Where did the baby name Taio come from in 2011?

Taio Cruz's album "Rokstarr" (2009)
Taio Cruz album

The vowely name Taio started popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the early 2010s:

  • 2013: 8 baby boys named Taio
  • 2012: 6 baby boys named Taio
  • 2011: 8 baby boys named Taio [debut]
  • 2010: unlisted
  • 2009: unlisted

Where did it come from?

British singer/songwriter Taio Cruz.

Taio’s full name is Jacob Taio Cruz, though that’s not his original name. His name at birth was Adetayo Ayowale Onile-Ere. (His father is Nigerian and his mother is Brazilian.)

His second album, Rokstarr (2009), was particularly successful in the U.S. The single “Break Your Heart” (feat. Ludacris) reached #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in March of 2010, and the single “Dynamite” reached #2 the following August.

Rapper Ludacris name-checked Taio in his verse for “Break Your Heart,” which Taio appreciated:

Luda’s verse helped Cruz clarify just how to pronounce his first name correctly. “He put my name in there, which is great — so people know to pronounce it now properly, hopefully,” Taio (pronounced “Tie-O”) said.

Apparently that wasn’t enough, though, because Taio felt the need to call his third album TY.O (2011) — a phonetic rendering of “Taio.”

But even this didn’t solve the problem. Here’s what he said during an interview in Australia in 2012:

“Everyone gets my name wrong which is quite funny cause it’s really two syllables long, it’s quite short,” he laughed, before demonstrating some of the more creative interpretations of his name.

“I think it’s because there’s so many vowels in my name.”

Do you like the name Taio? If you were going to use it for your own child, how would you spell it?


One thought on “Where did the baby name Taio come from in 2011?

  1. It’s a shame this name didn’t take off more! It’s got a nice sound, and I don’t actually think the spelling is confusing.

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