Have you been pronouncing the names of these musicians wrong?

There are few things more annoying than when people mispronounce your name. One of the cardinal rules of interviewing musicians is to make sure you get that right, otherwise you risk things going off the rails. If you’re not clear on how to say a subject’s name, it’s perfectly okay to ask. That’s how I learned the following:

  • Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode): Gahn
  • Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age): Hommy
  • Brody Dalle (Distillers): Dahl
  • Bon Iver: Bon Ee-vere
  • Macklemore: Mack LE more
  • Bjork: Be-yerk
  • Sigur Ros: Si-ur rose
  • David Bowie: For the last time, it’s BOW-ey (as in what you tie on top of a present)
  • Neil Peart: Pirt
  • Lykke Li: Leaky Li
  • Tove Lo: If you want to be pedantic about it, the Swedish pronunciation is To-veh Loo But she’s okay with Tove Low.

There are more, but you get the idea.

Here’s a graphic summarizing a new study by WordTips, which used the online pronunciation dictionary Forvo to see which musicians’ names gave fans the most trouble. Who knew that saying “Ed Sheeran” was so difficult?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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