How to Choose a Stage Name You Won’t Regret
From Bono to Björk, and from Pink to Prince, some of the music industry’s most notable music artists chose very distinctive stage names. Depending on your music genre, a stage name may be a critical part of your personal brand, as it directly impacts how you are perceived in the eyes of your supporters. Below we cover 8 key points you should consider as a singer when choosing a stage name:
Do all singers need a stage name?
While it is popular for artists/singers to use a stage name, many musicians choose to use their given name and/or surname and if you have something distinctive, it might be worth sticking with it.
These are our top tips for choosing a stage name you won’t regret:
#1 Create a persona
As well as creating something distinctive, having a stage name can help you to adopt a persona when performing. Immersing yourself in an alternative identity can be liberating and allow you to create an even more engaging stage presence.
For some singers, it can make all the difference; reportedly, David Jones was incredibly shy, but you would never know it watching him perform as David Bowie.
#2 Keep your stage name on brand
Creating your own unique brand is a key part of establishing your music. Your stage name, real or adopted, will be front and centre, so give a lot of thought to what it might say about you and your music.
As music writer Ben Wardle explains, a good band name, just like a movie or book title, should tell you about a band’s style and character.
Knowing your audience is key: research successful artists in and around your genre to get a feel for what will best suit your brand.
#3 Make your stage name marketable
Imagine a music promoter designing a flyer for a gig. Will they feel comfortable or even excited to put your name in big letters at the top of the billing? Your name should make an impact — and in a positive way.
There are plenty of bands who have achieved fame with an offensive name, but they are definitely the exception and not the rule. Being distinctive doesn’t mean being crude. You might be tempted choose something incredibly obscure but meaningless in order to try and draw attention but this can be hit and miss, especially if it doesn’t suit your genre.
Caution: Shameless plug ahead! Continue reading below.
#4 Make your stage name memorable
Mononyms are all the rage (Lorde, Rihanna, Adele) but this can be tough if you don’t have the massive marketing budget or a major record label behind you to make you stand out.
Finding a single word that creates an impact in your circle might feel easy; but finding a mononym that is isn’t used by someone else on the planet is a much tougher challenge. It’s doable but don’t be tempted to make rash decisions.
#5 Be unique, but don’t push it
“Atlas” might seem a great name for a band – until you take into account that there are at least 50 artists by that name already registered on BandCamp. And keep in mind that it’s not just other artists that you’re competing with; it’s pretty much the entire world.
If a new fan types your name into a search engine, they should find you, not a shoe company in Australia. At the same time, if you choose a really weird spelling or use non-standard characters, your fans are going to have a hard time tracking you down.
#6 Brainstorm your ideas
This is a decision you don’t want to rush, therefore, spending some time scribbling down your ideas is definitely worthwhile.
Even if all of the names seem terrible, getting the bad options out of the way can be part of the process.
#7 Get some feedback
Once you think you’ve come to a decision, start testing your choice with your friends and fans. And while you might be confident that you’ve found the right name, if those people are all telling you that it’s no good, maybe you need to come up with more ideas. If you look for feedback, be prepared to consider it!
#8 Consistency is key
One of the advantages of choosing something unique is that you can use it across all of your internet platforms, from YouTube to SoundCloud to Instagram and beyond.
When setting up a website, you’ll want to grab the .com if it’s available. Checking all of this can be exhausting but, fortunately, there are some useful tools online that can help with the process.
And remember — once you’ve made your decision, stick with it! Changing your name part way through could be a very expensive decision.
…Take your time when choosing a stage name!
Your stage name can make a real difference, so don’t rush the decision and be sure to put the work in. You need to find something that reflects you, your music and your brand.
It should make you stand out, and must be something that can be sold to an audience of potential fans, as well as helping your existing fans track you down.
Name generators can help to get you started and once you’ve found something you like, audience-test it to see how it resonates with people who already love your music.
Do you use a stage name? How did you choose yours? Let us know in the comments.