Where did the baby name Siedah come from in the 1980s?

American singer/songwriter Siedah Garrett
Siedah Garrett

The name Siedah was in the U.S. baby name data for a 10-year stretch, from 1984 to 1993, and saw peak usage in 1988:

  • 1989: 47 baby girls named Siedah
  • 1988: 70 baby girls named Siedah [peak]
  • 1987: 14 baby girls named Siedah
  • 1986: 10 baby girls named Siedah
  • 1985: 19 baby girls named Siedah
  • 1984: 7 baby girls named Siedah [debut]
  • unlisted

Where did it come from? And what caused that spike?

The influence was singer/songwriter Siedah (pronounced sie-ee-dah) Garrett, a protégé of hitmaker Quincy Jones.

She wrote/co-wrote hundreds of songs — including, most famously, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” — and sang background vocals for a number of other artists (such as Madonna, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Wang Chung, Barbra Streisand, Peter Cetera, and Tamia).

Expectant parents wouldn’t have been aware of Siedah’s behind-the-scenes work, but they certainly would have been influenced by the hit songs that Siedah was featured on.

For instance, the name’s debut was likely due to Siedah’s 1984 duet “Don’t Look Any Further” [vid] with Dennis Edwards (formerly of The Temptations). The song reached #72 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in May.

And peak usage was no doubt fueled by an even bigger duet — this one with Michael Jackson himself. Their 1987 song “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” the lead single from the album Bad, reached #1 on the Hot 100 in September.

Siedah’s solo work may have also contributed to the name’s peak usage. Her own songs didn’t tend to perform well on the charts, but her most successful single, “K.I.S.S.I.N.G.” (1988), did manage to reach #97 on the Hot 100.

Siedah Garrett was born in Los Angeles in 1960 as Deborah Christine Garrett. She wasn’t a fan of her birth name:

It’s a pretty name but nobody called me Deborah. It was always abbreviated to Deb, Debbie, or DeeDee. I hated it.

At the age of thirteen, she adopted the name Siedah, which she defined as “shining and star-like.” (So far, I haven’t been able to verify this. The closest name I can find is the Arabic Sa’ida, which is the feminine form of Sa’id, meaning “happy, lucky.”)

What are your thoughts on the name Siedah?


Image: Screenshot of Siedah Garrett from the music video for “K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Siedah come from in the 1980s?

  1. My first guess at the answer to your title’s question was that a person who thought it was cute to name their kid heaven backwards (Nevaeh, IMO one of the the worst onomastic trends of the 21st century) had a sarcastic relative who named their kid Hades backwards, with an i thrown in for good measure. But if Siedah made up her own name, I’m fine with it. I think Deborah Christine is better, but admittedly conventional, and perhaps too tame for an artist.

  2. Interesting. My first guess for the origin of Siedah would have been the villain Xayide from The NeverEnding Story II…but the film was released in 1990.

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