15 Musical Artists Reveal How They Picked Their Stage Names

  • 1

    Post Malone

    Post Malone put his real name into a random rap name generator when he was 14, and he's stuck with the results ever since.

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  • 2

    Doja Cat

    Doja Cat named herself after two things she loves — weed (aka doja) and cats.

  • 3


    Sting often wore a black and yellow striped sweater during his Phoenix Jazzmen days, so one of his band members nicknamed him after a bumblebee.

  • 4

    Alicia Keys

    Initially, Alicia Keys wanted to go by "Alicia Wilde," but her mother put a stop to that and helped her decide on "Keys" (like a piano) instead.

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  • 5

    Cardi B

    Cardi B's nickname growing up was Bacardi because her sister's name is Hennessy, but she shortened it after her Instagram account kept getting deleted.

  • 6

    Chumbawamba member Alice Nutter

    The punk musician turned writer was born Anne Holden. She legally changed her name to Alice Nutter who was a woman accused of witchcraft and hanged in 1612.

  • 7

    Machine Gun Kelly

    His real name is Colson Baker. He adopted the stage name Machine Gun Kelly from George "Machine Gun Kelly' Barnes, the infamous prohibition gangster. 

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  • 8

    Snoop Dogg

    Snoop Dogg's mom nicknamed him after Snoopy because of how much he loved the Peanuts character growing up.

  • 9

    Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga's producer Rob Fusari nicknamed her "Gaga" after the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga," and she added "Lady" because of its regal connotations.

  • 10


    Saweetie's stage name was originally her Myspace display name, which came from a nickname her grandma gave her.

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  • 11


    Lizzo's name was inspired by Jay Z's song 'Izzo.' 

  • 12


    When he was 14, Eminem started rapping under the name "M&M" which were his initials (Marshall Mathers), and it evolved into "Eminem."

  • 13

    Vanilla Ice

     Vanilla Ice uses a nickname he earned as a teenager because of his pale complexion and a dance move he invented that mimics sliding on ice.

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  • 14

    Iggy Azalea

    And finally, Iggy Azalea used to wear a necklace with her dog's name on it, and she decided to use it as her stage name when people kept asking if the name on the necklace was hers.

  • 15

    John Legend

    John Legend took on his stage name after the nickname became more well-known in his social circle than his real name. His friends basically decided it for him. 

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