Ever wonder why some stars decide to change their name or their stage names throughout their career? While initially many celebrities may change their legal names to something more catchy or easier to pronounce, many artists have different reasons for the altercation. Such as alter-egos or aliases…sometimes they get in legal trouble, forcing them to make the switch or they just like the name of the witch on an Ouija board. Read below and find out why these ten celebrities decided to change their names throughout the course of their career.
10. Vincent Furnier—Alice Cooper
Before the band Alice Cooper was ever known, they were a garage rock band called the Spiders who had moved to LA to perform. Sadly, according to thebiographychannel.co.uk, critics critiqued them as, “the worst band in LA.” From there, in the year 1969, they switched their name to Alice Cooper. Vincent Furnier picked up the name from a Ouija board. The witch doctor on the board was named Alice Cooper. And just like that, he switched his name along with the band’s title.In 1971, after being signed by Warner Bros., their proceeding album entitled, ‘Love It to Death,’ threw them into the best selling charts category. The name Alice Cooper stuck with Furnier even when he left the band in 1974, and the band went ahead and changed its named to ‘Billion Dollar Babies.’
9. David Jones—David Bowie—Ziggy Stardust
The iconic rock star David Bowie did not always have his legendary rock-star title Ziggy Stardust. In fact, his David Bowie did not really have the name ‘Bowie’ originally, either. His name is Davy Jones, however, because he didn’t want to become confused with the famous Monkee, in 1967, he shifted his name to David Bowie on the release of his first self-titled album. And Ziggy? Ziggy Stardust was not created overnight. In fact, the honing and making of Ziggy Stardust into what we know him as today took ten years. The name was, according to songfacts.com, was inspired by a, “’60s psychobilly musician legendary stardust cowboy” and many others to create his persona.
8. Christopher Wallace—Biggie Smalls—The Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie Smalls didn’t change his rap name by personal choice. Actually, the name Biggie Smalls was the name of a character in the movie “Let’s Do It Again.” The 1975 movie revolves around blue-collared workers who decide to jinx up a boxing match. Why? In hopes the money will be handed to their fraternity. The character Biggie Smalls was the leader of the pack and he was played by Calvin Lockhart. Once Wallace took on the name, Lockhart sued him. Thus, he had to change his name and he went with Notorious B.I.G.
7. Calvin Broadus Jr.—Snoop Dogg—Snoop Lion—DJ Snoopadeliz—Snoopzilla
The stage name Snoop Dogg was buried when Calvin Broadus Jr. decided to study the spiritual ideology known as Rastafarianism, whose roots are based in Jamaica. To follow this statement, the former Snoop Dogg said at a press conference, “I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion.” For when Broadus met with a Rasta priest, the priest did not approve of rappers name. Instead, he rechristened the former Snoop Dogg into Snoop Lion. The reasoning? According to The Huffington Post, Ennis Edmonds, who is a scholar on Rastafarianism, he stated that lions are seen in a prideful way to the ideology whereas dog represents someone with the absence of self-knowledge.
6. Onika Maraj—Nicki Minaj—Roman Zolanski—Nicki Lewinsky
The Queens-born rapper Nicki Minaji changed her original name when her first manager recommended the idea. But, as she discussed with Out Magazine, the alter-ego Roman Zolanski, a gay male, and Nick Lewinsky were created to prove that she wants no labels. She told Out Magazine, “I just don’t like that people want you to say what you are, who you are. I just am.”
The infamous Madonna changed her name when she started practicing the mystic and new age branch of Judaism known as Kabbalah. Kabbalah is a school of thought, and so inspired was she from the method, she decided to change her name to Esther, meaning star. The origins of the name derive from the Persian name Satarah. According to an interview with ABC’s 20/20, although Madonna was named after her late Mother who passed away when she was young, Madonna made it clear that changing her name was in no way a dishonor her mother. She stated, “This is in no way a negation of who my mother is. I wanted to attach myself to the energy of a different name.”
4. Marshall Mathers III—M&M—Eminem—Slim Shady
The Detroit-based rapper originally took the initials of his name, M from Marshall and M Mathers, and spelled it as M&M, before it converted into Eminem. According to Eminem’s memoir, “The Way I Am,” Slim Shady came into the world when Proof suggested each of the members in D12 have an alias so each of them would have the, “power of two emcees.” Regarding how the name Slim Shady was created, Eminem states in his memoir, “The name came to me when I was on the shitter. Literally. I was taking a shit and the name just hit me. You know, you do a lot of thinking when you’re shitting.” Slim Shady would represented the misjudgment Eminem would receive from people when they labeled him as trailer-park trash. And so, Eminem took that image that people used to label him and twisted it into Slim Shady’s persona. Nowadays, Marshall, Eminem and Slim Shady seem to collide into one, but the alter-egos are obvious when they stand alone.
3. Sean John Combs- P. Diddy—Puff Daddy- Diddy
In 2001, Sean John Combs who had always gone by Puff Daddy, changed his stage name to P. Diddy, along with nicknames like Diddy, and the change was permanent as ten years past. Or so we thought. However, according to Billboard, now after a decade, he will be swinging back to his old title, Puff Daddy, before his new record ‘MMM’ will be released. Why the sudden change? Radio.com says he’s reverting back to his old title in honor of his new album. This will be his first album released in four years.
2. Andre Lauren Benjamin—Dre—Andre 3000
Growing up, Andre’s mom used to call him Dre, as many others still do. However, during a time when he had a new spiritual view on life, he chose to put himself apart from Dr. Dre, and switched his alias name to Andre 3000. At this same time, he gave up alcohol and drugs and switched to a vegetarian diet. To match this, he switched his apparel as well. So with the new name, came a whole new persona.
1. Jennifer Lopez—J. Lo.—Jennifer M
The Bronx-singer who caught her début in the film Selena, goes by her maiden name Jennifer Lopez. However, according to popeater.com, while she was dating P. Diddy in the 90s (who is now going back to Puff Daddy, see above), she minimized her name to match his so it ended up as J.Lo, a fun nickname that caught on fast with fans and ended up inspiring her second album’s name: J.Lo., which was number one on Billboard’s Top 200. But with that nickname, she was able to call the remix of her second album, J to tha L-O! The Remixes. When she was married to Marc Anthony and then later divorced in 2011, it was revealed she had legally taken his name, so her name was Jennifer Muniz (Marc Anthony’s real last name).