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The First Permanent English Settlement In What Is Now The USA

State Spotlight


Became a state on..... June 25, 1788

Southern Genres..... Folk, Country, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel, Spirituals, Jazz, R&B, Native American, Pop, Southern Rock, Rock & Roll, Mountain Music, Southern Hip-Hop, Hardcore Punk, Heavy Metal.

Virginia's musical contribution to American culture has been diverse, and includes Piedmont blues, folk, brass, hip-hop, and rock and roll bands. The origin of music from within the state is also diverse, including cities such as Richmond, college towns such as Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, and rural areas. Virginia's musical contribution to American culture has been diverse, and includes Piedmont blues, folk, brass, hip-hop, and rock and roll bands.

Virginia The State of Lovers

"The First State"

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first colonial possession established in mainland British America, and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2014 is over 8.3 million.

The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which Richmond was made the Confederate capital and Virginia's northwestern counties seceded to form the state of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

Music of Delaware

"State Song"

The song, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny", words and music by James Allen Bland, was adopted as the official state song of Virginia by the General Assembly with House Joint Resolution No. 10 in 1940.

Even as it was adopted, some expressed concern over the lyrics. In fact, the name of the song was changed from "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" to "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia", either at the time of adoption or perhaps in 1950 or 1966.

In 1970, Virginia Senator Douglas L. Wilder objected strongly to the song's lyrics with their romanticized view of slavery and worked to dethrone the song with little success. After being elected Governor of Virginia (1990-1994), he again initiated legislative efforts to retire the song.

In 1994, Senate Bill No. 231 was introduced, proposing to modify the words to the original song. Senate Bill No. 231 addressed words within the lyric considered to be offensive to some, but leaving most of the verses intact. Specifically, five words were addressed and changes suggested.

The story began with James Bland when he wrote "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" in 1878.

James "Jimmy" Allen Bland was born on October 22, 1854 in Flushing, Long Island, New York. When he was 12 and living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he saw an old black man playing a banjo and singing spirituals. He fell in love with the banjo and tried to make one using bailing wire for strings. This didn't work very well and, besides, a big kid took it and broke it into pieces. Jimmy's father bought him a real banjo for $8.00 and Jimmy taught himself to play... very well.

Later, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Jimmy finished high school and enrolled in Howard University. He was so talented and had become so proficient with the banjo that he was entertaining professionally at private parties and in hotels and restaurants from the time he was 14.

At Howard University, he met a young lady named Mannie Friend. On a trip with Mannie to her birthplace in Tidewater, Virginia, Alan Bland composed "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny". Sitting on the banks of the James River, Mannie wrote the words down on paper while Jimmy played and sang to her.

Though "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was the only song he wrote that became an official state song, he wrote many more memorable melodies in his lifetime; songs including "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers", "In the Evening by the Moonlight" and 700 others. For additional information about James Allen Bland visit the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the African-American Registry.

The Roots and Branches of Virginia Music

The Past is Present

Communities throughout Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region laid the roots of American folk music, blending English and Scots-Irish traditions with those of enslaved Africans, creating a New World sound now called old-time music. Old-time most often refers to the music of the country string band, but today the definition has expanded to include bluegrass, blues, gospel, and country music. The Folkways collection demonstrates the evolution of this iconic musical style over the past 400 years, showing Virginia to be home to some of the best in American musicianship.


music evolved from traditions brought by the first settlers from the Old World to North America. We can trace many modern genres of American music to the old-time string band. String bands formed when rural farming families called upon neighbors for assistance with labor-intensive tasks, such as harvests or barn raisings. In exchange for help, the host family hired local musicians to provide an evening dance. These gatherings were considered major events, and as many as fifty families might have attended. Because of their primary function as dance bands, old-time string bands are known for their strong, driving rhythms, and on recordings you often hear the sound of a foot pounding out the beat. String bands most often rely on a fiddle and banjo, representing the blending of Scots-Irish fiddle traditions with the African musical instruments and styles of the kora and banjar, West African ancestors of the banjo. "Soldier's Joy" is one of the best-known fiddle tunes of North America. Here it is played by Wade Ward, a remarkable banjo player from the Galax Independence area of Virginia, and Glen Smith on fiddle. While the origins of the string band rely on the meeting of these two instruments, it is not uncommon to hear an acoustic bass or rhythm guitar in the background, as you do in the Sunny Mountain Boys' "Cricket on the Hearth."


Bluegrass is a particular stylistic development in the string band tradition that made its appearance in the Southeast United States, especially Virginia, in the mid- to late 1940s. While old-time string bands can rely on a duo of a banjo and a fiddle, bluegrass depends on many more musicians and is played by various melody instruments (fiddle, bluegrass-banjo, acoustic guitar, upright bass, and mandolin) taking turns leading the melody line while the others play the general rhythm. These "breaks" often feature complex instrumental solos that showcase the performer's talent. In the Virginia Mountain Boys' version of "Clinch Mountain Breakdown" you will first hear a banjo, then a mandolin, fiddle, and guitar, each taking its turn as lead instrument. "Walkin' in My Sleep," by The Bluegrass Buddies, is a strong example of how the breaks in bluegrass songs were used for instrumental and vocal solos. The fiddle introduces the vocals, and the vocals fade back again to allow for yet another instrumental. Ralph Stanley, a National Heritage Fellowship winner who was born and raised in Virginia, is an influential figure in the history of bluegrass. "Rabbit in the Log" is an extraordinary example of the speed and complex stylistic elaboration for which bluegrass is known.

The Banjo

If asked to identify the instrument most commonly used for playing blues, most music-savvy people today would name the blues-guitar, but guitars were not popularly played until the late 1920s. Even then they were most often used as simple rhythm instruments. The banjo was the precursor of the guitar as the principal blues instrument. Dock Boggs, a white musician from West Norton, Virginia, played a banjo style and repertoire influenced by African American banjoists he met while working in the coal mines. The banjo-picking in his recording "Down South Blues" is similar to the guitar-picking that would later characterize country and Piedmont blues. The alternating-thumb base pattern and distinctive finger-picking style of blues are reminiscent of West African kora playing and earlier banjo styles, reflecting an African American musical tradition that preceded the blues style from the Mississippi Delta. John Jackson was an internationally known blues musician from Rappahannock County, Virginia, known for playing banjo in a strumming style similar to his graceful blues guitar playing heard here on "Railroad Bill." "John Henry" is a traditional African American ballad played here with a blues-guitar and harmonica by Piedmont blues duo John Cephas and Phil Wiggins.

The Past Is Present in Virginia Music

Music is an invaluable source for rich and detailed accounts of Virginia history; the lyrics of old-time songs bring the past into the present. "The Cyclone of Rye Cove," for example, tells the tragic tale of a tornado that leveled a schoolhouse in Scott County, Virginia, in 1929. "Coal Miner's Blues" relates the perils faced by miners on the border of southwestern Virginia and Kentucky, and the suffering their families underwent. Both songs were also performed by the famous Carter Family, who have a history of recording and playing in Virginia. Dock Boggs's "Danville Girl" is a ballad about an outlaw from that city.

Along with old-time string bands, bluegrass, and blues, Virginia's musical legacy includes ballad traditions, gospel, shout-bands, rock 'n' roll, and other types of music played by contemporary immigrants. The songs featured here represent only a few of the branches from the roots of Virginia's musical heritage, but they symbolize the important cultural encounters that occurred in Virginia and developed into a distinct American folk sound.

Blue Ridge Mountain Music

Southwest Virginia is, along with western North Carolina, part of the Blue Ridge area, home to a distinctive style of old-time music sometimes called mountain music, which is a vibrant tradition most famously celebrated through an annual series of festivals. Galax is a small town that is home to the Old Fiddlers' Convention, held since 1935; it is the largest and oldest festival of old-time Appalachian music in the country. The Convention has given Galax the nickname the "Capital of Old-Time Mountain Music". The Convention attracts upwards of 20,000 visitors to witness many of the most renowned American folk, country and bluegrass performers, as well as regional stars. Galax and the surrounding area has long been a rich part of American, and Virginian music, and is known for an intricate fiddling style and instrumental and vocal traditions; music collectors like Peter Seeger and Alan Lomax visited Galax and recorded the region's music.

Though the Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention is a major focal point for the Blue Ridge's vibrant folk music scene, the region is home to a major music festival season, which is inaugurated by the late March Fairview Ruritan Club Fiddlers' Convention, which hosts a major regional competition in several categories. Ferrum College in Ferrum, is home to the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, which has been held every October since 1973. The White Top Mountain-Mount Rogers area is home to the Wayne Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition, as well as a number of regional festivals, with mountain music as a major part of the White Top Mountain Molasses Festival, the White Top Mountain Maple Festival, and the White Top Mountain Ramp Festival. The aforementioned, FloydFest always features bluegrass and traditional Appalachian mountain music. Local mountain music festivals in Virginia abound in small towns like Fries, Wytheville, Troutdale, Vesta, Stuart, Bassett, Baywood and Elk Creek, as well as at the Grayson Highlands State Park near Mouth of Wilson.

Farther southwest, The Carter Family Fold, in the Carter Family hometown of Hiltons hosts an annual folk music festival as well as weekly concerts. Johnny Cash often visited the Hiltons area and The Fold with his wife, June Carter Cash. In fact, Johnny Cash's last public performance was at The Fold in the summer of 2003. The area around the Virginia and Kentucky border, folk, country and bluegrass remains a vital regional tradition. Norton is home to the Virginia Kentucky Opry and a historic music venue called the Country Cabin, while local festivals include the Doc Boggs Festival (in Wise), and the Ralph Stanley's Annual Memorial Weekend Bluegrass Festival.

Country Music

Virginia's contributions to country music include the legendary singer Patsy Cline, pioneering performers The Carter Family and Staunton's Statler Brothers, who were one of the most popular country acts in the country in the 1970s and 80s.

Bristol, TN/VA has been designated by Congress as the 'Birthplace of Country Music'. In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol, to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional "folk" music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family, which got its start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol to audition for Ralph Peer, who was seeking new talent for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded. That same visit by Peer to Bristol also resulted in the first recordings by Jimmie Rodgers. These 1927 sessions became known as the Big Bang of Country Music. Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about country music and the city's role in the creation of an entire music genre. Currently, the Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.

The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is held every September on State Street in Downtown Bristol and celebrates the city's contribution to country music. It has grown to become one of the more popular music festivals in Virginia and the Appalachia region, as close to 50,000 people attended the festival in 2012.

Hardcore Punk & Heavy Metal

The city of Richmond has long had one of the more active punk rock scenes on the East Coast. The city is perhaps best known for shock-punk-metal band GWAR, known for wild on-stage antics. GWAR grew out of Death Piggy, a hardcore punk band that followed in the footsteps of local scene leaders White Cross, Beex, and The Prevaricators. However Richmond punk became big with Avail. The Richmond punk scene grew, including: Inquisition, Fun Size, Knucklehed, Uphill Down, Four Walls Falling, The Social Dropouts, Ann Beretta, Sixer, River City High, BraceWar, Smoke or Fire (originally from Boston), Strike Anywhere,and many underground bands. Richmond punk is often mistakenly considered to be an offshoot of the D.C. scene, however Richmond punk bands have developed a unique sound, often influenced by country, folk, and southern rock (particularly prevalent in Avail, Sixer, and Ann Beretta, and to a lesser degree in Strike Anywhere). This is most likely due to the fact that Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy during most of the Civil War, is arguably the oldest and most lively punk scene in the South. Richmond punk has a close relationship with punk from Gainesville, Florida, particularly between Avail and the now-disbanded Hot Water Music. Other hardcore bands from Richmond included Unseen Force, God's Will, Graven Image, and Honor Role.

Richmond also has an active metal scene that includes, in addition to GWAR, Lamb of God, Alabama Thunderpussy, Municipal Waste. The metal scene is closely related the city's punk rockers, and, like the punks, there is a Southern influence in the music of Lamb of God and particularly in Alabama Thunderpussy. Richmond still harbors an extremely strong hardcore scene, emerging from the shadows of the mid 80's Four Walls Falling, Fed Up, Set Straight, Step Above, Count Me Out and Dead Serious. More recently a resurgence of old school hardcore punk has risen from Richmond with such bands as Direct Control, Government Warning, Wasted Time, etc. Richmond also has a small post-hardcore scene with bands such as Reminiscence, Wow, Owls! and Ultra Dolphins.

Virginia Venues & Institutions

For larger concerts and events, Virginia has the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow (marketed as D.C. for most tours), the Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach in Virginia Beach, the Richmond Coliseum, the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope. Vienna is home to the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the only National Park for the arts in the United States. Wolf Trap features a large outdoor amphitheater, the 7,000 seat Filene Center, as well as a smaller indoor venue called The Barns. The Old Dominion Opry is another major venue, located near Colonial Williamsburg, a popular tourist attraction.

Virginia's other prominent music venues include The Birchmere in Alexandria, a local country and bluegrass club where Mary Chapin Carpenter performed early in her career. The Landmark Theater in Richmond and the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk both host the Virginia Opera. Phase 2 (the former Cattle Annie's, but significantly remodeling in 2010) is a popular, large club venue in Lynchburg with a reputation for attracting prominent performers. Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs was once a farm that is now known for classical, jazz, and blues concerts with gourmet meals and views from the side of Warm Springs Mountain. The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary of summer concert in 2013 and continues to draw people to the tiny Shenandoah County village of Orkney Springs.

Richmond's 929 West Grace Street has housed a punk and rock-oriented club nearly uninterrupted for nearly three decades. Most famously known as Twisters throughout the 1990s, more recently the building has been known as Club 929, The Nanci Raygun, and Bagel Czar before re-opening in 2009 as Strange Matter. Like its predecessors, Strange Matter hosts up-and-coming local and national touring acts nearly every night. Alley Katz in Richmond continues to have regular shows. Toad's Place accommodated mid-sized bands in 2007 and 2008 but closed shortly after that time. Another mid-sized venue is The National, which holds around 1,500 people.

The Hampton Roads area also has several more intimate venues. The most prominent of them is the Norva Theatre, which is a small club-style venue for smaller to mid-size acts.

The Shenandoah Valley hosts a few smaller venues. The mockingbird in downtown Staunton hosted a 168-seat newly renovated grass roots and acoustic music hall, but closed early in 2013. Clementine café in downtown Harrisonburg has cemented itself as the premier venue in the valley.

In the Late 60's and the 70's, the Alexandria Roller Rink hosted many festival style concerts, among which, bands like Yes, Jethro Tull, and many others appeared.

Music festivals

FloydFest is a popular music festival which is not actually within Floyd County but in the county just next to Floyd called Patrick County. This is a bit of FloydFest trivia that mostly the locals know about. The festival began in 2002 and features camping and a wide range of music from bluegrass, rock, reggae, folk, zydeco, African, and Appalachian.

In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Richmond is hosted the National Folk Festival that features Virginia-area regional folk music as well as folk musicians from around the world. Many previous NFF sites have continued to conduct a regional folk festival when the NFF moves to the next site and Richmond has done the same in the form of the Richmond Folk Festival.

The Virginia Blues & Jazz Festival was started in 2006 at Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs. It is held each June and has featured national acts like Taj Mahal, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Eric Lindell.

The MACRoCk festival happens the beginning of April every year in Harrisonburg VA. It has featured national acts like MewithoutYou, Q and Not U, Fugazi, The Faint, Archers of Loaf, Dismemberment Plan, Sufjan Stevens, Prefuse 73, Mates of State, The Wrens, Converge, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Of Montreal, Norma Jean, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Superchunk, Elliott Smith,An Albatross, Coheed and Cambria, Avail,and Engine Down

Notable Virginia Music Artists

One of Virginia's most famous musical contributions is the country singer Patsy Cline. Several towns claim her as their own, including Gore and Winchester. Winchester is home to several Patsy Cline attractions, including a driving tour published by the local Chamber of Commerce, and the Kurtz Cultural Center/Old Town Visitor's Center, which shows various Cline memorabilia.

Jim & Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, Ralph Stanley, Hobart Smith, The Statler Brothers, and The Carter Family are award winning bluegrass and country music musicians from Virginia. Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey were both from Newport News. Hip hop and rhythm and blues acts like Missy Elliott, Timbaland, The Neptunes, Clipse, Chad Hugo, Nottz and Bink hail from the commonwealth. The Neptunes produced 43% of all songs on American radio in 2003. Singer-songwriters from Virginia include Jason Mraz and jam bands like the Pat McGee Band and Dave Matthews Band, who continue their strong charitable connection to Charlottesville, Virginia. Influential stage-rock group GWAR as well as heavy metal group Lamb of God began at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alternative Rock group Seven Mary Three formed at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

Blues & Jazz

Karen Briggs - improvising violinist (featured with Yanni), Portsmouth
Rob Brown - saxophonist and composer, Hampton
Ruth Brown - Multi-Platinum certified singer, songwriter, actress, musician, Portsmouth
Charlie Byrd - jazz guitarist, Suffolk
Robert Cray - Multi-Platinum certified blues guitarist, Newport News
Archie Edwards - Piedmont blues guitarist from Union Hall
Ella Fitzgerald - Multi-Platinum certified jazz singer, Newport News
Tiny Grimes - jazz and R&B guitarist, Newport News
Cliff Jackson - jazz stride pianist from Culpeper
John Jackson - Piedmont blues musician, Woodville
Tommy Newsom - musician in Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show Band, Portsmouth
Don Pullen - Multi-Platinum certified avant-garde jazz pianist from Roanoke
Keely Smith - jazz singer, actress, Louis Prima collaborator, Norfolk
Victor Wooten - bass virtuoso, member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, HamptonDavid Williams (Guitar) Newport News( Michael Jackson on Thriller, Billy Jean and More).
Everett Blood Hollins (Trumpet Hampton, Va)

Country / Bluegrass

Kenny Alphin - of the country group Big & Rich, b. Culpeper
Tim Barry - frontman of Avail, and country/folk singer/songwriter, Richmond
Dock Boggs - singer, banjo player, Norton
The Carter Family - Multi-Platinum certified highly influential 1920s & 1930s country trio, known as the "First Family of Country Music, Maces Spring
Neko Case - country singer, b. Alexandria
Roy Clark - country music artist, Meherrin
Patsy Cline - Multi-Platinum certified country music singer, b. Winchester
Steve Earle - country-rock musician and songwriter, b. Hampton
Jim & Jesse - bluegrass duo, Coeburn
Scott Miller - alternative country singer-songwriter, also of The V-Roys and Scott Miller & The Commonwealth, Augusta County
Old Crow Medicine Show - Americana/folk band formed by Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua in Harrisonburg
Old Dominion - country band, Roanoke
River City Gang - country-rock band, Richmond
Gary Ruley and Mule Train - Rockbridge County
Mary Simpson - violinist, Charlottesville
Canaan Smith - country singer, Williamsburg
Hobart Smith - banjo virtuoso, Saltville
Kilby Snow - autoharpist, Grayson County
The Stanley Brothers - Multi-Platinum certified influential bluegrass duo made up of brothers Carter Stanley and Ralph Stanley - Dickenson County
The Statler Brothers - country-rock-gospel band, Staunton
Ricky Van Shelton - country singer, Danville
Phil Vassar - country singer and songwriter, Lynchburg
Walker's Run - Lexington
Wade Ward - banjo player, fiddler, Independence
Mac Wiseman - born in Crimora

Pop / Southern Rock / Heavy Metal

Alabama Thunderpussy - mainstream rock, metal band, Richmond
Arsis - death metal band, Virginia Beach
Artful Dodger - power pop, Fairfax
At War - ris Bensonthrash/speed metal, Virginia Beach
Avail - punk band, Richmond
Broadside (band) - pop punk band, Richmond, Virginia
Carbon Leaf - Celtic-infused rock, Richmond
Clarence Clemons - saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Norfolk
Stewart Copeland - drummer for rock band The Police and jazz ensemble Animal Logic, Chesapeake
Days Difference - pop/rock band, Virginia Beach
Parachute - indie rock band, Charlottesville
Tim Be Told - Contemporary Christian Rock Band, Charlottesville
Dave Matthews Band - Multi-Platinum certified jam band, Charlottesville. Had 6 consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200.
The Dismemberment Plan - Fairfax
The Dreamscapes Project - acoustic rock, Reston
The Downtown Fiction - Fairfax
Mark Oliver Everett - lead singer, guitarist, and keyboardist of Eels
Neil Fallon - Rock, stoner rock, singer for the band Clutch
The Friday Night Boys - Fairfax
Glass Cloud - metalcore Hampton
Dave Grohl - Nirvana/Foo Fighters drummer, guitarist and lead singer - grew up in Alexandria
Down To Nothing - hardcore punk band, Richmond
Eternal Summers - dream pop/rock band, Roanoke
Gigantic Brain - experimental metal/grindcore band
GWAR - thrash metal/art rock band, Richmond
The J.O.B. (The Jim O'Ferrell Band) - alternative rock, modern Americana rock band, Richmond
The Last Bison - indie folk band, Chesapeake
Labradford - Ambient/Drone/Post-Rock band, Richmond
Lamb of God - heavy metal band, Richmond
Jake E. Lee - Heavy Metal/Glam Metal - Guitarist - Ex Ratt, Ex Dio, Ex Ozzy Osbourne, Ex Mandy Lion
Bill Leverty - guitarist for Firehouse, Richmond
Mae - Pop/rock, Norfolk
Aimee Mann - Punk/ New Wave / Adult Contemporary, Richmond
Scott McKenzie - mainstream folk, singer/songwriter, Alexandria
Moutheater - Noise Rock/Sludge/Punk, Norfolk
Jason Mraz - Multi-Platinum certified acoustic pop/rock, Mechanicsville
Municipal Waste - thrash crossover band, Richmond
Pig Destroyer - grindcore band, Alexandria
Seven Mary Three - alternative rock, post-grunge band, Williamsburg
Matt Sharp - original Weezer bassist, The Rentals, grew up in Arlington
Strike Anywhere - punk rock/melodic hardcore band, Richmond
Scott Travis - Heavy Metal, drummer for Judas Priest, Norfolk
Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps - Norfolk
The Ziggurat - Heavy Metal, Radford

Southern Hip-Hop

Skillz - rapper and songwriter, Richmond
Chris Brown - Multi-Platinum certified Hip-hop and R&B singer, actor, dancer/entertainer, Tappahannock, Virginia. Had 2 No. 1 Hot 100 hits, like "Run It!" in 2005.
Clipse (Malice and Pusha T) - rap/hip-hop duo, Virginia Beach
Danja - record producer/songwriter, Virginia Beach
D'Angelo - Multi-Platinum certified R&B singer, Richmond. Had a No. 1 Billboard 200 album in 2000.
Andrew Hypes - record producer and DJ, Wayneboro
DeVante Swing - producer/singer, founder of R&B group Jodeci, Hampton
Dalvin DeGrate - singer, member of Jodeci, Hampton
Missy Elliott - Multi-Platinum certified hip-hop and R&B singer, Portsmouth
Nickelus F - rapper, Richmond
Lex Luger - producer, Suffolk
Nottz - producer and rapper, Norfolk
Big Pooh - rapper (Little Brother), Dumfries
Pharrell Williams - Multi-Platinum certified producer, rapper, singer-songwriter, Virginia Beach. Had a No. 1 Hot 100 hit with "Happy" in 2014.
Eric Stanley - Multi-Platinum certified violinist and composer, Chesapeake
The Neptunes (Pharrell and Chad Hugo) - hip hop, R&B and pop producer/artist duo
N.E.R.D (Pharrell, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley) - rock, funk, and hip hop band
Trey Songz - Multi-Platinum certified R&B singer, Petersburg. Had 2 No. 1 Billboard 200 albums in 2012 and 2014.
Timbaland - Multi-Platinum certified rapper and producer, Norfolk. Had 2 No. 1 Hot 100 hits, like "Give It to Me" in 2007.
Pusha T - rapper and songwriter, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Nay Nay - Multi-Platinum certified rapper and songwriter, Virginia Beach, Virginia


James Allen Bland - Songwriters Hall of Fame and the African-American Registry, wrote state song. Pearl Bailey - Broadway singer, Newport News
Gary "U.S." Bonds - singer and songwriter, Norfolk
Ann Marie Calhoun - violinist, Gordonsville
Bill Deal & the Rhondels - Virginia Beach
Bruce Hornsby - Multi-Platinum certified singer, pianist and songwriter, Williamsburg. Had a No. 1 Hot 100 hit with "The Way It Is" in 1986.
Toby Mac - of DC Talk, Christian hip hop, rap, rock, Fairfax. Had a No. 1 Billboard 200 album in 2012.
Michael Tait - of DC Talk (1997–2001), Newsboys (2009–present). Contemporary Christian artist, Washington DC.
Undine Smith Moore - composer, Jarratt
Wayne Newton - a.k.a. "Mr. Las Vegas"; singer and songwriter, Roanoke
Ketch Secor & Critter Fuqua of Old Crow Medicine Show - Harrisonburg
Robbin Thompson - Richmond
Keller Williams - one-man jam band from Fredericksburg
Hilary Hahn - Grammy-award-winning classical violin soloist, Lexington