Famous American Musicians

If you love your Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Bob Marley and cannot do without your daily dose of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, you have landed in the right page. America has been blessed enough to home a world of soul-stirring, mind-blowing, Grammy-worthy musicians whose innovative, mellifluous, energizing and eclectic music have inspired several generations of musical buffs. They are the musicians whom you will find on every music lover’s playlist — young or old. They are the musical trendsetters, timeless in their music, fame and appeal. They are the true force behind America’s music legacy. These are the music makers who have left something lasting behind — music that won’t wither with time. They are America’s real musical survivors. Read on to explore to mind-bending biographies, trivia and facts on America’s most famous, most celebrated, most heard musicians who continue to awe the music lovers to this day.

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
170
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
41
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.

 3 Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X
61
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 9, 1999
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lithia Springs, Georgia, United States

 4 Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain
28
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: February 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Washington, United States
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.

 5 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
20
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.

 6 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
23
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hell's Kitchen, New York, United States

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

 7 Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks
25
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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 8 Marshmello

Marshmello
32
Famous As: DJ & Music Producer
Birthdate: May 19, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Marshmello is an American DJ and electronic music producer. In 2017, he was named as one of the world's highest-paid DJs by Forbes magazine. He wears a custom helmet, which looks like a marshmallow, for public appearances, and his identity was unknown at the beginning of his career. He is also a well-known philanthropist and a generous donator.

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 9 Billy Joel

Billy Joel
6
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.

 10 Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell
5
Famous As: musician
Birthdate: July 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: May 18, 2017

Singer, songwriter, and musician Chris Cornell rose to fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. One of the key figures of the 1990s grunge movement, he also had a successful solo career. Unfortunately, he suffered from depression and died of suicide at the peak of his career.

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 11 Ray Charles

Ray Charles
10
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.

 12 Troyal Garth Brooks

Troyal Garth Brooks
5
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

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.

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 13 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison
8
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.

 14 Khalid (Singer)

Khalid (Singer)
10
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.

 15 Lizzo

Lizzo
22
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.

 16 Axl Rose

Axl Rose
4
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. 

 17 Prince

Prince
4
Famous As: African-American Singer
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.

 18 Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye
2
Famous As: Singer, Musician
Birthdate: April 2, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 1, 1984

American singer Marvin Gaye is one of the most successful black artists ever and his albums have sold in millions. His success reached great heights with the 1972 song What's Going On. The 1982 single Sexual Healing was the biggest hit of his career and was a chartbuster. He was tragically shot dead by his father after a family altercation.

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 19 Nina Simone

Nina Simone
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: February 21, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tryon
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.

 20 Hank Williams

Hank Williams
13
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musicians
Birthdate: September 17, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mount Olive, Alabama, United States
Died: January 1, 1953

Musician Hank Williams is widely considered one of the most influential and significant American singer-songwriters of the 20th century. Hank Williams influenced several singers, such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, and Charley Pride to name a few. Since his untimely death at the age of 29, many artists have released tribute albums honoring Hank Williams.  

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 21 Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
9
Famous As: Musicain & Singer
Birthdate: August 4, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 6, 1971

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter and singer who played an important role in the development of jazz. Thanks to his playing, trumpet became known as a solo instrument and jazz, which was previously known as a collectively improvised folk music, became a soloist's art form. Not surprisingly, Louis Armstrong is widely accepted as the embodiment of jazz. 

 22 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
12
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.

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 23 Carole King

Carole King
0
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.

 24 Meek Mill

Meek Mill
3
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.

 25 Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Guitarist
Birthdate: October 18, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry was an American singer-songwriter. Referred to as the Father of Rock and Roll, Berry is credited with pioneering rock and roll music. He is also credited with influencing the attitude with which the rock music lifestyle is usually associated. Also revered for his guitaring skills, Berry is often included in lists like the Greatest Artists of All Time.

 26 Paul Simon

Paul Simon
3
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.

 27 Sabrina Carpenter

Sabrina Carpenter
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 11, 1999
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

A Radio Disney Music Award winner, Sabrina Carpenter is a popular actress and singer. After finishing third in a singing contest called The Next Miley Cyrus Project, Sabrina landed acting roles before launching her music career. Although described as a teen pop singer, she has explored various other genres, such as country, folk pop, and acoustic.

 28 Christopher Maurice Brown

Christopher Maurice Brown
3
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tappahannock

 29 Ava Max

Ava Max
5
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 16, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

 30 Saweetie

Saweetie
7
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.

 31 Brandy Norwood

Brandy Norwood
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Actor, Record producer
Birthdate: February 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: McComb, Mississippi, United States

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.

 32 Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
11
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.

 33 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 20, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii
Died: June 26, 1997

 34 Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor
1
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 10, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York

R&B and hip-hop singer Teyana Taylor gained fame with MTV's My Super Sweet 16. She signed with Kanye West’s label and also appeared on the reality show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. In December 2020, she announced her retirement from music through Instagram.

 35 Roddy Ricch

Roddy Ricch
10
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 22, 1998
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States

Trap sensation Roddy Ricch is best known for his mixtape Feed Tha Streets II, which featured the Billboard Hot 100-charting track Die Young. Nipsey Hussle's track Racks in the Middle, featuring Ricch, got him a Grammy Award. Fans also loved Ricch's Hot 100-topping single The Box from his debut album.

 36 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
64
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.  

 37 Billie Joe Armstrong

Billy Joe Armstrong
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, 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.

 38 James Hetfield

James Hetfield
0
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.

 39 Tyler Joseph

Tyler Joseph
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Tyler Joseph is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is credited with forming the popular musical duo Twenty One Pilots, for which he serves as the frontman. He has several awards under his belt, including a Grammy Award, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and iHeartRadio Music Awards.

 40 Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton
3
Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 41 Miles Davis

Miles Davis
0
Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 

 42 Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oildale, California, United States
Died: April 6, 2016
Country singer Merle Haggard initially gained fame performing with The Strangers. He had several brushes with the law in his younger days, before he launched his music career. His songs reflected the angst of the working class. He won several accolades, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

 43 Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis
2
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.

 44 Post Malone

Post Malone
11
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 4, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York

Much appreciated for his introspective songwriting, singer-songwriter, Post Malone ,is the first-ever solo artist to top both the Billboard Rap Airplay and Adult Contemporary charts as a lead artist. His music covers a range of genres including country, grunge, rap, and R&B. He has been accused of  "appropriating" African-American culture and has been called a “culture vulture".

 45 Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
4
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

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.

 

 46 Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York

Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress. Having sold 80 million records worldwide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary is credited with influencing the fusion of R&B and hip hop. She often gets featured in lists like The 100 Greatest Women in Music.

 47 Travis Barker

Travis Barker
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: November 14, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fontana, California

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is known for his mohawk and tattoos. He has also been part of bands such as The Transplants+44, and Box Car Racer, and starred in the reality series Meet the Barkers. He owns a record label and a clothing brand, and has written a memoir.

 48 Vince Neil

Vince Neil
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States

Vince Neil, lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, had a successful solo career too, with albums such as Tattoos & Tequila. He owns several businesses, including a tattoo parlor and a vineyard. He was imprisoned for vehicular manslaughter in the death of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle.

 49 Diplo

Diplo
3
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.

 50 2 Chainz

2 Chainz
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: College Park, Georgia, United States

2 Chainz is an American rapper, media personality, songwriter, and basketball player. One-half of the now-defunct hip hop duo Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz is credited with founding The Real University, his own independent record label. Also an entrepreneur, 2 Chainz owns Dabbing Sweaters, his own line of sweaters, and CEO Millionaires, a line of hoodies.