My parents knew exactly what they were doing when they named me.
My mom, having lived in Detroit and loving Motown, always wanted to have a girl called Diana, after her favourite singer from The Supremes. It just so happened that she ended up married to my dad, whose surname is Ross.
And so I grew up listening to the music of my namesake and the band. I never needed anyone to tell me I have the same name as one of America’s most famous singers, I have known since day one.
Regardless, my family would remind me every chance they got. My uncle used to call me ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ after the other Diana Ross appeared in a film of the same name about Billie Holiday.
When I was younger, it used to annoy me so much.
My family knew the story, of course, but everyone else would ask the same questions. Did my parents intentionally name me after her? Did I know who she was? What songs did I like of hers? And so on.
Still, I never shied away from the association.
I remember going to a friend’s bar mitzvah when I was five. There was a live band there, and the moment they stopped playing – for a short break – I walked up to the stage, took the microphone, and started singing Stop In the Name of Love.
The band resumed positions and started playing along with me. I had the crowd joining in, too. It’s a moment that will always stick with me.
When you have a name like mine, you are born to stand out. As soon as I realised this, I stopped dreading people asking about my name, and instead told the story of how I came to be Diana Ross willingly.
It’s sad that it seems to only be people of my parents’ generation and older that even notice the connection now.
I can’t call myself a mega-fan, like my mum, and I haven’t listened to every album – but I love a lot of her tracks and will play them on repeat. I will always love Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Upside Down. Some of her first albums as a solo artist are also my favourites of all time.
I have a huge appreciation for her, but I do want to stand out and live up to the name in my own way; I’m not trying to live in her shadow.
This is made quite a lot harder as I’m a singer, especially because I can’t use ‘Diana Ross’ as my stage name due to copyright.
Instead, I am Diana Nicole Ross and I have been releasing music for the past two years. At least our music sounds quite different, with my songs being of the R&B genre.
Music isn’t my full time job – I work in HR and as a dancer and photographer for an event company – but I think my name has instilled in me a need to entertain others.
I’m happy that I share a name with the I’m Coming Out singer. It’s a strong moniker and she is so amazing; she has definitely inspired who I am as a person. I believe my name helps motivate me to keep being the person I am.
I’m so glad that I was able to see her in concert a few years ago. She is an incredible performer and the quality of her vocals was something else! I felt honoured just to be in her presence.
While I’ve never had any contact with her, my mom wrote Diana Ross a letter right after I was born. She told her that she had named her daughter after her and talked about how much she admired her.
She didn’t receive a reply, but I like to think Ms. Ross knows I exist. One day I would love to meet her.
Hello, My Name Is…
It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.
In Metro.co.uk’s weekly Hello, My Name Is… series, we’ll hear the funny, surprising and frankly mundane stories of people whose parents really didn’t know what they were getting their children into.
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