19, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Starting her career as a cheerleader, Paula Abdul went on to choreograph music videos for Janet Jackson. She then tried her hand at singing-songwriting and released a highly successful debut studio album. Also an award-winning actress, Paula was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also appeared in TV shows like American Idol.

 49 Brandy Norwood

Brandy Norwood
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Actor, Record producer
Birthdate: February 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

The singer of chartbuster songs like The Boy Is Mine, I Wanna be Down and Sittin' Up in My Room, Brandy Norwood is known for her raspy and husky voice. Most of her songs are about love, relationships and heartache. She was involved in a car accident in 2006, leading to multiple lawsuits, which were eventually settled out of court.

 50 Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Kris Kristofferson is a popular singer-songwriter and actor. Over the years, Kris has played a major role in the success of many famous singers, having contributed to their musical albums as a songwriter. For his achievements in the field of music, Kris Kristofferson was made a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2004.