The lives of stars can be shrouded in mystery. Understandably so, with paparazzi lurking around every corner. But having a nickname isn’t always about hiding something or secrecy. Sometimes it’s because someone takes on a different persona on stage (like Ziggy Stardust). Sometimes an artists just embraces a name their parents never gave them.
Whatever the reason, in this blog post we reveal the real names of some of your favorite artists. In previous articles we have already discussed Stevie Wonder and Elton Hercule John. This time we’re going to talk about hip hop, country and old school ukulele vibes.
Halsey – Ashley Nicolette Frangipane
Did you know that superstar Halsey used to live on the street, smoke a ton of pot and drink Red Bull to stay awake at night (because that was safer than sleeping)? Well, this woman came a long way, she worked like hell, and she made it. Her tracks are hitting the top of the charts time after time. The track “Without Me” by Halsey consists of only four chords. Use the transpose tool and pitch the key to Em.
Her real name, by the way, is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. Yeah, the name already reveals the richness of her heritage. Halsey’s dad is Afro-American with Irish roots and her mom is of Italian and Hungarian descent, also with a little bit of Irishness. Halsey is, besides an anagram of her first name, also a reference to Halsey Street in Brooklyn, where she started making her first real tunes at the age of seventeen.
Gotye – Wouter “Wally” de Backer
This indie pop artist is maybe best known for his track “Somebody That I Used to Know”. In it the Belgian-born Australian Wouter “Wally” de Backer tells the painful story of a breakup. It actually could be seen as a blueprint describing many breakups.
But, we’re talking about names and not relationships. The artist’s name derives from the French translation of his name Wouter – Walter in English. His Mom used to call him Gauthier. De Backer chose his own phonetic spelling of the name: Gotye.
Fergie – Stacy Ann Ferguson
The Black Eyed Peas star Fergie started her career as Stacy Ann Ferguson at a pretty young age in the TV series “Kids Incorporated.” As a kid actor she had to learn how to suppress her feelings, which led – according to herself – to a drug addiction later in life.
After being part of the teenage group Wild Orchid, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas asked Stacy Ann to collaborate on a few tracks. Once she did her magic, she earned her spot in the group.
Her nickname first appeared in the media when, in 2001, Rolling Stone magazine announced that the Black Eyed Peas had hired “a blond bombshell named Stacy ‘Fergie’ Ferguson.” Five years later she recorded her first solo album; where she showed off her musical skills, proving her critics wrong. One of the first singles from The Dutchess was Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
Tiny Tim – Herbert Buckingham Khaury
One of the best-known ukulele players of the 20th century is probably Herbert Buckingham Khaury. “Who?!” Yeah, you know him as Tiny Tim from the song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Khaury came up with his stage name after a long journey in which he used a ton of different names.
The one that stuck was Tiny Tim. The story goes that when the artist was booked to play a gig where he had to play after a person of short stature, his manager took the liberty to ironically call Khaury – being pretty tall with 6.1 inches – Tiny Tim. The rest is history: Tiny Tim became a cult figure who played the ukulele as no other.
Nothing is as it seems
As you can see, nothing is as it seems in showbiz. Artists will be artists and that’s why we love them. They present us with a world where everything is possible. It doesn’t really matter how weird, cheesy or extrovert something is. If you can dream it, you can do it. So grab your axe, take a seat behind those keys, and kick out those tunes like you mean it. Happy jamming!