Robert James Ritchie is the name the rapper/ rocker/sometimes country artist was born with. Family and friends whom was close to him refer to him as Bob. Kid Rock got his nickname while deejaying parties in suburban Detroit. People liked watching “that white kid rock” — and a career was born. Ritchie actually regrets the stage name now. “I’ll be an eighty-year-old man — ‘call me the Kid.'”
Real Name: Racheal Woodward
She’s technically Racheal, but the Texas teen grew up as RaeLynn. It’s a name her family and friends always called her, so when trying out for ‘The Voice’ in 2011, she simply dropped her last name to become a one-name star.
HANK WILLIAMS JR.
Real Name: Randall Hank Williams
Hank Williams, Jr. isn’t really a “Jr.” Randall Hank Williams is the son of Hiram King Williams. He’s also the father to Shelton Hank Williams, known professionally as Hank III. Williams, Jr. has never tried to hide his real name, referring to himself as “Rockin’ Randall” in ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.’ His other nickname is Bocephus, after a famous ventriloquist dummy his father enjoyed.
Real Name: Richell Rene Wright It’s easy to see how Chely Wright developed her stage name. Chely is a natural nickname from Richell, and the singer has kept the last name she was born with. Wright grew up in the small town of Wellsville, Kansas, and knew early on that she wanted to be a professional singer. Her biggest hit was the 1999 chart-topper ‘Single White Female.’
Real Name:Shawn Randolph Houser
Shawn Randolph Houser got his big break as a co-writer of ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,’ the 2005 hit for Trace Adkins. Since then, he’s started a successful solo career as Randy Houser. The Lake, Miss. native’s 2008 debut featured the Top 10 hit ‘Boots On,’ as well as ‘Anything Goes.’ In 2010, he released ‘They Call Me Cadillac,’ and is currently working on his third album.
Real Name:Terri Lynn Sauson Canadian-born Terri Clark adopted a stage name sometime before releasing her self-titled debut album in 1995. While it’s not clear why Clark dropped ‘Sauson’ … OK, maybe it is clear. That’s a tough last name to remember as anything but being close to the word ‘sausage.’
Real Name: Lauren Alaina Suddeth Lauren Alaina dropped her last name before beginning her run on ‘American Idol’ in 2011. It’s not unusual for a star to use a middle name as a stage name. You’ll find a number of country artists who’ve made similar choices.
Real Name:Eileen Regina Edwards Shania Twain changed her first name upon moving to Nashville, but Twain was already her legal last name, as it was the name of the step-father who raised her. Music industry executives decided Eileen Twain didn’t jump off of an album cover, so they settled on Shania, which means “I’m on my way” in a Native American dialect.
Real Name: John Henry Deutschendorf This may be somewhat obvious, but John Denver didn’t think Deutschendorf would fit very well on a marquee, so he adopted a surname. Colorado was reportedly his favorite state, so he borrowed their capital. There’s little doubt his decision was a wise one, as few people can pronounce his real last name, let alone spell it when searching for his albums for purchase.
Real Name:Thomas Luther Bryan It’s not a huge leap to get from Thomas Luther to Luke, so Bryan chose the abbreviated version of his middle name for his stage name. The shortened moniker is a little easier to remember, and plus doesn’t Tom Bryan sound a little bit generic?
Real Name:Samuel Timothy Smith If you found out your dad was a MLB pitcher, you might change your name to match his as well. Nothing against the name Smith, but being connected to Tug McGraw has a pretty strong upside. That’s what Tim McGraw did early in his life. It’s not clear why he adopted the name Tim instead of sticking with Samuel, but there’s little doubt we’d cheer for Sammy McGraw as heartily as Tim McGraw.
Real Name:Jason Aldine Williams There were a handful of basketball players named Jason Williams around the time Jason Aldean got his start in country music, so perhaps the singer felt his given name was too generic and forgettable. He changed the spelling of his middle name to that was easier to pronounce, but country radio DJs still messed it up, calling him Jason “All-deen” until word got out about how it’s correctly pronounced.
Real Name:Virginia Patterson Hensley Patsy Cline got her stage name from a marriage to Gerald Cline. Her manager suggested going by Patsy, a derivation of her middle name and her mother’s maiden name. It was the voice that made her perhaps the most influential female country artist of all time, however. One has to believe that Virginia Hensley could have become just as famous.
Real Name:Troyal Garth Brooks Garth by any other name might not be country’s most successful artist ever. It’s hard to imagine an arena full of fans shouting “Troyal! Troyal! Troyal!” Garth Brooks made a wise decision by relying on his middle name, for a stage name. It was the first of a million small but important moves the advertising major made throughout his career.