All kinds of artists call upon a stage name, from musicians and actors to comedians, dancers and other conjurers. A stage name can help an artist create and reflect a personality to their audience or connect with an audience more effectively. A stage name can also allow an artist to keep a certain distance between his art and his private life.
Part 1 of 4: choose a stage name
Step 1. Understand what a stage name can do for you
There are several things there can help you do that affect your name choice.
- A brand image: A stage name can help you create a brand image for your character, giving you a separate identity to use as a label.
- The separation between private life and artistic career: A stage name is a name for public use and it can sometimes become a reference. While some people still know your real name, separating your real identity from your stage name can help protect your privacy.
- Development: If you have a fairly mundane name, a stage name can make you stand out from the crowd and be easier to recognize.
- Considerations related to prejudice: In the past, some artists have used stage names to dampen racist, anti-Semitic or other forms of prejudice. Fortunately, this is less the case today. Likewise, some women may avoid taking a compound name, as it may indicate that they are married, which unfortunately can be detrimental to their careers at times.
Step 2. Choose a name that reflects your personality
Your stage name is a way of expressing yourself. What should your name represent? Consider how a stage name can channel the performance of your artistic character.
Step 3. Create a story around your name
Whatever your stage name, we will undoubtedly want to know why you have such a name. Consider imagining a more interesting story to go with your name, if yours isn't very compelling.
Step 4. Research your name
Look online as well as in an etymology dictionary to know the meaning of the name you have chosen. Learn the history of this name. Does the meaning of this name reflect a historical event that you have chosen to highlight?
Step 5. Choose a name you can search for
Think about how you can be found using search engines like Google. It might be difficult to find yourself online if you use a word that is too trivial, especially a single word like Danger or Heart.
Step 6. Pick a name that will grow with you
It can be tempting to choose a name that reflects the present moment, where you are just following a fad. Also know where you will be in your career ten or twenty years from now. Is this stage name also suitable for an older artist?
- Child artists should consider changing their names as they grow up. Joe Yule named himself Mickey Rooney, a good name choice for a junior actor. But it turned out to be much less useful in adulthood. Likewise, singer Lio should have dropped this teenage pseudonym for her real first name Wanda, which is more appropriate for her career as an adult singer.
- Pick a name that you won't get bored of too quickly. Consider a different nickname if you think you'll hate your stage name six months from now.
Part 2 of 4: use a last name
Step 1. Use your childhood nickname
You may have been called something else in your childhood and this nickname can become a very useful stage name. Lady Gaga got her stage name, for example, from an episode in her teenage years, where she sang Radio Gaga.
Step 2. Use your middle name
Adopt a singular name that is none other than your middle name, just like rapper Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, did. Likewise, Angelina Jolie Voight dropped her last name and instead chose her two first names as first and last name.
Step 3. Use your family tree for inspiration
Use your grandmother's first name or your great-uncle's middle name. Your stage name allows you to keep a link with your family.
Step 4. Use your last name
Some artists are content with their last name by dropping their first name because it is difficult to remember or because they have always hated it. Liberace, for example, dropped her first name, Wladziu, and just kept her last name.
- Some artists may have started their careers with their full name or with a stage name that includes a first and last name. Reinventing your career may also require you to change your name, but you still want to keep the recognition or reputation you've already earned. Drop your last name and stick with a first name.
- You can also add another name to it. Consider adding a last name to your unique first name to give yourself a new stage personality.
- You can also change or divert your last name. Some artists add a last name to their name (whether it is made up or not) as did Courtney Cox who added Arquette to her name when she got married. She dropped it when she got divorced.
Step 5. Choose the same stage last name as your parents'
You could make a connection between your name and that of your parents, if you were born in a family of artists. It can help you make a name for yourself and give you some recognition among your admirers and potential employers.
Carlos Irwin Estévez, for example, became Charlie Sheen in an attempt to match his last name with that of his father Martin Sheen, whose real name is Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez. Another son, Emilio, kept the family name
Part 3 of 4: the formation and pronunciation of a stage name
Step 1. Consider changing the pronunciation of your name
If you have a name you like, you could play around with its pronunciation and change the order of the letters to make it more interesting. The Gotye group changed the pronunciation of the French surname Gaultier.
This is not always a good idea, especially if you are still adding a letter where it is not needed. You will only mislead people and make it harder to pronounce your name
Step 2. Do not put symbols in your name
It can be very sexy to replace the S in your first name with a $ or an I with an exclamation point, but it can just be confusing and possibly cause mistakes in the pronunciation of your first name. You should avoid it, even if Ke $ ha and others have.
The singer Prince traded his name for a symbol to terminate his contract with Warner Bros in 1993. As this symbol was unpronounceable, he was called The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. It can only work when you already have a well-established reputation and a good fan club and that would only complicate things in the end anyway. Prince resumed the first name that made him famous after his contract with Warner Bros. expired
Step 3. Add an exotic element
Some stage names can benefit from a touch of the exotic. This is often the case with comedians or cabaret artists. Adding a particle (French or foreign like Von) or a Latin "la" suffix can make your name more exotic or sparkling.
Step 4. Know how your name will be pronounced
You may find that it is difficult to pronounce your name if your name is very unique. Think of actors like Quvenzhané Wallis, Saoirse Ronan or Ralph Fiennes. These are hard-to-pronounce names that often require spelling-checking in newspaper articles.
- Consider using a different pronunciation of your name to facilitate correct use by the public and the media.
- You will undoubtedly overcome this problem when you become well-known.
Step 5. Consider your profile for an international career
Is your name suitable for artistic performances abroad? As the internet today allows fans to connect with artists around the world, consider how your name resonates in different cultures around the world.
Step 6. Keep some consistency in the pronunciation and spelling of the name
Do not switch between using an S and a $. Pick your spelling and stick to it.
Part 4 of 4: use a stage name
Step 1. Try your name
Your name can sound great when you say it out loud in your bedroom. Know how it feels when someone else calls you. Think of it as a way to test your name.
Step 2. Don't use the law to change your name
You don't need to legally change your name unless you completely let go of your real identity. This will help you keep a separation between your private life and your artistic career.
Step 3. Register your stage name with an artists' association or corporation
If you are currently a member of an artists' association or union, you should add your artist name to your membership record. It's best to make sure that no one else can take the same stage name as you.
You might consider joining an association or something else, if you haven't already. In this case, you should keep in mind that you should register under both your names, your real identity and your stage name
Step 4. Update your bank details
You could integrate your stage name with your bank details. This is especially valid if you have a bank account reserved for your business where you have your artist's fees transferred. Be sure to include both of your names on this account to avoid misunderstandings.
Step 5. Reserve your social media account nickname under your stage name
When you've chosen a stage name, make sure your online presence mentions it. Don't open a Facebook page with your real name. Identify yourself on Twitter and create an account.
Step 6. Reserve an electronic domain name
When you've chosen your stage name, use it to reserve a domain name. This is a good idea to avoid using your name illegally or seeing others use your notoriety for their benefit, which is called "cybersquatting".
- Search the Internet for sites that register domain names and make sure your name is not already taken.
- Register your name online using a registration form. Choose the period during which you want to reserve your name. You can do this in ten-year increments. You will need to pay fees, which may vary by registration site and from year to year. These fees generally amount to around 8 to 15 euros for a first registration.
- Pick a stage name for yourself as soon as you appear in public. The name itself allows you to portray yourself and connect with your audience.
- Don't feel like you have to take a stage name. You can also use your real identity. This makes it more difficult to separate your private life and your career. But you could keep your real name, if it's original enough, like Benedict Cumberbatch.