the clatter of keys

writing on music, politics, and sports from erin mckeown.

—mckeown

How to Say My Name

almost every day someone asks me how to pronounce my name. almost every day i have to spell out my name for someone. most of the time i am pretty patient about it. but sometimes, it just gets old.

early in my career, i was so shy and eager-to-please that i wouldnt bother to correct anyone. i was just thrilled some journalist, radio person, or fan even knew who i was. and then i started hanging around with my cousin, the extraordinary singer and songwriter susan mckeown. susan encouraged me to take pride in my name and its correct spelling and pronunciation.

i set about on a mission to be consistent and correct when it came to my name. i made sure before someone announced me, that they could be confident in how to pronounce my name. i even came up with some easy phonetics to help out people who struggled.

"mick-YONE"
rhymes with “phone”

i made very little headway with this. my next step was to alter my wikipedia page so that the first line of my entry has the correct pronunciation. no sooner than a day after i posted this, it was “corrected” to the most common mispronunciation: “mick-YEWEN”. i corrected it and added a note in the editorial history:

(last name is verifably pronounced “mick-YONE”. this comes from erin herself! dont change it!)

still, i get asked by people i work with. still, i get contracts and emails that blatantly miss-spell my name. you wouldnt believe how many times i have arrived at a club only to find the marquee, posters, or tickets say “ERIC” and some awful variation on my name:

McKewon
McKuen
McEwon
McKeon
McCue (like anne, the australian guitarist, who’s awesome by the way)
McQuellar (this really happened once!!)

my cousin leanne is an actor and stand-up comedian in LA. her birth-name is even more of a cluster-fuck than mine. i wont reveal it here, but it has many seldom used consonants in odd places. still, we all learned early how to say it and spell it.

anyway, when leanne was getting started in the business, she decided to change her name. i’ve often thought about this. and often wished i had done it when i was starting out. it would have saved a lot of headaches, annoyance, and the sneaking suspicion that half the fans i might have don’t even recognize my name when it’s spelled or said correctly.

leanne changed her last name to “mckeown”. it’s probably too late for both of us now.

  1. theclatterofkeys posted this