Where did the baby name Martika come from in 1986?

Martika's self-titled debut album (1988).
Martika album

The name Martika began popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1980s:

  • 1988: 8 baby girls named Martika
  • 1987: 12 baby girls named Martika
  • 1986: 13 baby girls named Martika [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: unlisted

Why?

Because that’s when American singer/actress Martika (pronounced mar-TEE-kuh) began making a name for herself as the character Gloria on the children’s musical variety series Kids Incorporated (1984-1994).

“Martika” was both the nickname and stage name of Marta Marrero, born in California in 1969 to Cuban parents who’d fled the island “shortly after the revolution.”

In 1988, her debut album Martika was released. It featured the popular single “Toy Soldiers.” (This song was sampled recently by Eminem.)

Her second album, Martika’s Kitchen, came out in 1991.

As you might expect, the name Martika became much more popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s:

  • 1994: 47 baby girls named Martika
  • 1993: 69 baby girls named Martika
  • 1992: 179 baby girls named Martika
  • 1991: 146 baby girls named Martika
  • 1990: 273 baby girls named Martika [rank: 756th]
  • 1989: 207 baby girls named Martika [rank: 892nd]
  • 1988: 8 baby girls named Martika

It even gave rise to two variants, Marteka and Martica, both of which debuted in 1989.

But as the ’90s rolled along and the singer’s fame began to fade, the baby name Martika became less popular. It ended up dropping out of the SSA data entirely in 2002.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Martika?

Sources:

  • Biography – Martika
  • Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 2nd ed. London: Guinness Publishing, 1995.
  • SSA

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