Music is one of the most powerful ways to convey ideas and emotions. It can bring together different kinds of people and can influence, inspire, entertain millions across the world. The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Many Mormon musicians have contributed their talents to the music industry; as a result, these individuals have been able to set themselves as examples for LDS values and principles. Their music is not only a source of entertainment for the world, but also a way to uplift and inspire others to love, serve, and overall do good in the world. The following is a list of the most famous Mormon musicians in society. Some are more common among LDS music and culture, while others are widely-known artists in popular bands across the world.
Famous Mormon Musicians:
- Alex Boye
- The Piano Guys
- Dan Reynolds
- David Archuleta
- Lindsey Stirling
- Brandon Flowers
- Gladys Knight
- Neon Trees
- The Osmonds
The first famous Mormon musician on the list is Alex Boye, a British-American singer. He was born in London in 1970. He was mostly raised in foster homes since his father stayed in Nigeria, never coming to Britain with Alex’s mother. Soon after, Alex’s mom went back to Africa for eight years, leaving Alex by himself in London. Alex Boye joined the LDS church as a teenager shortly after his manager at McDonals’s introduced him to the faith. Boye even served a two-year mission in Bristol England. Later down the road, Alex moved to Salt Lake City to pursue his music career, particularly Christian music. He has performed with many other famous groups, including the Piano Guys and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Much of his music is influenced by his African heritage. Some of his most popular songs include “Lemonade” as well as an Africanized cover of “Let it Go” featuring One Voice Children’s Choir. Another of his most famous songs is another African-influenced piece called “Peponi” featuring the Piano Guys, which is based off the popular song “Paradise” by Coldplay. More about Alex Boye can be viewed at his website:
The Piano Guys
The Piano Guys are an American musical group known for their piano and cello instrumental pieces. They have performed their own versions of many classical, pop, and soundtrack songs. Band members include Jon Schmidt (pianist), Steven Sharp Nelson (cellist), Paul Anderson (filmer), and Al van deer Beek. This widely-talented group of famous Mormon musicians truly have created a unique sound of instrumentals. Their blend of music is hard to match with Schmidt’s free-flowing piano mixed with Nelson’s distinct cello melodies. Schmidt has even solely expressed his pianist talents in his solo piece, “All of Me”, as well as other individual pieces. In addition, Nelson has often used an electric cello in many of the group’s songs, adding a unique twist to traditional string instruments. Their five albums have become top songs on the Billboard Classical Albums chart. They began their band in St. George producing and uploading music videos to their Youtube channel and have quickly become a popular musical group. More information about the Piano Guys and their music can be viewed at the following website:
The following is a music video of the Piano Guys featuring Alex Boye performing Paradise (Peponi):
A very well-known famous Mormon musician is Dan Reynolds, the lead singer for the rock band, “Imagine Dragons.” He was born in 1987 and grew up in Las Vegas. He participated in Boy Scouts growing up and earned his Eagle Scout award. He also served a two-year LDS mission in Nebraska. He also attended Brigham Young University. Some of Imagine Dragons most popular songs are “Radioactive,” “Demons,” “It’s Time,” “On Top of the World,” and “I Bet My Life.”
Next on the list of famous Mormon musicians is David Archuleta, an American singer and musician. He was born in 1990 in Miami, Florida and raised in Sandy, Utah. Both his parents are musically talented (his mom is a salsa singer/ dancer and his father is a jazz musician). His began growing his musical talent as early as ten years old, winning multiple singing competitions. In 2008, he won second place on the hit singing show, American Idol, winning over 44 percent of the popular vote. In 2012, Archuleta put his music career temporarily aside to serve a two-year mission for the LDS church in Chile. Some his most popular songs include “Crush,” “A Little Too Not Over You,” and “Glorious” featured in the LDS produced documentary Meet the Mormons. More about David Archuleta’s music can be viewed at his website: http://davidarchuleta.com/home/
Another famous Mormon musician is Lindsey Stirling, an American violinist, dancer, and performer. She is widely known for her choreographed violin-dance videos on her Youtube channel. She performances various genres of music including classical, pop, and electronic dance music; she has done her own original songs as well as various covers of soundtracks and popular songs; Her cover of the popular Imagine Dragons song “Radioactive” performed with a cappella group Pantatonix won “Response of the Year” in 2013 in the Youtube Music Awards. Stirling was selected to be in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Music. She also made it to the quarter finals in Amerca’s Got Talent in 2010. Stirling was born in 1986 and raised in Gilbert, Arizona. She began violin lessons at age five even though her parents could only afford paying for half-length lessons from an instructor. Yet, Stirling wasn’t stopped from improving her unique talents and becoming an internet sensation. Stirling also attended BYU in Provo, Utah where she studied filmmaking but ultimately graduated in Recreation Management. She also served a two-year mission for the LDS church in New York City. Growing up, Stirling also struggled with anorexia, in which she turned to her faith for strength. She even created the song “Shatter” to express her overcoming of her eating disorder. Lindsey Stirling’s story can be watched in her “I’m a Mormon” video produced by the LDS church:
More info on her music can be viewed at her website:
The following video is the Imagine Dragons “Radioactive” cover performed by Lindsey Stirling with a cappella group Pentatonix:
Another widely-known famous Mormon musician is Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of the rock band, The Killers. He was born in Henderson, Nevada, but then moved with his family to Payson, Utah followed by Nephi, Utah. During his senior year of high school, Brandon moved back to Nevada to live with his aunt in Las Vegas. Living in Vegas as a Latter-Day Saint helped Flowers strengthen his beliefs and standards amidst a very edgy environment. Brandon explained his situation: “Really, being a Mormon in Las Vegas prepared me for the lion’s den. It is sin city. The things that go on, the lights, it’s the ultimate rock and roll stage. Without Las Vegas, I would be a wreck.” One of the Killers’ most popular songs, “All These Things That I’ve Done,” which was written by Flowers, was numbered on the “100 Greatest Songs of All Time” by The Daily Telegraph; this famous hit single even earned the Killer’s one of seven Grammy nominations. Other popular songs by the Killers include “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” and “When You Were Young.”
Of all the famous Mormon musicians, Gladys Knight has built a musical legacy that has lasted decades. Gladys Knight is an American singer, also known as the Empress of Soul. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944. She is a seven-time Grammy award winner and is most famous for her songs performed in the 1960s and 1970s with her group band, Gladys Knight and the Pips. Grown up a Baptist, Knight later joined the Mormon church in 1997 along with her son and daughter. In 1998, Gladys Knight and her band was received into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is also on the Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Singers of all Time.
Members of the rock band, Neon Trees, are members of the LDS church and are certainly also considered famous Mormon Musicians. Their band originated in Provo, Utah, and gained popularity after opening for several of the Killers’ North American tours in 2008. Their band name was inspired by the neon-lighted trees on the In-In-Out Burger restaurant signs. Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of the band, though no longer an active member of the LDS church, grew up in Southern California and served a two-year LDS mission in Nebraska. Elaine Bradley, the drummer for the band, is a very unique Mormon musician. She is an inspiring LDS mother and a wife to her husband; and yet, she is a spunky, crazy rock-and-roll drummer for a famous rock band. Elaine Bradley served a mission in Frankfurt, Germany and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Public Health and a minor in German. She also was married in the Draper, Utah temple. She has also starred in the LDS Church’s video series, I’m a Mormon. Some of the Neon Trees most popular songs are “Everybody Talks” and “Animals.”
The Osmonds are arguably the most well-known, influential, far-reaching famous Mormon musicians throughout the world. They are a family musical group and are all active members of the LDS church. They were born in Ogden, Utah. The family became famous as teen music idols and through their hit TV show; they also each continued their music careers through later group and individual music performances. Donny and Marie Osmond even started their own show, The Donny and Marie Show. Donny also starred on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars in 2009. He even voiced himself as a reoccurring character in Cartoon Network’s cartoon, “Jonny Bravo.” In his youth Donny was supported by his parents and church leaders to continue his musical career with his siblings rather than serve a full-time mission for the church. Donny has shared that it would have been great to serve a mission, but being in the spotlight with his family as Latter-Day Saints gave him the opportunity to be an example to the world and influence others with his beliefs and values through his musical talents. Marie Osmond gained continued popularity in the 1970s and 1980s as she began her own country music solo career. Many might recognize Marie today on TV as the star promoter of Nutrisystem weight loss meals.