17 Jan Lilith Czar, and Deciding Whether to Change Your Artist Name
by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
I’ll never forget Season 2 of the Voice, and the moment Team CeeLo rock singer Juliet Simms stood onstage, tearfully waiting for Carson Daily to crown the winner. With her big voice and Janis Joplin swagger, Simms was a sure bet — or so I thought. Her loss to some other guy whose name I’ve forgotten was one of the most devastating moments in reality-TV history.
I hadn’t thought about her for a while, until the other day, when I learned that she’d changed her artist name — and her entire musician vibe — to Lilith Czar.
But the name isn’t the only thing that’s different. Gone is the wild mane of dark blonde hair and the hippie chic attire. In its place, we have a Goth-metal starlet with a sexy, sinister Betty Page look. The voice, of course, is no less stunning — but getting used to the transformation took a minute.
The timing of this news, for me, couldn’t have been better: For close to a year, I’ve been toying with the idea (and seriously considering) changing my solo artist name. After more than 15 years as Marisa Mini — an identity that scored me two national tours, a Daisy Rock Guitar sponsorship, and two callbacks for a music reality show — I can no longer say I’m the same sexpot-in-a-vinyl-skirt that helped me launch that alter ego.
There’s also the fact that I recorded music as Marisa Mini that sounds like crap (because I made it on home computers), or simply doesn’t reflect anything about my reality as a wife, mom, or musician.
In other words, I’m still a bad girl who loves to roam. But I’ve already repurposed my best songs for my band Trashing Violet. What’s left, after this process, is just the new material — and new songs that feel more authentic, intentional, and well-executed.
I’m not the only person who’s considered changing their name.
Lots of artists explore the name-change process. Sometimes they want a fresh start, other times, their sound has morphed into something different. Other times, they don’t want to be associated with the music under their old names. A handful of artists have changed names several times (Prince was notorious for changing his name to a symbol).
There are several potential advantage:
- the new name feels like a musical makeover
- new fans will be less likely to find your old work
- you will be primed to enter a new market, with different artists.
But are You Ready for Making a Change?
Tutorials like this one from Spotify help artists navigate the process of changing metadata and contacting your distributor.
But doing away with your older published work is a lot harder, and requires multiple “take down” requests for multiple outlets (e.g., YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, etc.).
This raises an important questions: Are you truly ready to let go of your old name? And is the new name you have in mind “the one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Do you really know who you are? And is that persona really a different one than the one you originally loved?
What I ended up doing
At the moment, I’ve quietly drifted away from Marisa Mini is on hold, and begun to create a new presence. Currently, my music is being recorded under Marisa Bloom. It feels like the right move, given the awful quality of the GarageBand CD I made in 2009. Also, I’m a mom and don’t want my kids easily stumbling upon the dirty, f-bomb-laced stuff I put out (which I am still proud of), before they turn 18.
But there are moments I feel pangs of guilt or self doubt. After all, I created Marisa Mini as a cute, quirky, flirty version of myself without my “professional” given name (which I use for writing gigs). Also, Bloom is my married name, and a common one. I’m not the only Marisa Bloom on Spotify, or making music in the Internet-searchable world.
So stay tuned. For now, the advice I’ve heard is to sleep on it and meditate. Make a decision but be open to changing it. Until I have to release my first album as a solo artist with a new name, I’m keeping an open mind.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.