To be a celebrity it seems like you have to be talented, hot, and have a memorable stage name. While some celebrities like Ricky Martin, (real name Enrique Martin), JLO, (real name Jennifer Lopez) and Becky G (Rebbeca Marie Gomez) only had to make subtle changes to make it in Hollywood, others had to get a lot more creative. Here are the stories behind some of your favorite celebrities‘ stage names.
Pitbull aka Mr. Worldwide, aka, Mr. 305 goes by a few names so let’s dissect them all. Pitbull’s real name is Armando Christian Pérez. In his biography, Pitbull described how the dog breed shares his same traits and determination to win. He explained, the dog “bite’s to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they’re outlawed in Dade County (Florida). They’re everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight.” Pitbull grew up in Miami which is why he calls himself Mr. 305, it’s the cities area code. But Pitbull’s fame outgrew Miami and he became a worldwide celebrity. He told America Way in 2017 “Mr. 305 has graduated to Mr. Worldwide... I am really living the American dream. I work very hard to develop a business that five, six, seven generations of my family can enjoy. I hope to accomplish something similar to what the Bacardi, the Fanjul, the Cuervo, the Slim families have achieved.”
While the world tries to figure out why Maluma deleted his Instagram, here’s how his stage name. Maluma was born Juan Luis Londoño Arias and explained on the Tonight Show that the name honors his family. “My mom’s name is Marlli, my father’s name is Luis, and my sister’s name is Manuela,” Maluma explained. “So I took the first letters of each name and put it as my artist name.”
Everyone knows the name Nicki Minaj but her real Onika Tanya Maraj. Minaj started performing as “Nicky Maraj” but she eventually changed it to Minaj. Minaj said in a freestyle “my real name is Maraj. Fendi flipped it when he met me because I had such a nasty flow! I eat bitches!”
While he wasn’t born into royalty, Prince Royce is a successful self-named Prince. He was born Geoffrey Royce Rojas and told Crossfade that his original stage name was just his middle name- Royce. He explained, “Royce means royalty or son of the king. Originally, it was just Royce. I Googled myself, but the car Rolls Royce would show up. So I thought, ‘What do I do to get people to find my music?’ I thought why not add Prince to it, since Royce means royalty. It clicked with the girls and stuff and we ended up keeping it.”
Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly made headlines after making it official with Megan Fox but his real name is a lot less gangster. MGK was born Richard Colson Baker. He chose his name after an American gangster in Tennesse that was alive during the prohibition era. The machine gun was the gangster‘s favorite. MGK also compares the speed of a machine gun to the speed of his rapping.
Rapper Eminem might share the same name as a bag of chocolates but he wasn’t born that way. His real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III. His biography explains that the name Eminem goes back to high school when he started rapping in a band with his friend. He chose “M&M” to represent his first and last name. The spelling eventually turned into Eminem.
Katy Perry didn’t stray too far away from her name, she was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. In 2003 she started performing as “Kathryn Perry” to avoid being confused for the actress Kate Hudson. Her mother’s maiden name is Perry. While Kathryn is a beautiful name it doesn’t scream pop star, so she shortened it and became Katy Perry.
Bruno Mars has one of the best celebrity stage names and it’s not surprising he wasn’t born that way. His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez but as a child, his nickname was Bruno because he looked like a famous wrestler named Bruno Sammartino. In an interview with GQ, he explained that Bruno has always been an alter ego for him. When he got home from school he would perform on stage for his dad and unce’s Variety show. He explained “It was like turning into Batman. I’d go to school and kids are calling me Peter and we’re playing baseball and kickball and shit, and then—’All right, guys, I’ve got to go!’—you put on a sequined jumpsuit and all of a sudden you’re Bruno, the world’s youngest Elvis impersonator!” Because of his Latin last name, he found labels and management trying to stick him in a box and encouraged him to sing like Enrique Iglesias. To avoid the stereotypes he changed his last name to something literally out of this world.
Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. In an interview with Flybe, she said her music producer, Robert Fusari said she reminded him of the famous Queen song “Radio Ga Ga.” From then on she became Lady Gaga.
Cancel culture might be coming after Doja Cat but she’s shown no signs of backing down. She was born Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini and told Dazed that she chose her stage name because of her cat and her love of weed. Doja explained, “I was heavily addicted to weed and weed culture, so when I began rapping I thought of the word ‘doja’ and how it sounds like a girl’s name.”