Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj: 16 entertainers who have changed their name

From Stevie Wonder to Lana Del Rey

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, it seems, if the number of famous individuals who abandoned them is anything to go by. 

From Katy Perry to Charlie Sheen, a significant number of entertainers have ditched their birth names before launching their careers. For some, the change is so slight fans might not question it (Nicki Minaj), while for others, the name is quite clearly a ‘stage name’ or persona (Lady Gaga).

Catherine Lyn Scott, a publicist at London Flair PR said changing a name is “always advisable, especially for singers to create a simple and interesting name that can be easily remembered”.

“This can be said for Katy Perry, which sounds more playful than Kathryn Hudson and suits her girly performances,” she told the Independent.

Some of the most surprising changes are in the gallery below.

Whether a high-profile person chooses to change they name can also be attributed to whether they are changing personas on stage, according to Ms Scott. 

This is something Mark Collins, the founder of Mark Collins PR supports: “The importance of choosing the right name should not be underestimated,” he said. “It distinguishes you from those who you don’t want to be associated with and it helps you to grab the attention of, inspire and get into rapport with those that you want to speak to – and sell to.”

But why for some and not for others? Ms Scott says: “Acts like Ed Sheeran and James Bay perform as themselves, they don’t take on a different stage persona, so in their case an extravagant stage name wouldn’t suit their music.”

But for others, it suits them perfectly.

“If Jamie Foxx had kept his name as Eric Marlon Bishop, he probably wouldn’t be as successful as he is today.

“Lana Del Ray, was Lizzie Grant initially, however it wasn’t only her name that changed, her performance changed with her new name."

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