Ohio’s Music Scene: How the Buckeye State Has Influenced the Music Industry

When you think about places that have a major influence on the music industry, places like New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles come to mind. However, the Middle Eastern state of Ohio has also played a significant role in the way the nation’s music scene has been and will continue to be shaped.

Ohio is home to legendary artists and iconic venues and theaters that have helped the industry grow and prosper over the years.

Keep reading to learn about Ohio’s music scene and how the Buckeye State has influenced the music industry.

Cleveland- The Birthplace of Rock and Roll

Source: clevelandtraveler.com

Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is referred to as the birthplace of Rock and Roll thanks to radio disc jockey, Alan Freed. Alan was a radio station host whose show gained popularity in the 50s after he established his station as a Rock and Roll listening Haven (during this time rock music was still controversial).

Alan Freed had a major impact on how rock music was perceived and played a pivotal role in breaking barriers within the music genre. Freed is the one who coined the term “rock and roll”.

Michael Jackson- The King of Pops Motown Connection

Motown Records, the legendary label that popularized soul and R&B, has strong ties to Ohio. Although Berry Gordy Jr., the company’s founder, was born in Detroit, Michigan, his father was actually from Ohio.

Many of Motown’s iconic performers, including the Jackson 5, were from the Midwest, and their music influenced the country’s soulful sound. The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, began his illustrious career with the Jackson 5 and went on to become one of music’s most recognizable superstars.

Devo’s Impact

Source: rollingstone.com

Ohio’s Devo gained notoriety during the new wave and punk movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Akron-based band injected an avant-garde perspective into both their music and appearance. Devo defied expectations with singles like “Whip It,” employing electronic components and provocative images to forge a distinctive identity. Their avant-garde style of music and performance struck a chord with listeners all across the world, inspiring the next generations of artists to embrace innovation and artistic discovery.

The Ohio Players and Funkadelic- R&B Legacy

Ohio’s contribution to R&B and funk cannot be ignored, thanks to the Ohio Players and Funkadelic. The Ohio Players, a 70’s band from Dayton, gained fame for their infectious grooves and sensual lyrics. Top hits like “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire” became anthems of the funk era, and their unique sound continues to inspire modern artists.

Another Ohio-based band, Funkadelic, was led by the elusive George Clinton. Their music blended funk, rock, and psychedelic, blurring the lines between genres.

Funkadelic pushed the frontiers of music with songs like “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Flash Light,” while also spreading a message of harmony. Their legacy is still felt today since hip-hop, electronic, and alternative music all reflect their influence.

The Black Keys- Indie Rock Pioneers

Source: en.wikipedia.org

The Black Keys, who are from Akron, are a prime example of the early 2000s indie rock movement.

Audiences looking for an alternative to mainstream music connected with the unpolished raw sounds that were showcased in the Black Keys’ gritty guitar riffs and soulful vocals. The duo’s ascent to stardom proved the influence of indie labels and unofficial fan backing.

Their success opened the door for more independent musicians to succeed and flourish in a changing musical environment.

Toledo’s International Influence

Although Toledo, Ohio, is less well-known than some other cities, it has nonetheless made a substantial contribution to the music industry.

The city’s thriving cultural diversity has influenced the development of its distinctive musical identity. Polish, African American, and Hispanic communities in Toledo have influenced its artists, who experiment with genres and cultural components. Due to the blending of various musical traditions, lively sounds have been produced that honor diversity.

Newport Music Hall and Blossom Music Center

Source: beaconjournal.com

Ohio’s music culture includes more than just musicians; it also includes iconic venues that have hosted remarkable performances.

One such location is Columbus’ Newport Music Hall, which is frequently recognized as the nation’s oldest continuously operating rock club. It has hosted great performances throughout the years, including Bruce Springsteen and Nirvana, and has turned into a rite of passage for up-and-coming musicians.

Blossom Music Center, located near Cleveland, is an outdoor amphitheater with a lengthy history. With almost 19,000 seats and scenic settings, it has hosted many renowned performers. Blossom has given spectators spectacular musical experiences, from classical performances by the Cleveland Orchestra to rock concerts with performers like Queen and David Bowie.

Ohio’s Classical Music

Source: cleveland.com

Ohio’s music scene is not exclusively comprised of rock and roll, R&B, and country. There is another genre of music that is a large part of Ohio’s music scene and the evolution of the music industry- classical.

Ohio is home to many of the most renowned orchestras in the Nation, the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

These orchestra’s have provided career opportunities to aspiring artists not only in ohio, but all of the Nation. The orchestras travel throughout the country, bringing classical music to cities that seldom experience the genre due to other genres being more popular.

Ohio’s ability to bring nationwide exposure to orchestra played an instrumental role in expanding three music industry and continues to do so today.

Celebrating With Festivals

Numerous music events honoring various genres are part of Ohio’s thriving music scene.

In Cincinnati, indie rock, alternative, and electronic musicians come together for the three-day Bunbury Music Festival to celebrate contemporary music. In an intimate and natural setting, the Nelsonville Music Festival presents folk, Americana, and roots music against the backdrop of the Hocking Hills.

The Annual Ohio Cannabis Expo in Columbus offers up-and-coming artists the opportunity to showcase their talents with live performances (visit Veriheal.com to partake in expo festivities). Lastly, the Breakaway Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, delivers an exhilarating experience for fans of electronic dance music with prominent DJs and dynamic shows.