The Best Singers to Come Out of New Jersey
It should come as no surprise that American Idol is sending 3 New Jersey singers to Hollywood this season. While we wish the best of luck to Sydney Sherwood of Marlboro, Payton Taylor of Turnersville and Taylor Van Cleave of Norwood, we also hope that they'll soon be joining a long list of famous singers to come out of the Garden State.
New Jersey has an unusually high number singers who have made it big. Usually when you ask "Who's the best singer to come out of a state, you may get an abundance of one or two names, maybe a few more, but here the list is long, legendary and you can make an argument for every one of them.
The bio for each singer is from Wikipedia:
Frank Sinatra - "From Hoboken, The 'Chairman of the Board' is one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Having started his career with Harry James and the Hoboken four on The Major Bowes Amateur Hour in 1935, which you could say is a a very early version of American Idol, all the way to his top selling 'Duets II' in 1994, no one has even come close to the career of 'Old Blue Eyes.'"
Whitney Houston - "From Newark, Whitney has been cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts—as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for 'How Will I Know,' influenced several African-American women artists who followed in her footsteps."
Bruce Springsteen - "Born in Freehold ,Springsteen has recorded both rock albums and more somber folk-oriented works. His most successful studio albums, Born to Run (1975) and Born in the U.S.A. (1984) find pleasures in the struggles of daily American life. He has sold more than 135 million records worldwide and more than 64 million records in the United States, making him one of the world's best-selling artists. He has earned numerous awards for his work, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award (for Springsteen on Broadway). Springsteen was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, received Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, was named MusiCares person of the year in 2013, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016."
Frankie Valli - "Born in Newark, he was known as the frontman of The Four Seasons beginning in 1960. He is known for his unusually powerful head voice. Valli's number-one hits included 'Sherry' (1962), 'Big Girls Don't Cry' (1962), 'Walk Like a Man' (1963), 'Rag Doll' (1964) and 'December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)' (1975). Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio, the original members of The Four Seasons, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999."
Jon Bon Jovi - "Born in Perth Amboy, grew up in Sayreville, Bon Jovi has released 2 solo albums and 12 studio albums with his band, which to date have sold over 130 million albums worldwide, thus making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. As a songwriter, Bon Jovi was inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2012, Bon Jovi ranked #50 on the list of Billboard Magazine's "Power 100", a ranking of "The Most Powerful and Influential People In The Music Business". In 1996, People Magazine named him one of the '50 Most Beautiful People In The World.' In 2000, People awarded him the title, 'Sexiest Rock Star,' and he was placed at #13 on VH1's '100 Sexiest Artists.' Bon Jovi was ranked #31 on the "Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists" list by Hit Parader."
Paul Robeson - "Born in Princeton Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism. In 1915, Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers College, where he was twice named a consensus All-American and was the class valedictorian. Almost 80 years later, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School, while playing in the National Football League. At Columbia, he sang and acted in off-campus productions. After graduating, he became a figure in the Harlem Renaissance with performances in The Emperor Jones and All God's Chillun Got Wings."
Connie Francis - "Born in Newark, this top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw. Despite several severe interruptions in her career, she is still active as a recording and performing artist."
Pat DiNizio - "Born in Plainfield, DiNizio was the lead singer, songwriter, and founding member of the band The Smithereens, which he formed in 1980 with Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, and Mike Mesaros, from Carteret, New Jersey."
Southside Johnny Lyon - "From Ocean Grove, Johnny has long been considered the Grandfather of 'the New Jersey Sound.' Jon Bon Jovi has acknowledged Southside Johnny as his 'reason for singing.'"
Lauryn Hill - "Known for being a member of Fugees and for her solo album 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,' which won many awards and broke several sales records. Raised mostly in South Orange, New Jersey, Hill began singing with her music-oriented family during her childhood. In high school, Hill was approached by Pras Michel for a band he started, which his friend, Wyclef Jean, soon joined. They renamed themselves the Fugees and released the albums Blunted on Reality (1994), and the Grammy Award–winning The Score (1996), which sold six million copies in the U.S. Hill rose to prominence with her African-American and Caribbean music influences, her rapping and singing, and her rendition of the hit 'Killing Me Softly.' Her tumultuous romantic relationship with Jean led to the split of the band in 1997, after which she began to focus on solo projects."
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