A look at the thesaurus provides the scholar with variations on our theme such as appellation, sobriquet, moniker, cognomen, eponym and more, each with its own nuance to the fact that it is a name, after all (think: a rose is a rose. )
There are any number of reasons why an artist might go by a name other than that which s/he was born with: the birth certificate name may sound pretty strange or worse, the manager may have said a stage name would be better, or perhaps the artist thought the stage name would convey a deeper/different innuendo. Some artists put a considerably greater effort into obscuring their original designation, leaving fans to discuss among themselves the whyfor and wherefore.
Born Dickran Gobalian, Leon Redbone has been entertaining audiences since the 1970s. Various sources provide differing accounts of the origins of his name. Assuming that it is in fact Gobalian, I would be inclined to side with the version that puts his family roots in the Middle East (some say Cyprus). But that is actually of little matter except in an exercise like “Stage Names”. Obviously, what matters most to us here at StarMaker is his musical output.
Whether it’s on account of his physical appearance, his demeanor or his musical style, I have to second the remark that he does in fact come across as “ so authentic you can hear the surface noise [of an old 78rpm]." The man further endears himself to me because no small number of the songs in his repertoire are songs that Ry Cooder has also performed. To wit:
Leon Redbone: Big Bad Bill