17 Country Singers Who Don’t Go By Their Real Names

Faith Hill Instagram/Luke Bryan Facebook/cmt.com

So many celebrities have chosen to forgo their real names and instead, take a stage name. There are numerous reasons for this.

Some examples we’ve seen are that their real name is hard to pronounce, their name is already taken by another famous person, or they just want a marketable name.

Whatever the reason, it’s always a shock to learn that our favorite celebrities were born with a different name we’ve come to know and love them by.

Many a country singer have changed their name and we know some of these will come as a shock to some of y’all.

Let’s take a look at a list of country singers who go by another name – and we’ll reveal their real ones!

1. John Denver

The “Take Me Home, Country Roads” singer was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. Shortly after deciding to pursue a career in music, he realized his last name wouldn’t fit on a marquee, so he changed his last name to Denver, the capitol of his favorite state. Let’s be honest, we don’t even know how to pronounce Deutschendorf. Good call, John!

2. Randy Travis

Travis was born Randy Bruce Traywick and started off using the stage name Randy Ray before making it big as Randy Travis. He also tried to make a go at it using Traywick as his last name, but Travis was the name that stuck and he is now a Country Music Hall of Famer.

3. Shania Twain

The beautiful and talented Shania Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards. She changed her last name when her stepfather, Jerry Twain, adopted her. He was a member of the Ojibwa tribe and in 1991, Twain changed her first name to the Ojibwan name “Shania,” meaning “I’m on my way.”

4. Toby Keith

Legally, Toby Keith’s real name is Toby Keith Covel. He dropped his last name when he began performing and his daughter Krystal, also a singer, has taken her father’s stage name as well. Can you imagine telling your friends you are going to a Toby Covel show?! Definitely not the same!

5. Hank Williams

Hank Williams went by many nicknames before deciding on Hank as his stage name. He was born Hiram King Williams and didn’t think Hiram was a good name for a country singer. He went by “Herm,” “Herky,” and “Poots,” but chose Hank, and the rest is history! He became one of the most significant and influential singers of the 20th century.

6. Hank Williams, Jr.

His legendary father, Hank Williams, named him Randall Hank Williams, but he’s known to the world as Hank Williams, Jr. or just simply, Hank Jr. He acknowledges his real name on occasion and even refers to himself as “Rowdy Randall.”

7. Luke Bryan

What if a guy named Thomas was asking you to “shake it” for him?! Well, Luke Bryan’s real name is Thomas Luther Bryan, but he’s gone by Luke for a long time. Luke definitely suits him!

8. Wynonna Judd

Pay attention, because this story gets tricky!

Wynonna was born Christina Claire Ciminella. Her mother, Naomi Judd, quickly married Michael Ciminella after her boyfriend and Wynonna’s biological father abandoned them. When deciding to pursue a country music career, she changed her last name to match her mother’s maiden name and they went on to form the group The Judds.

Now for her first name…Ray Benson, frontman of the band Asleep At The Wheel, credits himself as helping Wynonna choose her first name thanks to a song of his that mentioned Winona, Arizona.

9. Travis Tritt

Tritt made a name for himself when he released his debut album Country Club in 1989. He was born James Travis Tritt, but dropped his first name when choosing a stage name. He must like the “T” alliteration! His wife’s name is Teresa and they have three children together, Tristan, Tarian, and Tyler.

10. Patsy Cline

The legendary Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley. Her mother’s maiden name was inspiration for her middle name, which was shortened to “Patsy” by her manager Bill Peer in 1955. Patsy’s husband at the time was named Gerald Cline, so when she took his name after they married in 1953, her career took off and now she is forever known as Patsy Cline.

11. LeAnn Rimes

Like her idol, Patsy Cline, LeAnn Rimes dropped her first name, Margaret. She now goes by her middle and last names, LeAnn Rimes. She broke out on the scene when she was just 14-years-old.

12. Kix Brooks

Half of the duo Brooks & Dunn, Kix Brooks has gone by his stage name for longer than he’s been alive! He was born Leon Eric Brooks III, but because he was so rambunctious in his mother’s belly, they nicknamed him Kix and the name stuck.

13. Tim McGraw

The “Humble and Kind” singer was born Samuel Timothy Smith. His biological father is Major League Baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, but he grew up believing his stepdad, Horace Smith, was his father until he uncovered his birth certificate at age eleven. He formed a relationship with Tug when he was 18-years-old and eventually took his last name.

14. Faith Hill

McGraw’s better half also doesn’t go by her birth name, Audrey Faith Perry. She married Daniel Hill in 1988 and used her middle name and her married name when she first started out. They divorced, but since she was already pretty famous, she kept his last name.

15. RaeLynn

The Voice star and Blake Shelton-mentee goes by one name: RaeLynn, but she was born Racheal Lynn Woodward. She’s been called RaeLynn almost her whole life, so it makes sense she chose that as her stage name!

16. Conway Twitty

Harold Lloyd Jenkins was born in 1933. He was named by his great uncle after his favorite silent movie actor, Harold Lloyd. There are a few different stories as to how he came up with the stage name Conway Twitty. Allegedly, he decided in 1957 that his name wasn’t marketable and tried to come up with a better “show business” name. The Billboard Book of Number One Hits states that he was looking at a roadmap when he saw Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas and chose the name Conway Twitty. Either way, he became a legend!

17. Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was born J.R. Cash, but when he enlisted in the Air Force, they would not accept initials as a legal first name, so he signed up as John R. Cash. He eventually took the stage name Johnny Cash, and was nicknamed “The Man In Black.”

Did any of these surprise you? Did we miss any? Sound off in the comments!