Where did the baby name Safire come from in 1989?

Sa-Fire's self-titled debut album (1988).
Sa-Fire album

The name Safire first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1980s:

  • 1991: unlisted
  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: 6 baby girls named Safire [debut]
  • 1988: unlisted
  • 1987: unlisted

What put it there?

Latin freestyle singer Sa-Fire.

She was born (as Wilma Cosmé) in Puerto Rico, but grew up in New York.

Her self-titled debut album, released in 1988, spawned four singles — all of which reached Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

The most successful was the ballad “Thinking of You,” which was written “about her uncle who died of AIDS in the Bronx.” The song peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in May of 1989. It climbed even higher (#4) on the Adult Contemporary chart.

One reporter guessed (in 1989) that the trendiness of Sa-Fire and other “up-and-coming Latino stars” had been fueled by a film:

Since the success of the movie and sound track album “La Bamba” two years ago, the American pop music charts have become populated by young Hispanic performers — Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, Sa-fire, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Sweet Sensation, Exposé and Martika.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Safire? Do you like it more or less than, say, Safira?


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