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Celebrating Black History Month: Top 10 U.S. States Based on Their Contributions to Music

Everyone knows that music is universal and it's a central component in American culture. In the song, "Music," written by pop legend Madonna, she says, "Music makes the people come together," which exemplifies how this art affects people or things in this world.

Music is a creative art form for singers, arrangers, composers, producers, rappers, and more to express themselves freely. Music is defined as an agreeable sound that has structure and continuity. Music is indicated in such a way that it produces beautiful harmonies and rhythmic tones and it has the ability to bring out the artist's emotions in a four or five minute song.

But have we ever thought about the states that has played such an important role in music? There are popular music venues and/or artists, who have paved the way for other artists to have successful careers in the industry. So for Black History Month, Singersroom decided to acknowledge the Top 10 states that are considered to be the "building blocks" for artists to have longevity in their careers.

Each state shows a great variety of musical sounds and we list them one by one.

Here is our list!

Indiana

Indiana

The musical composition in Indiana began when German and Irish immigrants arrived in the 1830's. Back in the 1920's, jazz was a popular genre. However, the genre that Indiana natives are really fascinated with is Indianapolis hip-hop soul because the artists that are labeled in this genre respect the musical styles from New York and Chicago. Several skillful artists and producers were born in Indiana, including Michael & Janet Jackson, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, gospel singer Sandi Patty, and Lonni Mack. The Impact of artists like MJ, Janet and Babyface are significant to the American music culture.

Florida

Florida

In the "sunshine" state, there are many musical genres, especially in Miami. Miami has been the number one city in Florida for music since the 1970's with Criteria Studios when they began working on the album, Hotel California by the Eagles. Bellamy Brothers are also known for composing country music in Miami as well. But the music scene in Florida took a different direction when rappers from Liberty City made their grand entrance. These artists are Trick Daddy, Trina, Cool & Dre, Rick Ross, and Ace Hood. Another rapper from North Florida by the name of T-Pain popularized the auto-tune sound in music.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the home of "Philly soul music," because noteworthy musical acts such as Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Gamble & Huff, and The O' Jays are known for making soul music come alive in Philadelphia. Also hip-hop and R&B are popular musical elements in Pennsylvania because of Boyz II Men, Will Smith, Eve, Beanie Siegel, Jazzy Jeff, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and the Roots.

Minnesota

Minnesota

Music critics would like to call Minnesota the "center state" for R&B music because it all started in the 1980's when Prince made his musical debut in 1978. Prince, Morris Day & The Time, Wendy & Lisa, Vanity 6, Alexander O' Neal, and Mint Condition added a funk, rock, and disco-influenced style in their music, which opened the doors for other Midwest artists to stand out in the business. Also, legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis started their own production company after being fired from Prince's band. As you can see, their production led them to much greater heights because they started working with many artists, including Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, New Edition, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Patti Labelle, and Sounds of Blackness.

Virginia

Virginia

Virginia is another state that is also recognized for its' diverse music, especially in Richmond, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg. Many jazz and blues artists are from Virginia such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ruth Brown, Robert Cray, and Don Pullen. Also, pop-rock band, Dave Matthews Band, is also from Virginia. On the R&B and hip-hop spectrum, Missy Elliott and Timbaland are considered to be the "musical visionaries" in hip-hop due to their creativity in lyrics, production, and in video. Other R&B acts including Trey Songz, Chris Brown, and D' Angelo. Lastly, you have to include Grammy award winning producer, Pharrell and his producing partner, Chad Hugo. The two friends from Virginia Beach changed the dynamics of music because they brought their distinctive and electro-funk sound in hip-hop, R&B, and pop music.

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois is a state that is not afraid to pay homage to their musical roots. It is the state that has enhanced Chicago-style blues, jazz, and house music. Delta blues introduced the Chicago-style blues music during World War II in clubs. The stouthearted sound created another genre, rock-n-roll, due to the electric guitar. Jazz artists Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock originated from Illinois as well. Hip-hop music is also dominant in Chicago thanks to Common, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Twista, and Lupe Fiasco. R. Kelly is the most successful R&B act in Chicago, selling 60 million albums worldwide – he is also a 3X Grammy award winner, and a prolific songwriter after releasing 12 successful solo albums.

Georgia

Georgia

The music in Georgia is notable because Southern groups such as Outkast and TLC changed the world of music with their musical sound. Outkast is one of the most successful rap groups that originated from Georgia. TLC is the number one selling female R&B group in history. Also, Country is a vast genre in Georgia because of Gladys Knight, Otis Redding, and James Brown. Little Richard, another iconic figure in R&B music, made his debut by performing at clubs in Georgia. But, Georgia natives also paid attention to Ray Charles' legacy as an artist because he was the one that reinvented soul music by conjoining it with country, R&B, jazz, and the blues. He wasn't afraid to take risks as a musician and thanks to him, more artists in Georgia want to be diverse in their music. In the 90's and 2000's more urban artists stepped on the scene such as Xscape, Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Lloyd, Monica, 112, and Ludacris.

California

California

You can attach the words film, music, and art to the California state. Hip-hop and punk rock is essential in California, especially during the 1980's. "Gangsta Rap" was and still is a prominent genre because of the mass destruction that occurred in Compton, Long Beach, Oakland, and South Central. Rap group N.W.A (Ni**as With Attitude) and rapper Ice-T are the forefathers of gangsta rap. Even though the lyrics in the song were explosive and raunchy, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E and many more spoke about the harsh realities of living in California. Their music informed fans that everything is not "peachy-creamy" in the gold state. Other California MCs' including Cypress Hill, Yo-Yo, Warren G, and Snoop Dogg allowed gangsta rap to be on top of the charts in the early 90's.

Michigan

Michigan

The most influential city in Michigan is Detroit, because it is known as the "state of the art" place for individuals that want to pursue music as a career. From 1959-2007, the popular music genres in Detroit were techno, punk rock, and of course the Motown sound. Motown Records dominated the musical world and many acts including Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson were signed to the legendary record label. Moreover, if the musician or producer wasn't from Detroit originally, they moved there so they can have a better shot at earning super-stardom. Berry Gordy said in many interviews that if it wasn't for Smokey Robinson, Motown may have never be existed. Fortune Records, an independent record label that was launched in Detroit, was known for its doo-wop, gospel, rock, and blues sound. Jack and Devora Brown owned the record label and acts such as Nolan Strong and Andre Williams.

New York

New York

New York, also known as "The Big Apple," is a state that has been known for its popular music since the 1960's. The musical genres that are heavy in New York are hip-hop, jazz, blues, rock, salsa, classical, and rhythm and blues. New York is an important destination for salsa musicians because it is considered to be their "birthplace." Salsa music in New York was a way for Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans to come together as one. Also, New York City is an eminent place for hip-hop music, and artists like Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, and the Sugarhill Gang allowed the musical genre to receive mainstream success. In the 80s, musical pioneer, Teddy Riley, introduced a term in music dubbed, "new jack swing," which incorporates hip-hop beats with contemporary R&B. Throughout the 90s, rappers like Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious BIG, Junior Mafia, Ja Rule, DMX, and Lil' Kim showed their musical talents to the world. Several talented R&B artists are from New York such as Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Maxwell, Kelly Price, or the late Aaliyah. In addition, there are various musical venues that people visit when in New York, including Radio City Music Hall, Apollo Theater, BB King Blues Club & Grill, The Iridium, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, or S.O.B's. Tourists also can watch a Broadway musical/play to soak up NY’s musical culture.

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