It’s very common for artistes to have stage names. Nobody can tell how it began, but it’s been always that way. An artiste has his/her official identity and of course the stage identity. How artistes choose their stage names is however a mystery. Shaq The Yungin, not an artiste, got his nickname from high school. He was Shaquille henche they shortened it to Shaq. Yungin… well, we all know what ‘yungin’ means. Legendary singer Nameless’ case is maybe has the craziest stage name. The pioneers had crazy names all together. Just imagine Deux Vultures, Nameless, Wakamba Wawili, Redsan, Big Pin et al. Amani had the simplest name.

However, you do not have to have a stage name. You can use your official names and be lit. It’s something that is so much common in the new crop of artistes, with names like Kipsang, Dan Aceda, Otile Brown and Vivian making it big in the music industry, it seems stage names are no longer the in-thing in an artiste. What does this imply? It’s been argued before that artistes look for simple stage names since maybe their official names are a mouthful, but the most successful artiste in East Africa right now, Diamond Platinumz, might have just called himself Naseeb and made it. Or maybe Suzanne Owiyo might have called herself Suziyo, to make it easy for her fans.

Bahati, Naiboi, Boneye, Madtraxx, Kid Kora and the rest, what’s the inspiration behind these names?