Personas Created by Musicians & The Psychology Of Stage Names

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Personas Created by Musicians & The Psychology Of Stage Names

In the world of the famous you get to call yourself what you want, Bob Dylan shared in a 2004 interview that some individuals are born with wrong names, to the wrong parents and in the land of the free you can change all that. At that moment it was well over 54 years since Bob Dylan uses his birth name, Robert Zimmerman legally became Bob Dylan not long after he signed his very first contract in New York. The reason for the name change was deliberately clouded by Bob Dylan at the time although he strongly denied that his chosen name was inspired by Dylan Thomas.

Do You Know Robert Zimmerman?

His decision as he says was to reinvent himself, to give himself a catchier name, it was a time when he needed to create a persona for himself, a persona that came with a train-hopping troubadour backstory, one consisting of more fiction and less fact. Bob Dylan always kept his identity, well his real identity a very closely guarded secret, he feared the exposure of his upbringing, which was, in reality, a middle-class Jewish upbringing. In November 1963 this was exposed by Newsweek, but it never undermined his career, it only bolstered his mythology.

David Bowie Adopted Various Personalities Publicly

Dylan’s reinvention of his persona had been clandestine, while David Bowie’s was quite the opposite as he adopted many personalities and it was all done publicly. David Bowie was born David Jones, he then changed his stage name to David Bowie in 1965 on the 16th of September although it was not a legal name change. Due to the continual increase in popularity of Davy Jones, then becoming a member of the Monkees, he later tells a fan in a letter in 1967, you know my name is David Jones, and I am sure I won’t have to explain why I changed it.

Yet Bowie was still not happy with his persona, he struggled to find the perfect fit and he only really felt comfortable once he invented Ziggy Stardust. Bowie later shared in an interview that he had no problem writing something for Mott The Hoople or Iggy Pop while working with Lou Reed. He said he could easily get into their frame of mind, their mood and write something to suit it perfectly. He told Joe Smith in 1988 that he loves creating artists.

Hip-hop artists rename themselves all the time, and Andre Romelle Young did the same and restyled himself, Dr Dre, while he famously sold more beats headphones than he could ever dream to make in a medical profession. William Leonard Roberts became Rick Ross to get fans to think he was a drug kingpin.

Yet, no matter all the name changes one of the most surreal character changes was that of Ziggy, describes as half out of the Japanese theatre and half out of sci-fi type rock, even the make-up and the clothes were outrageous, one thing is true it was unlike anything, anyone had ever seen before.