INDIANAPOLIS — Many musicians have come from the Midwest, and from Indiana in particular – including Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and his extended family being originally from Gary.

However, there have been many more who have been born in Indiana and who have gone to make a major impact in the music industry and growing their respective genres worldwide.

Here are six musicians and artists who have Indiana connections and have helped shape the music industry and will continue to in the future.

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds

Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds is a Grammy Award-winning artist songwriter and producer who has made a significant impact on pop music throughout his career.

According to his website, Babyface is the only producer who has won the Grammy Award for “Producer of the Year” four times, three of which came in consecutive years between 1995 and 1997. In total, Babyface has won 12 Grammy Awards and has written 125 top 10 hits and has contributed to more than 800 million records sold.

Babyface co-founded the LaFace record label with Antonio “L.A.” Reid who helped launch the careers of artists like Outkast, TLC and Usher. Along with writing for and producing for artists like Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, John Mayer, Jay Z and Aretha Franklin, Babyface has also released a number of multi-platinum albums, including 1989’s “Tender Lover,” 1993’s “For the Cool in You” and 1996’s “The Day.”

According to his website, Babyface has a portion of I-65 which runs through Indianapolis that was named after him. Babyface was also named as a part of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp, also known to music fans as John Cougar Mellencamp, is one of Indiana’s most well-known and acclaimed musicians. Born in Seymour, Mellencamp’s style of rock and roll and Americana helped shape music from the 1980’s and beyond.

According to his website, Mellencamp released his first album in 1976 and continued to release albums consistently. In 1982, Mellencamp’s “American Fool” album took the world by storm, featuring hits like “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane.” Mellencamp is a Grammy Award winner and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Mellencamp, along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, launched Farm Aid in 1985, helping individuals understand the issues farmers face and how agriculture impacts the Untied States. According to his website, Mellencamp is a Bloomington resident and has five children.

There are two shows that are currently on Mellencamp’s schedule as of the middle of August, both of which will occur in Central Indiana. Mellencamp will perform as part of the Jim Irsay Band lineup which will perform at the 2023 Colts Kickoff Concert on Sept. 8 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mellencamp is also scheduled to perform at Farm Aid 2023. According to previous reports, the sold out event will occur on Sept. 23 at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville and will feature Mellencamp, as well as Nelson and Young, along with other artists including Dave Matthews, Margo Price, Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros. and The String Cheese Incident.

Cole Porter

Cole Porter, a composer known for helping write and shape a number of standards of American music, was originally from Peru, Indiana.

According to the Indiana Historical Society, Porter wrote musical scores and songs for both movies and Broadway musicals, including “Kiss Me Kate,” “Can-Can” and “Anything Goes.” In 1937, the website states Porter was thrown from a horse and was paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Porter won a Tony Award for his contributions to “Kiss Me Kate,” according to the society’s website. Porter died in 1964 and is buried in Peru. The 2004 film “De-Lovely” is a musical biopic depicting Porter’s life, played by Kevin Kline.

Axl Rose

Born in Lafayette, Axl Rose became one of the leading hard rock front-men in the late 1980’s, fronting Guns N’ Roses and helping it become one of the most influential bands at that time.

Starting with 1987’s “Appetite for Destruction,” Rose’s band Guns N’ Roses revolutionized what hard rock could sound like going into the 1990’s, ranging from hits like “Welcome To The Jungle” “Paradise City” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

With future albums, Rose, along with bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan, toured worldwide, playing their hits to millions of fans. This included a stop at the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, where the band debuted “November Rain,” and played three encores. After a hiatus, the band released its last album, “Chinese Democracy,” in 2008 and has continued to consistently tour since 2001.

Guns N’ Roses is not playing Indiana on the band’s current Summer/Fall 2023 tour. But, the band will play cities including Pittsburgh, Chicago, St, Louis and Nashville, Tennessee. Artists playing with Guns N’ Roses include The Pretenders, Carrie Underwood and Alice in Chains, according to the band’s website.


Formed in 2011 in New Albany, Houndmouth has become a popular band in the indie/alternative music realms. The band has released four albums, the latest of which came out in 2021.

Formed in 2011 in New Albany, Houndmouth has become a popular band in the indie/alternative music realms. The band has released four albums, the latest of which came out in 2021.

As of mid-August, “Sedona,” from the band’s 2015 album “Little Neon Limelight,” has had more than 235 million streams on Spotify. The band also consistently tours throughout the country with their own shows and on the festival circuit. In October, Houndmouth is scheduled to play multiple nights at each tour stop, including stops in Washington D.C., New Orleans, Louisville and Austin, Texas.

The band will play two nights in Indianapolis in September. According to the band’s website, Houndmouth will be performing on Sept. 7-8 at the Hi-Fi Annex, located behind the Hi-Fi at 1014 Prospect St. Tickets for the Sept. 7 show start at $30 and can be found here. The Sept. 8 show is sold out. The shows will also feature Abby Hamilton and Billy Allen + The Pollies.

Umphrey’s McGee

While all of the band’s members are not from Indiana, the members of Umphrey’s McGee came together while the members of the band were attending the University of Notre Dame.

Umphrey’s McGee is a jam band, with rock and metal influences, which has performed around the country since 1998. Known for their improvisational style, the band consists of Brendan Bayliss on guitar and vocals, Jake Cinninger on guitar and vocals, Joel Cummins on keyboard/piano and vocals, Andy Farag on percussion, Kris Myers on drums and vocals, and Ryan Stasik on bass.

The band’s first ever performance, according to the band’s website, was on Jan. 21, 1998 at the Bridget McGuire’s Filling Station in South Bend. While a recording does not exist of this show, a reported setlist includes a number of originals, as well as covers by bands like Phish, Talking Heads, Ben Folds Five and the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

The band has released more than a dozen studio albums, as well as a number of live albums, in its 25-year career. Umphrey’s McGee has also become a mainstay in the jam concert scene, touring consistently and playing hundreds of shows. Live recordings of their shows are also available online through official soundboard recordings, as well as audience recordings from attendees.

The band last played Indiana on Jan. 26 at the Clyde Theatre in Fort Wayne and are expected to play at the upcoming All IN Music & Arts Festival in Indianapolis in September.

Indiana has plenty of other artists and bands that call the state home or have connections to the state, including: