16 Celebrities Who Changed Their Stage Names

16 Celebrities Who Changed Their Stage Names

Me, a fool who was still calling him P. Diddy: 🤯.

Plenty of famous people choose a stage name to set themselves apart. Sometimes, however, one name change isn’t enough, so they christen themselves with a new name.

Here are 16 celebs who changed their stage names:


BTS member Kim Namjoon’s original stage name was Rap Monster, but in 2017, he officially changed it to simply RM.

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He decided to change his name because he felt that Rap Monster no longer reflected the kind of music he wanted to create going forward.


Emily Stone had to chose a stage name because another SAG member was already registered under her name. She initially chose Riley, but she later changed it to Emma Stone.

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She chose a stage name similar to her real name because she had trouble responding to “Riley” on the set of Malcolm in the Middle.


Before Jermaine Cole went by J. Cole, he rapped under the name Therapist.

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One of his music mentors came across the name while flipping through a dictionary for inspiration.

Cole told MTV, “A few years later, I realized Therapist sounded like a wrestler’s name…J. Cole felt like my real name. That was a real natural fit. It didn’t feel like I was trying to be anything.”


Early in his music career, David Jones went by Davie Jones, but because Davy Jones of the Monkees rose to fame first, he decided to go by Tom Jones. However, that stage name was also already in use, so he settled on David Bowie.

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The name of his iconic alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, was inspired by “American street culture.”


Kesha Sebert, who previously stylized her mononym as Ke$ha, dropped the dollar sign when she “let go of [her] facade about being a girl who didn’t care” after entering rehab for an eating disorder.

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She told Refinery29, “My facade was to be strong, and I realized it was total bullshit. I took out the $ because I realized that was part of the facade. It was a journey and I’m happy — that was me in that part of my life.”


Shad Moss rose to fame as Lil Bow Wow, dropped the “Lil” in 2002, then pivoted to using his legal name professionally in 2014.

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He felt that the name Bow Wow no longer reflected the person he was.


In 2020, Nicholas Leanos officially changed his stage name from Lil Xan to Diego, which is his legal middle name.

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On Instagram, he said, “Leaving the old in the past…I’m restarting and reinventing myself!”


Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. debuted as Snoop Doggy Dogg in the early ’90s, shorted his name to Snoop Dogg when he joined a new record label in 1998, and went by Snoop Lion from 2012-2013.

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The change to Snoop Lion came after his conversion to Rastafarianism.


When he first began performing at stand-up open mic nights, Eric Bishop would sign himself up under “unisex names” such as Tracy Brown, Stacy Green, and, eventually, Jamie Foxx.

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He stuck with Jamie Foxx after a performance that earned him a standing ovation.


Elizabeth Grant created music under the name May Jailer from 2005-2007, released her debut album as Lizzy Grant in 2008, and rebranded herself as Lana Del Rey in 2011.

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She told Vogue, “I wanted a name I could shape the music towards. I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba — Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”


Prince Rogers Nelson dropped his famous mononym, Prince, in favor of an an unpronounceable “love symbol” in 1993.

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The Artist Formerly Known As Prince created the symbol to rebel against his record label, Warner Bros, who wanted him to stick to a strict production schedule rather than releasing new music as soon as it was ready. 

In a press release, he said, “The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros.”

He reverted back to the name Prince after his contract with Warner Bros expired in 2000.


Steven Georgiou performed under the name Cat Stevens until 1977, when he converted to Islam and changed both his legal and professional name to Yusuf Islam.

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He’s also gone by Yusef and Yusuf/Cat Stevens professionally.


Tahliah Barnett initially went by her childhood nickname, Twigs. However, at the behest of another artist already called Twigs, she modified her name to FKA Twigs — Formerly Known As Twigs.

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Her nickname was inspired by her constantly cracking joints.


Dante Smith rose to fame as Mos Def, but he changed his name to Yasiin Bey in 2012.

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He told GQ, “I began to fear that Mos Def was being treated as a product, not a person, so I’ve been going by Yasiin since ’99. At first it was just for friends and family, but now I’m declaring it openly.”


As a member of BTS, Min Yoongi goes by Suga, but for his solo work, he took on the name Agust D.

Cindy Ord / WireImage / Via Getty

The new name was partially inspired by his hometown, Daegu, which is also called D Town.


And finally, Sean Combs has gone through several stage name changes over his career. He was Puffy in 1995, Puff Daddy from 1996-2001, P. Diddy from 2001-2005, Diddy from 2005-2017 (although he still released music as P. Diddy because of legal concerns), and Love/Brother Love since 2017.

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He legally changed his middle name from John to Love in 2021.


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