Help me with my name change.
January 9, 2012 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out the ins and outs of changing my name (legally)?

I am legally changing my name (in process right now) for both career and personal reasons. I am keeping my first name, dropping my last name, replacing it with my middle name, and getting a new middle name. So basically, the only thing that's actually *new* is the middle name. Anyway, the career-related reason is that I'm a musician and I think and have been told it sounds better as a "band" name. The personal reason is that I have a desire to drop the last name and all its baggage, and have since I was young. I have millions of things I don't understand! These are some:

1. Will it hurt my music career to change my name? I'm in the early stages - many demos posted to facebook, but no official releases yet. Also an offer to share the bill on a pretty big tour with a known band, a big development deal from a fantastic studio, and one radio show in LA under my belt where people would've heard the old last name. Keep in mind that my first name will remain the same, however. Also, I am invited back on this radio show soonish and could mention the name change.
2. I have a Facebook fan page that has well over a hundred fans, which is, for some reason, the limit above which you are not allowed to change your page's name. I either lose all my Facebook fans (noooo!) to make a new page, or have to keep using the old name for Facebook but am able to keep my fans. It would NOT be easy to rebuild that fanbase right now. But I intend to use the new name when I play out and stuff... so...? What do I do? Can I make this work somehow? I don't want to lose or confuse live fans OR internet-based fans.

1. I already know I can't change my gmail to a different address and still keep my account. What I am looking for are ways around this. I would like to be able to give out an email address that does not contain my old last name. The idea is to cut ties with it, so I don't want to see it/say it nearly every day. Is there a way to set it up so my gmail will come to a new email address into my old account and the old account will function just the same otherwise? And also obviously I'd want mail to SEND as if from the new address as well.
2. How far do I go? Debit card? I assume I'd have to change that one, right? Do I change magazine subscriptions? Other things I'm not thinking of? I don't want to have to see or associate the name with myself very much. That's... why I am changing it.

Also, just anything else I may not be thinking of. How do I get this name out of my life while keeping it (my life) intact and flowing smoothly?

Anonymous because it involves something legal and I'm paranoid. Didn't put it under "Law and Government" because that's not all it involves.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Caveat: I am not in the music industry, so I might be wrong.

That said, it's not uncommon for bands to change their name early on in their career, especially if the new name is more marketable. You've already made contacts, I don't think they're going to forget who you are if you change your name. You'll probably want to give them a heads-up, though, just in case.

With regard to the Facebook fan page, I've followed some artists who just had a normal Facebook account and had to switch to a fan page when the reached a certain number of followers. Essentially, they just made many announcements of the fact that the page was shutting down and a new one was opening up (and provided the link to the new one). They didn't seem to lose too many fans in the process. Not all of them are big name starts (in fact, most of them aren't), so I don't imagine it would be too different for you.


You can setup the old address to automatically forward to the new one (and create a permanent auto-responder telling people to update their records to the new address, if you like). I did this when I was working for a start-up and we made the switch from Gmail to our own domain. It worked without any problem.

In terms of changing your name on other things, if you don't want to see your old name anymore then I'd update everything that you can possibly think of, from banking all the way down to simply things like magazine subscriptions. I'm not entirely sure how to go about this, but it seems to make sense to change everything if part of the reason that you're making the change is to "escape" from your old name.
posted by asnider at 3:15 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

To fetch e-mails from your old Gmail account into your new one:

1) Enable POP access to the old account.
2) In the new account, add the old account as a POP3 mailbox.

There may be a lag of up to an hour before mails are automatically fetched, but otherwise your emails from your old and new accounts will end up in the new mailbox, and your responses will be sent with the new address in the From header (unless you choose otherwise in the setup).
posted by beryllium at 4:34 PM on January 9, 2012

David Bowie released his first five singles under the name "Davie Jones". He hasn't had much trouble with confusion!
posted by jeudi at 4:38 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

To build on jeudi's comment:
1. John Mellencamp -> John Cougar -> John Cougar Mellancamp -> John Mellancamp
2. Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr
3. John Henry Deutschendorf Jr., aka John Denver
posted by easily confused at 5:10 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

From the OP:
In regard to the email address: I was wondering if there is any way to make the mail from the new address come to the old address so I can give out the new address without the unwanted name to people/websites/whomever but I can still have all the endless folders and tabs and shit I've made over the years. Alternately, is there a way to transfer this info to my new email account somehow, if they're both Gmail? I just want to rid myself of this name without uprooting my entire life. I hope it's not ridiculously too much to ask? Thanks so much to all current and future answer-ers.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:05 PM on January 9, 2012

Yes, of course that's possible. Instead of forwarding the old to the new, you forward the new email address to the old. You can also change your From field to your new address or keep it the same.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:51 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

How far do I go? Debit card? I assume I'd have to change that one, right?

Yes, you should change your name with your bank, which will likely mean a new debit card. First you will need a new social security card and drivers license/state id. Any business that you have a financial relationship will need to know about the name change (employers, insurance and investment companies, schools, utilities, churches, associations, unions, etc) and they may each have a different process for you to complete.

You will continue to get mail and email in your old name. If you want, keep a list of the places that still have it listed that way and send out letters or emails once a month to let them know about the change. Google around a bit and you should be able to find a good list of places to start notifying and also a form letter that you can use if you want. I don't think it a good idea to pay a private service to do something it will only take a bit of your own time to do.
posted by soelo at 12:03 PM on January 10, 2012

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