4 Foreign-Born Rock Musicians Who Became U.S. Citizens

Becoming an American citizen is no easy feat, but these foreign-born rock musicians managed to become U.S. citizens at some point in their careers. And you might be surprised to hear that some of these rock stars aren’t actually born and bred in the United States!

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1. Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons found fame as a member of the legendary rock band KISS. However, some casual fans may not know that he was not born in the United States. Simmons was born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel. He was born to Jewish parents who were refugees from Hungary. He lived in Israel for the first eight years of his childhood until his mother brought him to New York, where he eventually became a U.S. citizen. 

2. Neil Young

Neil Young is one of many Canadian rock musicians to become a U.S. citizen. The folk rock legend came to the U.S. in 1966 illegally but received his green card four years later. It took another five decades for the musician to receive full citizenship. The delay was allegedly due to the fact that Young admitted that he was a habitual pot-smoker on his application, which caused some hiccups.

3. Alanis Morissette

Another Canadian native, Alanis Morissette became a U.S. citizen with a group of thousands of others in Los Angeles in 2005. She still has dual citizenship in Canada. 

“There was a turning point during the ceremony where I felt connected to this country in a way that I didn’t quite expect,” Morissette said of the experience. “America has been really great to me and I have felt welcomed since the day I came here.”

[Get Tickets To See Alanis Morissette Live In 2024]

4. Slash

Did you know that Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is actually not from the United States? Slash was born in London, England, where he was raised until he moved to Los Angeles with his family at six years old. He’s lived in the United States ever since and he received his U.S. citizenship in 1996. He is still considered a citizen of both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer

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