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So you’re thinking about coming up with a stage name that defines your celebrity persona. Or maybe it’s necessary because your real name has already been made famous by somebody else. Or maybe your name is too close to the name of a popular singer, or actor or maybe it bears a striking similarity to the name of a notorious criminal or politician.

Whatever your reason for the identity shift, coming up with a stage name can be both frustrating and annoying. But there are some ways to have a little fun as you explore possibilities.

Significant Others

For example, let’s say you want to change your last name. And maybe you want the name to have some personal significance so that it’s something you feel connected to. One place to begin your search might be your family history. Maybe you might adopt your favorite aunt’s maiden name as your last name. Perhaps there was a nickname you were called when you were younger that you might play around with as a possible last name.

Places + Spaces

Another place of connection would be to look at your hometown and places where you’ve lived or favorite places to visit or vacation. The names of the towns and cities, streets and counties, rivers and neighborhoods might be the perfect fit for the last name of your stage persona or full name of a band you’re putting together.

Personal Heroes

You can also compile a list of your personal heroes. This list can include teachers, coaches, Brett Manning, doctors, hometown heroes, community leaders, and so on. Then the name becomes part of a tribute to those that have helped you find your voice and the courage to share it.

History + Heart

These are good starting points for finding that new last name. These options give you a personal connection that offers a sense of history and a place in your heart. And these same searches apply to finding a first and middle name if the personal connection or special meaning or significance is critical.

Feel The Theme

You can start by identifying a feel or concept or theme you want the name to suggest. Then, come up with names of celebrities, fictional characters, historical figures, and so on that suggest and define the feel, theme, or concept.

Then, you can mix these names up by pulling the first name of one and grabbing the last name of another to create the new name that fits the feel you’re after. You can then do variations of the new name.

Fifty – Fifty

There’s a simple, off the wall approach you can play with. Think of up to fifty “first names” you like and fifty “last names” you find intriguing. Then, assign each a number. Pull the numbers out of a hat. Keep going until something clicks or until that one combination triggers the name of your singing success superstar!

This approach can also be used for helping you come up with a band name. Imagine your alternative folk rock trio being named for your grandmother and a favorite Disney character.

Genre Driven

In addition, many upstart bands select names that reflect the music they play. You can think in terms of dreams, goals, struggles, and triumphs that are expressed by the music you perform. Put together a list of descriptive terms that stand for the feel of your music.

Then, compile a list of professions that represent the class of people that you mostly sing about and feel closely reflect the greatest potential for your fan base.

Mix + Match

You could mix and match pairs of a descriptive word and a profession until something fits. Then you might even tack on the number of members in your band. For example, let’s say you liked the descriptive word: hungry and chose the profession or occupation to be: homemaker. If there are four of you, the working name for the band becomes: Four Hungry Homemakers.

Catch Phrases

You could also choose favorite catch phrases you like and then pull bits from two or three to make up a phrase that sounds catchy but mysterious or strange or irreverent or even utter nonsense.

Twists + Spins

Some other examples for choosing a band name or stage name includes using misspellings of common words and names. You can mix letters and numbers and symbols. You can even make up words by combining or twisting existing words. For example, let’s say you need a name for your jazz trio. You’re intrigued by the words: thumbprints and heart attacks. Your trio might be called: three heartprints or when thumbs attack.

Final Word Play

Play with alliteration – the same consonants such as Three Times Trying or Big Bad Boo. Use the first initials of each band member, followed by the express or station or boulevard. The key is to keep playing until something sticks and you can’t shake it because you don’t want to.

These approaches may not yield the name you ultimately go with, but it may trigger some songwriting ideas. It can be used as a rehearsal exercise or fun way to just brainstorm or chill. In fact you might name your band or choose your celebrity moniker as your avenue of pursuit for singing success.

Randy Moomaw

Author Randy Moomaw

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