Have you ever wondered how your favorite musicians got their stage names? There are many reasons why a musician wouldn’t want to use their actual names as their stage names. First of all, some want to separate their private lives from their music careers and the other and most common reason is that their real names suck and are not catchy enough. Sometimes a musician’s real name limits them from projecting a particular image or look so they either make a few changes to their real name or get an entirely new name. The backstories of some stage names have great sentimental value to the bearers but others were just nicknames that happened to stick.
Today, we talk about how Burna Boy, Blaqbonez, Sarkodie, Fireboy DML and KiDi got their stage names.
1. How Blaqbonez Got His Name:
In an interview with Temisan Emmanuel on the Tea With Tay podcast. Emeka Akumefule known popularly as Blaqbonez explained how he got his stage name and the story was short and incredible. He said: “I stole it. It was my friend’s name. His name was Blaqbonez and he wasn’t using it for anything. He liked rap so he gave himself a rap name. He wasn’t even rapping, he wasn’t doing anything. So one day, I just said bro, you no de use this name. I like am and that’s how I started using Blaqbonez. He’s calling himself Blaq Lotario now. It’s still a useless name because he’s not using it for anything.”
2. How Burna Boy Got His Name:
In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Jimmy wanted to discover the origin story of Burna Boy’s iconic stage name. We couldn’t have predicted Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu’s response. This is what he had to say:
“This is weird but I used to draw comic books and stuff. I know I don’t look like it but I used to draw comic books and copy different superheroes like Spiderman and superman and then at a point, I wanted my own… I wanted to be my own superhero where I could draw myself as a superhero with a cape and all that so I was trying to come up with a name and all I could think of was Burna Boy.”
It wasn’t surprising when his 5th studio album “Twice as Tall” was accompanied by a comic book titled “The Secret Flame“. The animated comic was narrated by Benson Idonije, his grandfather who managed the father of Afrobeat music Fela Kuti. The comic documented Burna Boy’s spiritual journey of discovering himself and highlighted the moments that brought him to where he was at that point in time.
3. How Sarkodie Got His Name:
In an interview with Ghanaian talk show host and satirist, Kwaku Sintim-Misa popularly known as KSM, Sarkodie whose real name is Michael Owusu Addo disclosed the reason for choosing the stage name Sarkodie. He said his reason for choosing the name was that he associated the name with success. According to Sarkodie, growing up, all the people he knew with that name, who were his father’s friends, were rich so he believed having that name would help him find riches in his music career. He later reiterated this in a conversation with Ghanaian rapper M.anifest.
4. How Fireboy DML Got His Name:
In an interview with Nadia Neophytou for Okay Africa, Adedamola Adefolahan explained how he got his stage name Fireboy DML. He said:
“I first was just DML, from my name, Damola. It was the acronym I was using for a while. At that point, I had not found my sound. I was sounding like a regular Afrobeats artist, like what every pop Afro artist was sounding like at that time. But when I sat down, took some time to actually know what my sound was, I decided to rebrand. I went to Google ‘DML’ and I was like, ‘okay, when you blow up what will people see when they look up DML?’ I saw ‘data manipulation’ and I thought, ‘nah, this is not what you want for yourself!’ Fireboy is what a friend called me one time and it just had a nice ring to it. So, there you go. Nothing deep.”
5. How Kidi Got His Name:
Kidi revealed in an interview that he actually got his name from Richie Mensah, the head of his record label. Before signing officially with Lynx Entertainment, Kidi used to leave school to hang out and record music with the Lynx team. On one of those visits, Richie asked him what his stage name was. He responded with Nana Dwamena. Richie said that name was too long and wasn’t memorable enough so they did some research and decided on the name Kidi. According to Kidi, in Hausa, the word means rhythm and amongst the Ewe people in Ghana, the Kidi is a drum. It is the smallest of the Ewe percussion set. The Kidi and the other instruments in the percussion set are important elements of society as they are a main feature in dancing and the passing of knowledge.
They also unite and influence the younger generation, thus bringing about a degree of cohesion in society. This can be likened to the musician as his music influences the younger generation and gets them dancing.