Category: baby name Etta
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The connection to the haunting voice of a well known jazz or blues singer definitely adds an element of –well—rhythm and blues—to a name’s image, an extra infusion of richness and pizzazz. Boyish Billie takes on new depth when listening to Lady Day, Etta goes from fusty to soulful via the “At Last” singer James. Here then, the Nameberry Picks of the jazziest ‘girl’ jazz singer names.
Billie Holiday, one of the greatest and most tragic jazz singers of all time, was born with the name Eleanora and took her professional name from an actress she admired called Billie Dove—who was originally Bertha. Billie is a tomboyish nickname name that was in the Top 100 from 1928 to 1935, and now seems to be making a return—Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane have a young daughter named Billie Beatrice.
It’s pretty obvious that some popular names start a daisy chain of cousins that become equally popular, as was seen most recently in the progression of a group of top girls’ names beginning with E. First there was Emily, which was the Number 1 name from 1996 to 2007. One year after that, Emma reached the top spot, only to be trailed by Ella, who has now been in the Top 20 since 2008.
Yet as recently as the 1980s, Ella wasn’t even in the Top 1000, seen as a rather frumpy has-been, stuck in appellation limbo. Which leads us to wonder who will be next? Which two-syllable E-name will escape from the lower depths to follow in this progression?
The leading contenders:
Lately I’m wondering: is all this talk about baby names changing the names we use?
A century ago, parents could draw inspiration from the newspaper, the Bible, literature, music, and anything on the family tree. There was room for creativity, but actual data gathering would have been difficult.
Today a few keystrokes will tell you how many girls were named Isabella last year, or whether hundreds of random strangers think that Ethan Alexander is a good name for your son. No wonder an expectant mom actually grimaced when I asked her if they’d chosen a name yet.
With all of this information, could it be that trends will accelerate? Will we talk ourselves out of using great names? I’ve heard of dozens of parents deciding against their top choice for fear that Stella is the next Ava. Or maybe they’re desperately searching for a name just like Logan, but much less popular, without actually being too unusual.