Aubrey Drake Graham, or “Drake” as he is known professionally, grew up in a musical family. His father was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis and, when Drake finally stepped into his own music career, he chose his middle name for his stage name.
He says he felt more of a personal connection to his middle name than his first name, seeing the first name as his more “proper” side and his middle name as who he is on a daily basis.
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, or Lorde as she’s known by fans, was born in New Zealand and had an interest in royal history and aristocracy - which is how she chose her stage name. When she finally settled on “Lord”, she decided to add an “e” at the end to make the name more feminine.
She has stated that, although she was just sixteen when she chose the name that she would be known by in the spotlight, she was glad that she chose a stage name that wasn’t just trendy at the time but had a noble sound.
The Little Wonder
A name as enchanting as Stevie Wonder has to be made upright? The legendary singer and songwriter was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins and received his first alternate moniker, “Little Stevie Wonder”, Motown founder and executive, Berry Gordy.
As his fame increased, the “Little” soon fell off of his nickname leaving “Stevie Wonder” behind. Although “Stevland Hardaway” sounds like an R & B singer’s name, the name “Stevie Wonder” has a few more ounces of flair and charm to it.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix was born to hippie parents (John Lee Bottom and Arlyn Dunetz) who lived an unconventional lifestyle and had even more unconventional names. Along with kids Rain, Liberty, Summer, and River were born Joaquin Rafael Bottom.
His siblings changed their last name to Phoenix and Joaquin also decided then to change his first name to “Leaf” because so many people struggled to pronounce “Joaquin”. As his acting career took off, however, he eventually settled again on “Joaquin Phoenix”.
Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Johnson. So how did she ever become the “Whoopi Goldberg” so many came to know her by? The truth is less than delicate. The first name (which reads more like a nickname) came from her jokes about “if you’re gassy, you’ve got to let it go”.
People told her she was “like a whoopee cushion” and the name stuck. Her mother figured that she might do better in Hollywood with a Jewish surname, so she chose Goldberg and the rest is history!