18 Pop Stars Who Wouldn't Be Famous if They Used Their Real Names

18 Pop Stars Who Wouldn't Be Famous if They Used Their Real Names
Source: AP
Source: AP

Authors have been using pseudonyms for years to maintain their creative freedom and live boldly without boundaries.

Musicians, on the other hand, are often hiding names that quite frankly sound more like they belong to an accountant. Here are 18 artists whose careers benefitted quite a bit from losing some syllables.

1. Frank Ocean = Christopher Edwin "Lonny" Breaux

Nice try, Chris.

2. Prince = Prince Rogers Nelson

The artist formerly known as Prince was formerly the boy known as Prince Rogers Nelson.

3. Lorde = Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor

Lorde claims she adopted her stage name due to her fascination with the aristocracy.

She maybe also adopted it do to her fascination with not having a hyphenated, apostrophe'd last name. 

4. Lady Gaga = Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta

The "Oo-la-oo-Gaga" nonsense hook of "Bad Romance" wouldn't really have worked as well with "Germanotta."

5. R. Kelly = Robert Sylvester Kelly

Robert is not such a sexy name. Sylvester, however ...

6. Rihanna = Robyn Rihanna Fenty

This one isn't a big shift, but it turns out we've been saying it wrong all along. To this day, when Rihanna says her own name, she pronounces it Ri-anna, as in an-vil. It seems the rest of the world could care less, though.


7. Snoop Dogg = Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.

"Broadus" is pretty cool. Maybe this is the next in line for when Snoop finally tires of the endless Snoop-[insert spirit animal here] variations.

8. Bono = Paul David Hewson

Apparently even Bono's closest friends and family don't call him Paul anymore. Some decisions have irreparable consequences.

9. Bob Dylan = Robert Allen Zimmerman

When Zimmerman started out on the folk scene, he wanted a name that would help him connect with all-American salt-of-the-earth types. He thought his own name was too Jewish. After the notoriety George Zimmerman has acquired in the last few years, it is likely that Zimmermans the world over will be adopting pseudonyms for years to come.

10. A$AP Rocky = Rakim Mayers

Being named after legendary rapper Rakim basically made Rocky destined to become a rapper since birth. Still, being born without a dollar sign in one's name is a handicap, to be sure.

11. P. Diddy = Sean John Combs

He raps under a pseudonym, but makes clothes under his real name.

12. The Notorious B.I.G = Christopher George Latore Wallace

While he was alive, the B.I.G stood for Business Instead of Game, but was changed after his death to Books Instead of Guns, to help him leave a more positive legacy, making Christopher Wallace one of the only artists to change his pseudonym after death.

Take note, Diddy.

13. Katy Perry = Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson

As beautiful as Katy Perry is, there can only be one Kate Hudson. 

14. Kendrick Lamar = Kendrick Lamar Duckworth

Duckworth might be a fitting name for an antiques salesman or a rodeo clown. Not so much for a pioneering rapper.

15. Sting = Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner

Gordon really doesn't have the same zest to it.

16. Macklemore = Ben Haggerty

Haggerty actually went by Professor Macklemore, before he shortened it to just Macklemore. That was a more fitting name. The didactic, polemical style that he raps with on "Same Love" is very professorial.

17. Iggy Azalea = Amethyst Amelia Kelly

All right, frankly, Amethyst is better.

18. Elvis Costello = Declan Patrick MacManus

We sympathize.

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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