The Hindu name Narada first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the late ’70s:
1983: 19 baby boys named Narada
1982: 18 baby boys named Narada
1981: 29 baby boys named Narada
1980: 48 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Narada
1979: 19 baby boys named Narada [debut]
Where did it come from?
Musician and producer Narada Michael Walden, whose songs “I Don’t Want Nobody Else (To Dance with You)” and “I Shoulda Loved Ya” both reached the top 10 on Billboard’s R&B chart in 1979.
He went on to have a successful career, being nominated for a total of eight Grammys and winning three (two in the ’80s, one in the ’90s). He produced music for people like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Gladys Knight, Shanice Wilson, Tevin Campbell, etc.
He was born Michael Walden in Michigan in 1952. In the early ’70s, he became a devotee of Indian guru Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy gave him the spiritual name Narada, and Walden chose to use Narada as part of his stage name. (Carlos Santana, another follower, went by “Devadip Carlos Santana” for a time.)
In Hindu tradition, the character Narada is a sage and musician. He is portrayed “as both wise and mischievous, creating some of Vedic literature’s more humorous tales.”
Do you like Narada as a baby name? Would you use it?
Still waiting on the state data to know how much of this usage happened in Pennsylvania. The state data is out! PA was indeed the state that had the most Carsons, with 454 baby boys (8.7% of the national total) getting the name. This makes Carson the 11th-most-popular boy name in the state for 2018.
What are your thoughts on the results this year? Did anything surprise you?
[Disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated, and some were no doubt influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.]