6. Alicia Keys – Alicia Augello Cook
After enrolling in the Professional Performing Arts School, Alicia Keys graduated at age sixteen. The valedictorian signed to Columbia Records not long after that, choosing to drop out of Columbia University, were she was accepted.
Her part-Italian mother helped her choose a professional name. Alicia Augello Cook used a dictionary to pick a new identity. After settling on Alicia Wild, her mother advised that it did not sound seemly, so she then agreed on using Keys, due to her piano playing.
5. Cher – Cherilyn Sarkisian
In the entertainment business, there are only a few artists who have managed to make it on a one-name basis: Madonna, Prince, and others whose last names fell off after their success, such as Mariah,Janet, Michael, and Whitney. But there is none other than Cher, who not only conquered the music world, but television and film as well.
She is the only artist to date to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart of each of the past six decades. She is the recipient of an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, amongst other awards. She is said to be worth around $320 million.
When she moved to Los Angeles at sixteen, she eventually met Sonny Bono, who at the time hired her as his housekeeper. He introduced her to label executives, and Cherilyn Sarkisian began as a backing vocalist, due to her stage fright. Over time, the duo became romantically involved, and once they began to perform together, they used the monikers Sonny and Cher.