A stage name is the foundation of any artist's brand, and finding a unique and captivating one can help you stand out from the crowd.
What Is an Artist's Name?
An artist's name—also known as a pseudonym or stage name—is a professional name that an artist uses to represent themselves while performing publicly. A stage name can have parts of the person's legal name or be totally distinct. People use stage names for numerous reasons, from paying homage to artists that inspired them to differentiating themselves from artists with similar names.
What is the Aim of a Stage Name?
Artists may keep stage names for various motives, such as:
- Avoiding confusion: Some artists with identical common names use stage names to avoid being mistaken for others with the same name.
- Developing a persona: An artist may use a stage name that lends itself to their stage persona.
- Simplifying their names: Some artists with longer or more complex names select stage names that are easy for people to remember or pronounce.
- Avoiding being pigeonholed: Some artists change their names to avoid being stereotyped by the music industry.
- Giving tribute: Some artists select their stage names to pay tribute to their favorite characters, authors, and artists.
How to Choose Your Artist Name
Many artists in the music industry and beyond have made careers on their artist names. Follow these steps to select yours.
- Use a part of your real name. If you have a different first or middle name, you can use that as your professional name. You can also choose letters from your full name and rearrange them to create a unique name for yourself.
- Use a childhood nickname as inspiration. If you had a nickname from childhood that you particularly liked, you could use that or a variation thereof as your name.
- Select a word that represents your style. Some stage names are intended to convey a certain image. If you have a distinct style or word that you think characterizes your persona, use that to inform your stage name.
- Think about artists who inspire you. Look to artists you admire—whether a musician, author, or director—who have influenced your work when coming up with your artist name.
- Try brainstorming a few ideas. Make a list of your favorite name ideas and choose the one that suits you best. You may have to brainstorm for a while to develop a good name that represents your persona, but having many options will help.
- Don't rush into choosing your band's name. Take your time selecting your band's name. It means a lot. It might be your single most noteworthy "branding" tool, so give it power. Cover song artists should be even more careful in choosing an excellent, searchable artist name because people won't be searching for you online using original song titles.
- Use an original name. It will help you distinguish yourself in search and show that your unique brand is more attractive than those who didn't take the time to find a name that wasn't already taken.
- Limit the number of monikers you use. We all know many hip-hop stars who go by multiple names, but there's a difference between you and them. They're already well-known. When you're establishing your career, don't confuse your audience by putting out similar music under a ton of different names.
Google your artist name first. This is an essential and easiest way to ensure your name is unique: search for whatever artist name you have in mind before deciding on something. Nobody wants to find out later that they have competition and a trademark lawsuit on the horizon.
Make sure your name is easily searchable. One of the first things most people do when they hear about a new artist is Google them. Being Googled as a musician.