In almost every state in the United States, unique brand and blend of musical genres are produced continuously in addition to hundreds of musicians and aspiring artists. However, when it comes to country music and country musicians, the state of Indiana arguably produces some of the finest and well-known names. Here some of Indiana’s sensational country musicians.
John Hiatt was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1952. He has produced several records and albums under the country, blues, and new waves musical genres. His long career as a musician not only garnered his respects in the music industry as a performer and songwriter but has also earned him the honor of nine Grammy nominations and the reception of several other prestigious music awards. His well-known song, “Sure As I’m Sittin Here” made its way in the Top 40 Hits chart while he was a songwriter with the Nashville music production label, Tree International.
There are many male artists in the country genre, however hailing from Elkhart, Indiana is country musician Connie Smith. After entering a talent contest in Ohio, Connie’s penchant for singing and country music was discovered. A year after, she was signed under RCA Victor Records where she remained under their label until 1973. The song “Once a Day,” which was her debut single, stayed in the top spot of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for eight weeks in November 1964. The song was Connie’s greatest hit and was even nominated in the Grammy awards under the Best Country Female Vocal Performance category.
Known for his brand of country-pop music that dominated the radios in waves during the 1980s, John Mellencamp’s musical artistry solidified the definition of country music for the 21st century. A native of Seymour, Indiana, he was known under the stage names Johnny Cougar or John Cougar. He popularized heartland rock, a style that emphasizes instrumentation, as a brand of country music. He was a very prolific songwriter as he landed more than twenty songs in the United States’ 40 Hits charts. He was well-known for mainstream favorites such as “Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” “Cherry Bomb,” and “Small Town.”
Steven Noel Wariner was born in Noblesville, Indiana in 1954. He is a very prolific songwriter, singer, and exemplary guitarist. He released18 albums under various country music labels such as MCA Records, RCA Records, Capitol Records, and Arista Records. He wrote and sang more than 50 songs that made into Billboard’s top single charts. Among these 50, several attained number one spots like “You Can Dream of Me,” “Small Town Girl,” “Life’s Highway,” and “All Roads Lead to You.” Aside from writing his own songs, Steve Wariner is also credited for collaborations with other famous artists such as Keith Urban, Bryan White, and Garth Brooks.
Another female country artist that reigns from Indiana is Fort Wayne’s daughter, Megan Mullins. More than a singer and a performer, she is famous for being a great multi-instrumentalist as well. She debuted at the young age of 18, with a country music single called “Ain’t What It Used to Be” which made its way to the top 40 of the Billboard country hit charts. Aside from performing her own music and writing songs, she also collaborated and plays the fiddle for fellow musician, Randy Owens’ band.