Everything is bigger in Texas, so they say. Texans take pride in everything they do, including producing some of our nation’s most famous singers. It seems that a talent for music and vocal dexterity runs rich in the oil fields of Texas. There are several highly recognizable names who got their start in Texas, including the following:
Beyonce, Knowles (Houston)
Beyonce’s Texas roots are arguably the most well known. She began her career at 16 years old in the famed group Destiny’s Child, managed by her father. In the mid-2000’s, she set out on her own career and has since become one of the most renowned R&B, pop, and hip hop singers of this century.
She never forgot her roots, however. In 2005, she donated a quarter million to helping provide affordable single-family homes and transitional housing to victims of Hurricane Katrina. She’s provided relief and a variety of other programs for Houston residents as well.
Miranda Lambert (Lindale)
Miranda gets her voice from her father Rick, a former Dallas police officer who also played in a rock-country group known as Contraband. Now, both her parents are private investigators and she has mentioned that their career was the inspiration for her hit song “Gunpowder and Lead.”
Miranda began singing at a young age, and by 16, she had her first professional debut at the Johnnie High Country Music Revue in Arlington, TX. From there, she moved onto Nashville where she quickly made it in the big leagues.
Demi Lovato (Dallas)
Before Demi was a child Disney star, working alongside the Jonas Brothers and other iconic names, she was a Texas resident. At the age of 16, she headed to Hollywood where her acting and singing career began, although she spent more time acting than performing music.
She stopped acting in 2010 and started focusing on her music career. She’s put out several highly-successful albums and is currently working on another.
Usher’s career is inspiring. At 15 years old, this Dallas-raised boy released his first album, produced by P. Diddy. He had a hit single in 1997, “You Make Me Wanna…” that earned him international fame. A year later, he was given the Billboard Best Performer of the Year award.
George Strait (Poteet)
You might think this country star grew up in Nashville, but he’s a Texas-born boy. He joined a band in college, traveling around Texas and performing in bars and Honky Tonks. After his band grew regionally, he began writing his own songs.
He tried several times to get a record deal in Nashville without success. He was ready to throw in the towel when a record producer finally picked him up in 1981. The rest is history for this Nashville star who recently announced his impending retirement.
Willie Nelson (Abbott)
The famous country music singer and musician grew up in a tiny town called Abbott. Located roughly an hour north of Waco, Abbott’s population is 363 people, proving that even small-town boys can make it big.
Willie was born during the Great Depression and raised by his grandparents. The family often sang gospel songs while picking cotton for work. Willie learned to play the guitar at six years old and by the time he had graduated high school, he was the most popular DJ and performer in the county. His professional music career followed shortly thereafter.
Vanilla Ice (Dallas)
Vanilla Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, had a difficult childhood in his South Dallas home. He never knew his biological father and had several stepfathers. After dropping out of school in the 10th grade, Robert tried rapping at local night clubs under the name Vanilla Ice. He was a hit and had his first record released in 1989.
Buddy Holly (Lubbock)
Buddy’s career in the 1950s was short, thanks to an airplane crash that led to his untimely death, but he’s known as one of the founding fathers of rock. Growing up in Texas, he was urged to stick to humdrum country music, but his guitar-picking fingers yearned for a rock beat. His classic rock songs are timeless and his legend lives on.
Ashlee and Jessica Simpson (Dallas)
Sisters Ashlee and Jessica were born and raised in Dallas. Both have gone on to become successful pop singers, although Jessica achieved greater fame than her younger sister. She started out as a solo singer on the Christian youth conference circuit in Texas, and her career took off from there.
Janis Joplin (Port Arthur)
Janis ate, slept, and breathed folk music during her Texas childhood. She attended Lamar State College and then the University of Texas, playing autoharp in bars throughout Austin to pay her way.
She traveled for a couple of years, performing at various shows before settling as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company at the age of 23. Within just a few years, she had rightly earned the name “The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”