General Question

niki's avatar

Should i use my own name, or make up NEW names for my different music projects?

Asked by niki (714points) June 8th, 2009

currently, i have about three music style concepts for my compositions (& very possibly also the whole production).
one concept is in the genre of ‘epic symphonic rock’
second is in the genre of ‘electronic-jazz’ (i’ll most likely be producing the whole songs, also with my own vocal).
the third one is another wholly different music concept/project, on what i’d call ‘classical-pop’ genre (it’s going to be me playing piano & also vocal, but i’ll also add further arrangements like strings,etc).

so far, as far as i know,
using my own name (ie: niki wonoto) would have the pros of people knowing that it’s me (this ONE person) who’ve made all the different-genre/concepts songs.
but the ‘cons’ seems to be that it’s uncreative(?) , and also, it’ll be hard to differentiate between three such distinct & very different music genres , so it would be too ‘mixed-up’ ?

on the other hand,
if i think & come up with a new name (ie: also for the electronic, and classical-pop projects, even though it’s probably going to be just me by myself, home-recording everything) , the ‘pros’ is probably that it’s going to be interesting & creative(?) , and also, people would be able to easily differentiate between each of my music concepts/projects.
but the ‘cons’ : people probably would think of these “names” as different artists (not me) ?

what do you think?
and how does it usually go in the professional music scene/industry?

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17 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The name you put to your art is essentially inconsequential.
Your signature, is in your art, not the title. That speaks more about you than the name you choose to represent yourself.

kenmc's avatar

Use fake names. They are usually more fun. Unless you have an awesome name to begin with.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you “go professional” your agent will be able to help you with that question. They are knowledgeable in the industry and can give good advice.

Dog's avatar

From Wikipedia:
A performer will often take a stage name because his/her real name is considered unattractive, dull, unintentionally amusing or difficult to pronounce or spell, or because it has been used by another notable individual or because it projects an undesired image. Sometimes a performer adopts a name that is unusual or outlandish to attract attention. Other performers use a stage name in order to retain anonymity.

As an artist I have two polar opposite genres I paint. I use an alias on one line to define them as separate and not to distract one genre with the other.

However all my work from both genres is copyrighted under my given name.

augustlan's avatar

I like the idea of using subtitles like:

Niki Wonoto: Rocking Out
Niki Wonoto: jazz-E
Niki Wonoto: <insert snazzy pop phrase here>

augustlan's avatar

@Dog Now I’m curious as to what the polar opposite of cute animals is!

shadling21's avatar

Stick with the one name, I’d say. Being recognized for your experience in many fields is certainly not a bad thing. It’s tempting to sort your artistic works with labels, but if you market yourself without being too specific, people can focus on your work rather on the logistics of your naming system.

The internet can be a tool for reaching out to fans of various genres, too. For instance, if you tag one song as “rock” and another as “jazz”, you’re hitting two audiences. If you start a blog and Twitter about your music, you can explain just why you enjoy working on certain styles at certain times. You can build and talk to your audience directly, and if you keep things professional, you will impress industry people. Basically, if you centre this all around your singular Internet identity (Niki Wonoto or Nikwon or MC Wonton or whatever you choose!), then people will find out about your side projects.

Pcrecords's avatar

Using different names can help you create the different music. I use several names for dance music, soundtrack composition and my more personal solo work.

Strauss's avatar

Look at what past performers did. A good ixample is Frank Zappa. When he did his rock-based stuff it was with the Mothers of Invention, or Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. It seems that his work that was more jazz-based he performed using only Frank Zappa.

The late great Ravi Shankar recorded and toured under his own name when the genre was classical sitar and Indian raga music. I also saw him (on tour with George Harrison) with an east-west jazz fusion group which he called “Ravi Shankar Family and Friends”. The music was totally different, a mix of Indo-pop and western Jazz, and the other musicians included Alla Rakha and Ali Akbar Khan, two notable artists from India, as well as some members of Tom Scott’s LA Express, a US Jazz group.

When I was performing, I would use my own name for my solo gigs, even if I had other musicians on the side. I also performed with a Zydeco trio, and used the name of the trio when we were performing in that genre. I used some of my original songs in both cases, but the arrangements were different.

augustlan's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Zydeco is awesome.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I say go with one name.Now if you chose to use your real name or alias thats all you :P IMO i get a greater appreciation for an artist when their music spans many genres. Keeping one name will enforce this.

niki's avatar

thanks for all the great responses/answers!
it seems that many of you suggested me to only use ONE name (whether it’s my real name, or an alias name that’s more interesting).
but a question immediately comes into my mind: what about MUSE?
and the frontman&band leader Matthew-Bellamy?
(again, sorry for using the same examples over all my threads, but indeed i’m a huge fan of them, & especially the frontman Matthew Bellamy. in a way, i could somehow ‘relate’ so much with him he2)
although we all know that MUSE is somewhat like Matthew’s “solo” project (ie: he’s the main conceptor, he composes MOST of the songs, plus he’s the lead vocalist, and a guitarist & pianist as well!) , but why didn’t he just use the name “Matthew Bellamy” ?
why did he use the name “MUSE” ?
any special consideration perhaps?
need to know this.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@niki because Muse sounds much more interesting.

niki's avatar

ok guys, help me again here,
now into more concrete/practical things:

there are 3 music projects that i’m interested in doing.
for each of them, i want to ask under which name i should be doing? and if it’s better to make a NEW Facebook, Myspace, iLike account under each different name, or it’s okay to use my own name for ALL the projects?

so here are my 3 project ideas:
1. one is an epic-symphonic rock/jazz project (i’m thinking of putting the “demo” version, by producing all using computer sequencer software, while still looking out for additional band members/musicians)
2. the second one is an electro-jazz project (also i’m planning to first produce by myself using computer software, and maybe later on finding a female vocal)
3. the third one, is a Solo classical-pop project, with me being the vocalist, and pianist. and perhaps adding a string section, music box, etc (is it also okay to release the demo version, with me producing all of ‘em in computer software?)

need your opinion again.

niki's avatar

still no single answer to my questions above? :(
need your help, guys.

YARNLADY's avatar

@niki Questions don’t work well in the comment section, try asking in the question section.

niki's avatar

@YARNLADY : thanks for the info, I’ll try to ask this again in question section.

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