Folk Singers

Different countries all across the globe offer a different musical flavor with folk music keeping the essence of each culture alive. Folk singers are regional singers who represent the culture and tradition of a region and have been carrying it forward for centuries. Evolving since 20th century, folk singers have kept history alive and today their music is gaining even more popularity. Historically, singing during work and carrying out chores, Folk singers did not have a traditional book to pass on these songs. However, eventually some of them created albums and CDs to find a wider audience. In nations where there are many immigrants, Folk Singers pass on their culture to the younger generation like the Punjabi Canadians and Greek Australians. Their songs are today considered important piece of art and are slowly being reinvented for the present day audiences. From India to China and from the Balkans to the Celtics, every country and region has their own folk singers and music which is a reminder of home and family. Folk singers have made it possible to keep our roots alive and cherish the music which is our own. Enter this site to read more about famous Folk Singers. Discover interesting trivia, life histories and facts from their biographies.

More From Folk Singers

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 John Denver

John Denver.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: December 31, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Roswell, New Mexico, United States
Died: October 12, 1997

John Denver was one of the highest-selling and most popular singers during the 1970s. He was known for folk, pop and country music. Some of his greatest songs are Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High, Sunshine on My Shoulders and Annie's Song. He died when a plane he was piloting crashed in California.

 2 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westmount
Died: November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was one of the most popular Canadian celebrities of all time. After starting his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard went on to become a famous singer-songwriter, exploring themes like sexuality, religion, depression, and romantic relationships in his work. Leonard Cohen was one of the inspirations for Steven Clark and Matthew Bissonnette's 2002 film Looking for Leonard.

 3 Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

British singer, Cat Stevens, has released more than 15 studio albums and has churned out many hit songs. He converted to Islam in 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam. He was slammed for reportedly backing the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie. He has also been accused of allegedly having ties with terrorist organisations, a charge he has vehemently denied.

 4 Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort 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.  

 5 Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

A four-time Grammy Award-winning artist, singer Tracy Chapman is best known for her hit single, Give Me One Reason. Interested in music from a young age, she learned to play multiple instruments as a child. She made her major-stage debut in 1985 and soon became a sensational hit. She is also known for her social activism.

 6 John Prine

John Prine
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maywood, Illinois, United States
Died: April 7, 2020
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 7 Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte
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Famous As: Singer, Actor, Stage actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Harlem
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 8 Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot.
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orillia
Canadian folk-rock sensation Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. is best known for his chart-topping tracks such as If You Could Read My Mind and Ribbon of Darkness. He set the tone for the folk-pop genre in the 1960s and 1970s. The 16-time Juno-winner has earned the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
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 9 Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: July 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Okemah, Oklahoma, United States
Died: October 3, 1967
Legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie is best remembered for his songs such as This Land Is Your Land and Cocaine Blues, and the concept album Dust Bowl Ballads. He inspired artists such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and performed with a guitar labeled “This machine kills fascists.”

 10 Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt.
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Famous As: Singer & Songwriter
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas
Died: January 1, 1997

Country singer Townes Van Zandt is remembered for his melancholy and lyrical tracks. His hits such as Pancho and Lefty and To Live Is to Fly have influenced many artists of subsequent generations. He struggled with depression and spent a considerable part of his life in cheap shacks and motels.

 11 Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger.
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Famous As: American singer
Birthdate: May 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: January 27, 2014

Pete Seeger was an American social activist and folk singer. Seeger believed that the power of music could bring about a social change, an ideology that reflected on his works. Through his music, Seeger expressed his support towards counterculture, civil rights, environmental rights, international disarmament, and workers rights.

 12 Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is known for his songs that have prominent social themes and talk about his anti-war sentiments or about social injustice. Two of his most popular tracks are Alice's Restaurant Massacree, Massachusetts, and City of New Orleans. He has also starred in films such as Alice's Restaurant.
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 13 Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City
Died: July 16, 1981
Grammy-winning folk rock and pop rock singer Harry Chapin was one of the highest-paid artists of the 1970s, known for tracks such as Cat's in the Cradle. An avid philanthropist, he was part of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He also won a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

 14 Judy Collins

Judy Collins
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Famous As: Singer, Street artist, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: May 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seattle
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 15 Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brownsville, Texas, United States

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.

 16 Mary Travers

Mary Travers.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: September 16, 2009

Mary Travers was an American singer and songwriter. She was part of Peter, Paul and Mary, one of the most successful and popular folk music groups of the 1960s. Apart from working with the music group, Travers released five solo albums. In 1999, she was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as part of the group.

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 17 Paul Simon

Paul Simon.
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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.

 18 Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt.
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter, Musician
Birthdate: July 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tucson, Arizona, U.S.

One of the world's best-selling music artists ever, Linda Ronstadt has sold over 100 million records worldwide. She performed in diverse genres, including Latin, light opera, rock, and country. She is also one of the most decorated female music artists of all time, having won prestigious awards, such as the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.

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 19 Deborah Ryan

Deborah Ryan.
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Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: May 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama

Deborah Ryan is an American singer and actress who started her career as a child artist before going on to establish herself as a successful adult actress in the TV and film industry. A multi-talented personality, Ryan can also play the guitar, keyboard, and piano. Also a well-known philanthropist, Ryan has been working on various causes, such as ocean conservation.

 20 Jewel

Jewel
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Payson, Utah, United States
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 21 Cass Elliot

Cass Elliot.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Died: July 29, 1974

Cass Elliot was a popular American singer and actress. As part of the famous folk-rock vocal group The Mamas and the Papas, Cass Elliot played an important role in influencing the counterculture of the 1960s and its music scene. She had a great impact on the American entertainment industry of the 1960s.

 22 Sandy Denny

Sandy Denny
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: April 21, 1978

 23 Van Morrison

Van Morrison.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Irish singer, Van Morrison, garnered recognition in the 1960s while playing with the band, Them, and then later as a solo singer with the 1967 song Brown Eyed Girl. Over the years, he has released more than 40 albums. Astral Weeks, Moondance, Wavelength, Down the Road and Keep It Simple are some of his acclaimed and commercially successful albums.

 24 Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom.
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Famous As: Multi-instrumentalist
Birthdate: January 18, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nevada City, California

Joanna Newsom is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actress. Noted for her unique musical style, Newsom's early work was influenced by polyrhythms. She is one of the most important members of the modern freak folk and psychedelic folk movement. Newsom is also noted for her songwriting, which incorporates elements of avant-garde modernism and Appalachian music.

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 25 Agnetha Faltskog

Agnetha Faltskog.
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Famous As: Swedish musician
Birthdate: April 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jönköping, Sweden
Swedish singer Agnetha Fältskog was part of the iconic pop group ABBA, along with her husband, Bjorn Ulvaeus. After the group disbanded, Fältskog launched a solo career and also appeared in a film. She released an album in 2004, after a 16-year hiatus, and then again in 2013.

 26 Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 17, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Ed Sheeran is one of the most popular English singer-songwriters of the current generation. His songs Castle on the Hill and Shape of You from his third studio album broke records in several countries. He is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, having sold over 150 million records worldwide.

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 27 James Blunt

James Blunt.
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Birthdate: February 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Five-time Grammy nominee James Blunt topped international charts with his single You're Beautiful. His album Back to Bedlam recorded the highest sales in the U.K. in the 2000s. He is also concerned about climate change and is known for screening the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth before his concerts.

 28 Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson.
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Famous As: Musician, Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: April 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Notting Hill Gate, London

 29 Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash.
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Famous As: Country Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
Died: September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash, the American singer, songwriter and actor, was known for sorrow, moral suffering and redemption themes in his music. His genre was country, rock and roll, blues, folk and gospel sounds and he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Cash had issues with drinking and drug abuse. Later he was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.

 30 Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, USA
Died: April 9, 1976

 31 Pink

Pink.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: oylestown, Pennsylvania, United States

Pink is an American singer-songwriter known for her acrobatic stage presence and raspy voice. Having sold more than 90 million records worldwide, Pink is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. A recipient of several prestigious awards, Pink was named in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music list. Her work has inspired many other artists like Taylor Swift.

 32 Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado.
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Birthdate: December 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Victoria

Nelly Furtado is a Portuguese-Canadian record producer and singer-songwriter. Known for her constant reinvention and musical versatility, Furtado is one of the most successful musical artists from Canada, having sold more than 40 million records. Her work has also inspired fellow musicians like Dua Lipa and Bridgit Mendler. Also a philanthropist, Furtado is a member of Artists Against Racism charity.

 33 Wilmer Valderrama

Wilmer Valderrama.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Miami, Florida
Wilmer Valderrama is best known for his Teen Choice Award-winning performance as Fez in That '70s Show. He has played prominent roles in NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, and The Ranch. He has also hosted the MTV series Yo Momma, released a single, and appeared in numerous music videos.

 34 George Ezra

George Ezra.
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: June 7, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hertford, Hertfordshire, England

George Ezra is an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He achieved popularity after releasing his debut album Wanted on Voyage, which peaked at number one in the UK. It was also one of the best-selling albums in the UK in the year 2014. In 2019, George Ezra was honored with the Brit Award under the British Male Solo Artist category.

 35 Roseanne Cash

Roseanne Cash
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

 36 Dimash Kudaibergen

Dimash Kudaibergen
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 24, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aktobe, Kazakhstan

 37 Pernell Roberts

Pernell Roberts.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 18, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Waycross, Georgia
Died: January 24, 2010
Pernell Roberts is best known as Adam Cartwright from the Western series Bonanza and Dr. John McIntyre from Trapper John, MD. He was also a prominent social activist and had participated in protests such as the Selma to Montgomery marches. He also narrated documentaries and experimented as a singer.

 38 Nick Drake

Nick Drake
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Guitarist, Composer
Birthdate: June 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yangon
Died: November 25, 1974

 39 Deborah Falconer

Deborah Falconer.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
Deborah Falconer has appeared in quite a few films, such as the comedy Pyrates and the biographical film The Doors. She also released music albums such as Untangle and Brave Like Me. She was previously married to actor Robert Downey Jr. and also had a son with him.

 40 Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 41 Avi Kaplan

Avi Kaplan.
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: April 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Visalia, California
Avi Kaplan gained fame as part of the three-time Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix, as their designated vocal bass. He later went solo with the EP Sage and Stone under the name "Avriel & the Sequoias." In 2019, he released the track Change on the Rise, as "Avi Kaplan."

 42 K. D. Lang

K. D. Lang .
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Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Grammy-winning Canadian pop and country singer Kathryn Dawn Lang, better known as K.D. Lang, has delivered hits such as Constant Craving. She is openly lesbian and a champion for LGBT rights and animal rights. She performed at the 1988 Winter Olympics closing ceremony and the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

 43 Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 44 Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lawrence County, Kentucky, United States

 45 Christina Perri

Christina Perri .
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 19, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Christina Perri is an American singer-songwriter whose debut album Lovestrong was certified platinum. She is also known for recording the popular love theme, A Thousand Years, for the movie, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Apart from releasing studio albums and extended plays, Christina Perri also headlines concert tours.

 46 Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann.
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Famous As: Alternative Artist
Birthdate: September 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Richmond

Aimee Mann is an American singer and songwriter whose song Save Me, which she recorded for the soundtrack of the film Magnolia, earned her a Grammy Award and Academy Award nomination. Apart from being a singer and songwriter, Aimee Mann has also made several appearances on film and television. She also appears on the albums of other artists.

 47 Passenger

Passenger
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Famous As: musician, singer-songwriter, singer
Birthdate: May 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brighton and Hove

 48 Justin Vernon

Justin Vernon
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States

 49 Sierra Deaton

Sierra Deaton.
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Famous As: Pop Singer
Birthdate: February 11, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 50 Lead Belly

Lead Belly
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 20, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mooringsport, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 6, 1949
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