14 Musician and Band Names You've Probably Been Mispronouncing All Along

From pronouncing the name of one of the Beastie Boys to how to say “Sade” correctly, here are a few tips for your tongue.

Rihanna, David Bowie, and Bjork have all had their names mispronounced—frequently.
Rihanna, David Bowie, and Bjork have all had their names mispronounced—frequently. / Emma McIntyre/WireImage/Getty Images (Rihanna), Steve Rapport/Getty Images (Bowie), Gie Knaeps/Getty Images (Bjork)

If you know your favorite musical act only by what comes up on their Spotify tracks, you may be surprised to find you’ve been mispronouncing their name all along.

1. Rihanna

Rihanna is pictured
Rihanna. / Mike Coppola/GettyImages

If you’ve been saying the “Umbrella” singer’s name as “Ree-AH-na,” you’re all wet. Her name is pronounced “Ree-ANN-uh.” Writing a song titled “What’s My Name” was probably not a coincidence.

2. Haim

Este Haim, Alana Haim, and Danielle Haim are pictured
Haim. / Emma McIntyre/GettyImages

The trio of sisters get “Haim” as in Corey Haim, but it’s actually pronounced “HI-uhm.”

3. Sade

Sade is pictured
Sade. / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages

Born Helen Adu, the graceful singer can often be labeled “Sadie” or even “Shar-day.” It’s actually “Sha-DAY.” That’s also the name of her band, but most people consider Sade a solo act.

4. Björk

Bjork is pictured
Bjork. / Santiago Felipe/GettyImages

The Icelandic singer has likely given up correcting people who say “Bee-york” a long time ago, but you probably stand a better chance of an autograph if you say it properly: “Bee-YERK.”

5. Hozier

Hozier is pictured
Hozier. / Jamie McCarthy/GettyImages

Irish singer Hozier has heard it all, from “Hose-ee-air” to “Hozzer.” According to the musician himself, it rhymes with cozier—“HOH-zee-ur.”

6. David Bowie

David Bowie is pictured
David Bowie. / Dave Benett/GettyImages

Proving you can be as famous as any person who has ever lived and people will still mess up your name, rocker David Bowie isn’t “Bow-ee” where the “bow” rhymes with bow as in “take a bow.” It’s “BOH-wee,” like doughy. (In a 2000 interview where the interviewer pronounced his name “BOW-ee,” Bowie responded, “I don’t even know how to pronounce it any more, I’ve lost track. I always thought it was ‘BOH-ee,’ I thought it’s a Scottish name, it must be ‘BOH-ee,’ but no-one in Scotland pronounces it like that, they pronounce it ‘BOO-ee’ I think.”)

7. Adam Yauch

Adam Yauch is pictured
Adam Yauch. / Lynn Goldsmith/GettyImages

The Beastie Boys co-founder might have gotten “Yuck,” but it’s “Yowk.”

8. Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek is pictured
Ric Ocasek. / Frazer Harrison/GettyImages

The Cars member is “Oh-CASS-ick,” not “Oh-CASE-ick.”

9. Ray Davies

Ray Davies is pictured
Ray Davies. / David M. Benett/GettyImages

The lead singer of The Kinks didn’t pronounce it “Day-vies” but “DAY-viz.”

10. Macklemore

Macklemore is pictured
Macklemore. / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” singer gets “Mackle-more” a lot, but it’s actually “MACK-la-more.”

11. Chad Kroger

Chad Kroger
Chad Kroger. / Carlo Allegri/GettyImages

Nickelback singer Chad Kroger’s name is often pronounced “KROH-ger,” like the grocery chain—but as the singer himself told Loudwire in 2022, “It’s KROO-ger, don’t trust the internet ... If I just stop and go, ‘Actually, it’s Kroeger,’ I’m gonna look like such a d**k. So I’m just like whatever, I don’t care.”

Read More Articles About Commonly Mispronounced Names:


12. Sleater-Kinney

Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker
Sleater-Kinney. / Daniel Boczarski/GettyImages

You might be tempted to pronounce the first word in the name of this rock band—which was co-founded by Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein—“SLEE-ter,” but it’s actually “SLAY-ter.” The band took its name from a road located between Seattle and Portland.

13. Bon Iver

Justin Vernon, Sean Carey
Bon Iver. / Ben Gabbe/GettyImages

Don’t call this band “bon-EYE-ver”—it’s “bone-ee-VARE.” As band founder Justin Vernon explained in an interview with Pitchfork, “When I was living up north I wrote a letter. I’d come across a story about this Alaskan town that the people, the first snow of every year, they come out of their houses and gather in town square. They hug and kiss each other and they say ‘Bon Iver.’ I was like, ‘whatever that is, that’s cool!’ … Then I found out how it’s spelled [bon hiver] and it was sort of disappointing. I didn’t like how it looked. It didn’t have any emotion. ... I wanted to look at it and feel something. It was sort of a compromise. I sorta wanted it to be like ‘Bon Iverre,’ sort of like how I saw it, but that didn’t look good either, so I just decided to chop off the h.”

14. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish. / David Livingston/GettyImages

Billie Eilish may have sold millions of records before she turned 21, but that hasn’t stopped a number of news outlets from butchering her last name: It’s “EYE-lish,” not “EE-lish” or “EL-ish.”

A version of this story ran in 2022; it has been updated for 2023.