- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Seeking to start a new chapter in his music career, country musician Billy Ray Cyrus is legally changing his name. As of August 25, his 56th birthday, he’ll simply be Cyrus, the singer told Rolling Stone magazine.

“I always went by Cyrus, and I begged Mercury Records to call me Cyrus in the beginning because that’s what I was comfortable with. I’m going to the hospital where I was born in Bellefonte, Kentucky, and legally changing my name,” he said, reported Rolling Stone Country on April 28.

Cyrus, who shot to fame on the strength of his 1992 hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” is also hoping to give new audiences a fresh take on the song, reworking it to be more faithful to the bluesy rendition he says he originally intended for the track, Rolling Stone said.

While mononymed musicians tend to be fairly common in rock and pop music — e.g. Bono, Prince, Sting, Slash, Rihanna or Madonna all spring to mind — far fewer stand out in country music. Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton come to mind as recognizable when you omit their last names, but they haven’t discarded their surnames entirely.

Sylvia, a pop-country singer popular in the early 1980s, is perhaps the best example of a successful singer in the genre who rose to fame with just one name.

Born Sylvia Jane Kirby, the 1982 ACM Female Vocalist awardee has long since retired from the industry, earning a living now as a life coach in Nashville, “classic country,” radio station KXRB reported in 2015. Sylvia also owns her own record label, on which she has released some albums, according to her official website.


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