Local Current Blog

Minnesota’s biggest Grammy winners

In one of the most infamous moments in Grammys history, Bob Dylan's 1998 performance was interrupted by a mysterious demonstrator with the words SOY BOMB painted on his chest. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

When it comes to compiling a list of Minnesota Grammy winners, the question becomes, what exactly constitutes being a Minnesotan? Is it being born here, living a certain amount of years in the state, being involved in the community, being in tune with the local music scene, loving to eat Nut Goodies? In some ways, it’s all of these things, in varying degrees. With that in mind, we have set out to compile a list of Minnesota musicians, writers, producers, composers, and more that have won Grammys.

Bob Dylan

Dylan was born in Duluth and grew up in Hibbing, but has spent most of his career outside of Minnesota. 

11 Grammy Awards, 9 Hall of Fame Awards, 17 nominations

Album of the Year – 1973 for The Concert for Bangladesh
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance – 1980 for “Gotta Serve Somebody” (First to be presented this award)
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal – 1989 for Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Lifetime Achievement Award – 1991
Best Traditional Folk Album – 1995 for World Gone Wrong
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance – 1998 for “Cold Irons Bound”
Best Contemporary Folk Album – 1998 for Time Out of Mind
Album of the Year – 1998 for Time Out of Mind
Best Contemporary Folk Album – 2002 for Love and Theft
Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance – 2007 for “Someday Baby”
Best Contemporary Folk Album – 2007 for Modern Times
Hall of Fame Award – 1994 for “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Hall of Fame Award – 1998 for “Like a Rolling Stone”
Hall of Fame Award – 1999 for Blonde on Blonde
Hall of Fame Award – 2002 for Highway 61 Revisited
Hall of Fame Award – 2002 for “Mr. Tamborine Man”
Hall of Fame Award – 2006 for Bringing It All Back Home
Hall of Fame Award – 2013 for “The Times They Are A-Changin’”
Hall of Fame Award – 2015 for Blood on the Tracks
Hall of Fame Award – 2016 for The Basement Tapes


Prince was born in Minneapolis, and is known for his close relationship to the state. Prince also called Chanhassen home, which is where his recording studio Paisley Park is located.

7 Awards, 3 Hall of Fame Awards, 28 nominations

Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special – 1984 for Purple Rain
Best Rhythm and Blues Song – 1984 for “I Feel For You”
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal – 1984 for Purple Rain – Music From the Motion Picture
Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal – 1986 for “Kiss”
Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance – 2004 for “Musicology”
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – 2004 for “Call My Name”
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – 2007 for “Future Baby Mama”
Hall of Fame Award – 2008 for “1999”
Hall of Fame Award – 2011 for Purple Rain
Hall of Fame Award – 2017 for Sign “O” The Times

Jimmy Jam (James Harris III) and Terry Lewis

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are an R&B songwriting and record production team. The two met each other while in high school in Minneapolis and were both members of bands including the Time before becoming producers.

5 Awards, 7 nominations

Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) – 1986
Best Rhythm & Blues Song – 1993 for “That’s The Way Love Goes”
Best Dance Recording – 2001 “All For You”
Best Gospel Song – 2005 for “Be Blessed”
Best R&B Album – 2007 for Funk This

Maria Schneider

Schneider is a jazz composer and bandleader. She was born in Windom, Minn. and studied at the University of Minnesota. She’s currently based in New York.

5 Awards

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album – 2004 for Concert in the Garden
Best Instrumental Composition – 2007 for “Cerulean Skies”
Best Contemporary Classical Composition – 2013 for Winter Morning Walks
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals – 2015 for “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)”  performed by David Bowie
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album – 2015 for The Thompson Fields

Judy Garland

Iconic singer and actress Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, Minn. in 1922.

3 Awards, 6 Hall of Fame Awards

Album of The Year (Other Than Classical) – 1961 for Judy At Carnegie Hall
Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female – 1961 for Judy At Carnegie Hall
Lifetime Achievement Award – 1997
Hall of Fame – 1981 for “Over The Rainbow”
Hall of Fame – 1998 for “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You”
Hall of Fame – 1998 for Judy At Carnegie Hall
Hall of Fame – 2005 for Meet Me In St. Louis – Soundtrack
Hall of Fame – 2006 for The Wizard Of Oz – Musical And Dramatic Selections Recorded Directly From The Soundtrack Of MGM’s Technicolor Film
Hall of Fame – 2010 for “For Me And My Gal” (with Gene Kelly)

Dan Wilson

Born in Minneapolis, Wilson is a singer-songwriter and producer. He wrote three songs on Adele’s 21, and co-wrote songs for the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 album, Taking the Long Way. He’s also a member of the Minneapolis band Semisonic.

2 Awards, 2 nominations

Song of the Year – 2006 for “Not Ready to Make Nice”
Album of the Year – 2011 for 21

Minnesota Orchestra

The Minnesota Orchestra were founded by Emil Oberhoffer in 1903.

1 Award, 3 Hall of Fame Awards, 1 nomination

Best Orchestral Performance – 2014 for Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4
Hall of Fame – 1998 for Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture/Capriccio Italien
Hall of Fame – 1999 for Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D Major “Titan”
Hall of Fame – 2007 for Copland: Symphony No. 3

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were born in Colorado, but settled in Minneapolis where they started their children’s bluegrass band.

1 Award, 2 nominations

Best Children’s Album – 2012 for Can You Canoe?

Sounds of Blackness

The Twin-Cities-based vocal and instrumental ensemble were founded in 1969 at Macalester College, where the group was originally called Macalester Black College Voices.

1 Award, 1 nomination

Best Gospel Album By Choir or Chorus – 1991 for The Evolution of Gospel

Stephen Paulus

Originally from New Jersey, Paulus moved with his family to Minnesota when he was two. In 1983 he was named a Composer-in-Residence at the Minnesota Orchestra and in 2015 won his first Grammy, posthumously. Paulus died of complications from a stroke in 2013.

1 Award, 1 Nomination

Best Contemporary Classical Composition – 2015 for Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances

Columbus “Rahki” Smith

Musician and producer Rahki grew up in South Minneapolis where he became heavily involved in the local music scene. He has had the opportunity to work with many well known acts, such as DJ Khalil, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and more. He contributed to both Eminem’s Recovery & Lecrae’s Gravity, which both won Grammys.

1 Award, 1 Nomination

Best Rap Song – 2014 for “I”

Dominick Argento

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Argento moved to Minnesota in 1958 to teach theory and composition at the University of Minnesota. He has been an active member of Minnesota’s classical music community, writing music for productions at the Guthrie, founding the Minnesota Opera, being the Minnesota Orchestra’s composer laureate and more.

1 Award, 1 Nomination

Best Classical Contemporary Composition – 2003 for Argento: Casa Guidi

Garrison Keillor

Born in Anoka, Keillor best known as the creator and longtime host of A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor has had a long career in radio, writing, comedy, and music. He is credited as a witty commentator on Midwestern life, as illustrated in his stories about the fictitious Minnesota town, Lake Wobegon.

1 Award

Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording – 1987 for Lake Wobegon Days

David Pirner (Soul Asylum)

Although born in Wisconsin, Pirner moved to Minneapolis where he became involved in the local music scene. He is best-known for being the leader of Soul Asylum.

1 Award

Best Rock Song – 1993 for “Runaway Train”

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Founded in 1959, the chamber orchestra has gained worldwide recognition and performs over 130 concerts and educational programs every year.

1 Award

Best Chamber Music Performance – 1980 for Copland: Appalachian Spring

Tom Voegeli

Voegeli is an award-winning audio producer based in the Twin Cities.

1 Award

Best Spoken Word, Documentary Or Drama Recording – 1982 for Raiders of the Lost Ark – The Movie on Record

David Z

Born David Rivkin in Minneapolis, David Z is a music producer and writer who now lives in Los Angeles. He is best-known for his work with Prince, but has had the opportunity to also work with artists such as Etta James and the band Fine Young Cannibals. He was also a member of the Minneapolis band Lipps, Inc. who are known for their hit “Funkytown.”

1 Award

Best Traditional Blues Album – 2004 for Blues to the Bone

Honorable Mentions

The Andrews Sisters

Sisters LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty make up the legendary singing group. They were born in Mound, Minn. and are known for their close harmonies and boogie-woogie-style music. The trio earned several Hall of Fame Awards for their work.

Hall of Fame – 1996 for “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon”
Hall of Fame – 1998 for “Don’t Fence Me In” (with Bing Crosby)
Hall of Fame – 2000 for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
Hall of Fame – 2016 for “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

Paulette Carlson

Carlson is a country singer-songwriter who was born in Moose Lake, Minnesota. She is best-known for the band she founded in 1986 in Los Angeles, Highway 101. The band boasts two Grammy nominations – Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1989 for Highway 101, Volume 2 and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1990 for “Honky Tonk Heart.”

Eddie Cochran

Born in Albert Lea in 1938, Cochran is considered one of the pioneers of 1950s rock and roll and is best-known for his rockabilly music. Cochran earned a Hall of Fame Award posthumously in 1999 for his song “Summertime Blues.”

David Ellefson

Born in Jackson, Minnesota, Ellefson is the co-founder and bassist of the heavy metal band Megadeth. Ellefson is the second longest-serving member of  the band, which started in 1983. The band has been nominated for 12 Grammys.

Best Metal Performance – 1991 for Rust in Peace
Best Metal Performance – 1992 for “Hangar 18”
Best Metal Performance – 1993 for Countdown to Extinction
Best Metal Performance – 1994 for “Angry Again”
Best Metal Performance – 1995 for “99 Ways to Die”
Best Metal Performance – 1996 for “Paranoid”
Best Metal Performance – 1998 for “Trust”
Best Metal Performance – 2010 for “Head Crusher”
Best Metal Performance – 2011 for “Sudden Death”
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance – 2012 for “Public Enemy No. 1”
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance – 2013 for “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)”
Best Metal Performance – 2017 for “Dystopia”

Dennis Morgan

Morgan is an accomplished songwriter and publisher who was born in Tracy, Minn. He has published songs by artists such as Garth Brooks and has written songs for Aretha Franklin, Faith Hill, and Eric Clapton. He co-wrote “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” performed by Aretha Franklin & George Michael, which won Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1988.

Red House Records

Red House Records is a St. Paul label working with Americana, roots, and folk artists. Several Eliza Gilkyson albums released on Red House have earned Grammy nominations.

The Replacements

The Replacements are one of Minneapolis’s best-known rock bands. The band have been cited as an influence for many alternative rock bands and they have left a lasting legacy in the Minnesota music scene. The band were nominated for Best Alternative Music Album in 1991 for All Shook Down.


Semisonic was formed in 1995 in Minneapolis by members Dan Wilson, John Munson, and Jacob Slichter. The band are best-known for their hit “Closing Time,” which was nominated for Best Rock Song in 1999.

Lillian Speakman is a senior at Hamline University.