Many artists appear on stage with aliases, pseudonyms. Do you know their real names?
Rather than enumerate a very long list of names, Cb… Vinyl Record Art decided to do a pseudo-presentation on music artists’ pseudonyms, illustrated of course with a few examples.
A name can quickly prove to be a burden in life, assuming that some parents take a real pleasure in choosing weird names or out of step with the time we live in… (I don’t give a damn about the homage to the grandpa!). Choosing a pseudonym for yourself is a little bit different, the choice is entirely yours, not someone else’s. You choose it with full background knowledge. While this is not an easy exercise, it’s still an opportunity to make a clean sweep of your original identity, starting on new basis… YOUR basis! While taking advantage of highlighting an aspect or the entirety of your own self.
One might think at first that it is natural to use your own name to promote your work but usually, the customs and traditions of the time dictate and guide our choice. Sometimes the initial name is not enough “bankable” for the record label and / or does not fit with the image and the desired connotations.
Some artists have come to use a pseudonym to easily fade into their musical universe, because their name does not sound great, to disguise an origin, to be attached to another system of values or to give an idealized version of their image. Sid Vicious, under his real name John Simon Ritchie has, for example, chosen his nickname to accentuate his thug’s reputation. Violent by nature and with a rogue character, he tried the punk music and founded the Sex Pistols. Johnny Hallyday (French musician), however, opted for a name that sounded American to stick with the Rock’n’Roll attitude of the period rather than using his real name Jean-Philippe Smet.
This is also the case for the following artists:
|Farrokh Bulsara||–>||Freddie Mercury|
|Gaston Ghrenassia||–>||Enrico Macias|
|Brian Hugh Warner||–>||Marilyn Manson|
|Vincent Damon Furnier||–>||Alice Cooper|
|Robert Allen Zimmerman||–>||Bob Dylan|
Others choose to appear on stage under a pseudonym or under what we call a “Stage name”, sharing at the same time a very personal and atypical universe. Through his stage name, the artist develops a new identity to voluntarily or not sow an ambiguity to the public. It is not a multiple personality disorder, but rather the emergence of one of the facets of the artist, such as David Bowie (David Robert Jones) with his famous character Ziggy Stardust.
It also happens that some styles of music influence the choice of the pseudonym, it’s cultural. We typically find this custom in the world of Hip Hop and Rap. The artists from these communities are more or less bound to use a moniker: the “Street Name”. The moniker is also closely linked to graffiti / tag.
|Curtis James Jackson III||–>||50 Cent|
|Marshall Bruce Mathers III||–>||Eminem|
Wu Tang Clan
|Robert Fitzgerald Diggs||–>||RZA|
|Clifford Smith||–>||Method Man|
|Dennis Coles||–>||Ghostface Killah|
|Jason Hunter||–>||Inspectah Deck|
|Lamont Jody Hawkins||–>||U-God|
|Elgin Turner||–>||Masta Killa|
|Russell Tyrone Jones||–>||Ol’ Dirty Bastard|
|Romell Young||–>||Dr Dre|
|Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.||–>||Snoop Dog|
I could go on and on for a very long time, the moniker is so widespread. It’s just the same for the Electro music scene. As soon as the Dj hits the decks, he is on stage under a new personality.
|Richard Melville Hall||–>||Moby|
|Quentin Dupieux||–>||Mr Oizo|
|Quentin Leo Cook||–>||Fat Boy Slim|
|Théo Le Vigoureux||–>||Fakear|
|Leonard Albert Kravitz||–>||Lenny Kravitz|
|Lucien Voulzy||–>||Laurent Voulzy (French musician)|
|Robert Nesta Marley||–>||Bob Marley|
|Erykah Abi Wright||–>||Erykah Badu|
If you feel that your name is too banal, take a new nickname. Personally, Cb… suits me very well.
What about you, what is your moniker?