The Surprising Real Names of 11 Popular Musicians


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Unless you’re a die-hard fan, you’d probably be surprised to learn the real names of some of your favorite musicians. This is because many artists opt to use aliases to create a unique persona (like Beyoncé’s alter ego Sasha Fierce), or to maintain some semblance of privacy. The use of pseudonyms also adds to their mystique and brand, allowing them to create an image that resonates more deeply with the audience. 

Here are 11 popular musicians and their real names, plus insights into their careers and contributions to the worlds of music and entertainment.

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1. Pink

Real name: Alecia Beth Moore

Known for her powerful, belting voice and edgy pop-rock music, Pink has been a mainstay in the music industry since the early 2000s. With banger hits like “Get the Party Started” and “Just Give Me a Reason,” her versatile talent has captivated audiences worldwide. Pink is also renowned for her high-energy performances, distinctive raspy voice, and acrobatic stage shows

Beyond music, she is also a strong advocate for various social issues, including LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare

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2. Lady Gaga

Real name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta

Lady Gaga burst onto the scene with her debut album “The Fame,” which included chart-toppers like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” Known for her edgy and outlandish fashion choices (who else remembers the infamous meat dress?) and elaborate music videos, she has since expanded her repertoire to include acting. Her role in “A Star is Born,” earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress. 

Gaga’s singing ability spans genres from pop to jazz, showcasing her versatility and talent. She is also an advocate for mental-health awareness and LGBTQ+ rights.

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3. Snoop Dogg

Real name: Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.

A legendary figure in West Coast hip-hop, Snoop Dogg is known for his laid-back flow and distinct voice. His debut album “Doggystyle” is a cornerstone of ’90s rap and features iconic tracks like “Gin and Juice” and “What’s My Name?” Over the years, Snoop has diversified his career to include acting, hosting TV shows, and even launching his own line of cannabis products. 

Despite Snoop’s many ventures, music remains his primary passion — with numerous albums and collaborations with artists across different genres. 

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4. Drake

Real name: Aubrey Drake Graham

The hugely successful Canadian rapper first found fame on the teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” before transitioning into music with his debut mixtape “Room for Improvement.” Drake’s unique voice and ability to blend genres in rap and R&B has made him one of the most successful artists of the 2010s and beyond. His top hits include “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance,” and “God’s Plan.” 

Most recently, Drake has made headlines thanks to an ongoing spat with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar. The two artists have released numerous diss tracks and jabs aimed at each other, fueling a rivalry that has captivated both fans and the media. 

Image Credit: The Come Up Show / Wikimedia Commons.

5. Bruno Mars

Real name: Peter Gene Hernandez

Hailing from Hawaii, Bruno Mars is celebrated for his retro showmanship, smooth vocals, and a wide array of hits spanning pop, funk, reggae, and R&B. Songs like “Uptown Funk” and “Just the Way You Are” highlight his talent for creating catchy melodies and lyrics. Mars is also known for his dynamic live performances, often featuring intricate choreography and vibrant costumes. 

His ability to blend different musical styles has earned him numerous awards and accolades, as well as a dedicated fanbase. 

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6. Miley Cyrus

Real name: Destiny Hope Cyrus

First gaining fame as the lead of the Disney channel series “Hannah Montana,” Miley Cyrus has captured the world’s attention with her acting and singing talents. After transitioning into a more mature pop star (though we think her raspy voice was made for classic rock), she has carved out a space of her own thanks to chart-topping hits like “Wrecking Ball,” “Flowers,” and “Party in the U.S.A.” 

Cyrus is also praised for her bold and sometimes controversial persona by pushing boundaries in both her music and public image. Beyond music, Cyrus is also a staunch advocate for animal rights, LGBTQ+ issues, and mental-health awareness.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

7. Alicia Keys

Real name: Alicia Augello Cook

Known for her soulful vocals and whimsical piano-playing (hence the name Alicia Keys), she’s known for hits like “Fallin'” and “No One.” Often blending different genres, including R&B, soul, and classical elements, her music has earned her numerous Grammy Awards and nominations. Keys is also known for her emotive lyrics and smooth singing voice that resonate with audiences worldwide. 

Beyond music, Keys is the co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, an organization dedicated to providing support to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

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8. Iggy Azalea

Real name: Amethyst Amelia Kelly

Iggy Azalea is an Australian rapper known for her provocative style and hits like “Fancy” and “Black Widow.” After moving to the U.S. at a young age to pursue a music career, she quickly gained recognition for her unique sound and bold personality. Her debut studio album, “The New Classic,” topped the charts and established her as a  force to be reckoned with in the rap industry, especially for female rappers. 

Despite facing criticism and some controversies, Azalea has maintained a strong presence in the rap and pop scenes. Her distinct accent and flair for fashion have also made her a standout figure across the music and fashion industries.

Image Credit: Pedro Mora / Wikimedia Commons.

9. Lorde

Real name: Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor

Originally from New Zealand, Lorde is a singer-songwriter that has made it to the big leagues. Her debut single, “Royals,” is her biggest hit to date and offers a fresh perspective on pop culture. Her music, known for its deeply personal (yet relatable) lyrics, coupled with minimalist production, has earned her numerous awards. Lorde’s ability to explore different sounds and themes have also made her a standout star. 

Beyond music, Lorde is known for her thoughtful and introspective approach to fame; she often uses her platform to discuss mental health, environmental issues, and the pressures of growing up in the public eye. 

Image Credit: benhoundijk / Deposit Photos.

10. The Weeknd

Real name: Abel Makkonen Tesfaye

Known for his distinctive and smooth voice that some critics have compared to Michael Jackson’s, the Weeknd is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the world. His rise to fame began with the release of his mixtapes, which then led to mainstream success thanks to albums like “Beauty Behind the Madness” and “After Hours.” His enigmatic persona, unique sound, and glitzy music videos have cemented his status. 

The Weeknd has also ventured into acting and production, notably with the HBO series “The Idol,” which he co-created and starred in. Despite high expectations from fans and critics, the show was canceled after its first season. 

Image Credit: The Weeknd by Nicolas Padovani (CC BY).

11. Lil Wayne

Real name: Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.

A pioneering figure in hip-hop, Lil Wayne is known for his prolific output and unique voice. Emerging from the New Orleans rap scene, he gained early fame as part of the group Hot Boys before launching a successful solo career. His albums “Tha Carter III” and “Tha Carter IV” are critically acclaimed, featuring hits like “Lollipop” and “A Milli,” which highlight his unique lyrical style and influence on rap music. 

Beyond music, Lil Wayne has also made headlines for his ventures into the business world, including his own record label, Young Money Entertainment, which has launched the careers of several major artists. 

Image Credit: Greg Doherty / Stringer / Getty Images.

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