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7 Artists Who've Changed Their Names To Turn A New Leaf
From dropping letters in their names to full-on changing monikers, musical artists have gotten into different characters, stage personas or different phases of their careers with name changes. Throughout the years many artists have come to be known by different titles, GRAMMY-winner Sinéad O'Connor is just the latest to go a different route with her name. With fall comes change and in the spirit of embracing it, we've rounded some of the most iconic, humorous, necessary and life-changing name changes.
The name change game was never the same after late seven-time GRAMMY winner Prince, who became known as the symbols of the female and male gender combined in 1993. Publications writing about him got a lot of headaches, reportedly, his music label had to send publications a floppy disk with the symbol because it could not be replicated, but for Prince it was, "an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It’s all about thinking in new ways, tuning in 2 a new free-quency."
J.Lo /Jennifer Lopez
Whether you know her as Jennifer Lopez of just "Jenny From The Block," J.Lo is a triple-threat actress, singer and dancer whose talents and charisma have made her an international superstar. So when the GRAMMY nominee decided to go by a nickname given to her by fans, she did so in a big way by releasing her second album under the same name, 2001's J.Lo. While Lopez has since returned to using her original (birth) name, she changed her name legally after marrying Marc Anthony, she'll always be most affectionately referred to as J.Lo.
Young M.A./Young Ma
Sometimes, you have to change your name because there's just too many of the same names out there, or so was the case for rapper Young M.A., who originally came onto the scene as Young Ma.. "I made it up when I was younger—I had to be around 12 years old. I had other rap names, but they weren’t working out," she told Glamour. "It was originally Young Ma, but when a lot of other Mas started to come into the game, I had to change it. I didn't want to lose my name, so I abbreviated it to M.A." Lil' Mama, Remy Ma… it makes sense
The GRAMMY-winning rapper born Sean Jean Combs has given the world several names to call him over the years, with a somewhat confusing timeline, although he recently shared that he is fine being called any of his names. He began as both Puffy, his childhood nickname, and Puff Daddy in the '90s, as Complex explains. He used both names in his early releases, as Puffy on several early collab releases with his Bad Boy Records and Puff Daddy on his debut album No Way Out in 1997. In 2001, following legal issues and wanting a "fresh start," as Complex shares, he changed his name to P. Diddy, then Diddy in 2005, then back to P. Diddy, to Sean Jean to Puff Daddy and most recently to Brother Love in 2017, which he shortened to Love.
Understandably there is some uncertainty around which name he prefers, which he clarified to Jimmy Kimmel on his show in January 2018. "See, the thing is that you can call me the other names," he told Kimmel. "This is just an evolution of my spirit and my vibration. I'm Diddy. During the days that it's really, really good, I'm Love, which is all of the time."
Snoop Lion/ Snoop Dogg
The GRAMMY-nominated rapper born Calvin Broad entered the scene in 1992 as Snoop Doggy Dogg with his features on GRAMMY winner Dr. Dre's iconic debut album, The Chronic, following up with his solo debut Doggystyle in 1993, released on Dre's Death Row Records. In 1998 Snoop shortened his name to Snoop Dogg in order to switch labels and release music without Death Row. He picked up several nicknames with different degrees of staying power over the years, most notably as Snoop Lion in 2012, when he traveled to Jamaica to switch gears and record a GRAMMY-nominated reggae album, aptly titled Reincarnated, which he released in 2013. Shortly afterwards he returned to releasing music and going by Snoop Dogg, although he still uses several of his nicknames, such as DJ Snoopadelic when he gets behind the decks.
Yusef Islam/Cat Stevens
One of the first musical stars to switch monikers, '70s British folk hero Cat Stevens converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusaf Islam, going by the stage name Yusaf. Known for such ubiquitous hits as "Wild World" and "Peace Train," the GRAMMY nominee's original birth name is actually Steven Georgiou.
Shuhada Davitt/Sinead O'Connor
Also converting to Islam, Sinead O'Connor recently changed her name to Shuhada Davitt. Outspoken throughout her career, Davitt described her religious reasons for the change via social, writing, "This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian's journey. All scripture study leads to Islam." As O'Connor, the GRAMMY winner scored a mega-hit in 1990 with "Nothing Compares 2 U," which was famously penned by another name-changer on our list, Prince.