How popular is the baby name Chaka in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Chaka.

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Popularity of the baby name Chaka

Posts that mention the name Chaka

What gave the baby name Shanice a boost (multiple times)?

Shanice's self-titled album (1999)
Shanice album

During the late 20th century, the name Shanice saw four distinct spikes in usage: two prominent ones in 1988 and 1992, flanked by two smaller ones in 1985 and 1999.

Here’s some of the data:

  • 1994: 782 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 342nd]
  • 1993: 1,345 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 213th]
  • 1992: 1,859 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 167th]
  • 1991: 304 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 700th]
  • 1990: 289 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 725th]
  • 1989: 537 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 452nd]
  • 1988: 938 baby girls named Shanice [rank: 270th]
  • 1987: 140 baby girls named Shanice
  • 1986: 39 baby girls named Shanice

And here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Shanice in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Shanice

All four increases can be attributed to the same thing: mononymous R&B singer Shanice.

The initial uptick, in 1985, corresponds to her appearances on the TV talent show Star Search in 1984. As 11-year-old Shanice Wilson, she competed — at least twice — in the junior female vocalist category. Her performances earned her $5,000 in prize money. (She later said, “When I got that $5,000, you would’ve thought we hit the lottery.”)

Shanice Wilson on "Star Search" in 1984.
Shanice Wilson on “Star Search”

She also appeared on more than a dozen episodes of Kids Incorporated in 1984, but, surprisingly, she didn’t sing on the show — she was one of the backup dancers.

In 1988, following the release of Shanice’s initial singles the previous year, the name jumped into the girls’ top 1,000 for the first time ever. Shanice’s most successful early song, “(Baby Tell Me) Can You Dance,” reached #50 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in December of 1987.

The name’s highest-ever usage, in 1992, was fueled by Shanice’s biggest hit, “I Love Your Smile” (1991). The upbeat song was produced by Narada Michael Walden and stayed stuck at #2 on the charts for three weeks straight in February of 1992. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” category, but lost to a song by Chaka Khan.

Here’s the music video:

The name’s peak usage was also bolstered by the 1992 songs “Silent Prayer” and “Saving Forever for You,” which topped out at #31 and #4 (respectively) on the Hot 100.

The final uptick, in 1999, corresponds to Shanice’s last Hot 100-charting song, “When I Close My Eyes,” which climbed to #12 in April of 1999.

What are your thoughts on the name Shanice? Would you use it?


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.”

What gave the baby name Shalamar a boost in the early 1980s?

The Shalamar album "Big Fun" (1979)
Shalamar album

Last week we talked about the name Shalimar, so this week let’s look at the similar name Shalamar, which saw its highest usage in 1980:

  • 1982: 15 baby girls and 12 baby boys named Shalamar
  • 1981: 17 baby girls and 10 baby boys named Shalamar
  • 1980: 26 baby girls and 20 baby boys named Shalamar [debut for boys]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 5 baby girls named Shalamar
  • 1976: unlisted

What’s the explanation?

American vocal/dance trio Shalamar.

The group — which featured future solo star Jody Watley, along with Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel — started churning out hits regularly in 1979.

Over the next few years, two of the group’s singles earned Grammy nominations. (In early 1984, their song “Dead Giveaway” lost to “Ain’t Nobody” by Rufus & Chaka Khan.)

Interestingly, Shalamar had a name before it had any members. It was put together by Dick Griffey, the booking agent for TV’s Soul Train.

Which spelling do you prefer, Shalimar or Shalamar?

Sources: Shalamar – AllMusic, Shalamar – Wikipedia, Shalamar –, SSA

Where did the baby name Chakakhan come from in 1975?

Album "Rufus featuring Chaka Khan" (1975)
“Rufus featuring Chaka Khan” (1975)

When Grammy-winning singer Chaka Khan was born in Chicago in 1953, her name was Yvette Marie Stevens.

During her teens, Yvette “met a Yoruba priest who gave her a new name…based on her orishas, or guiding spirits.” Her new names, in order, were Chaka, Adunne, Aduffe, Yemoja, Hodarhi, and Karifi.

A few years later, she married for the first time and took her husband’s surname, Khan.

Hence, the stage name Chaka Khan.

Chaka joined the funk band Rufus in 1972.

In 1975, they released their fourth studio album, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, which included the popular single “Sweet Thing.”

That year and the next, the compound name Chakakhan appeared in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 16 baby girls named Chakakhan
  • 1975: 21 baby girls named Chakakhan [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: unlisted

Very likely these parents wrote the name with the space and the capital “K,” but it’s not rendered that way in the data because the SSA strips out things like spaces and internal capitalization.

The baby name Chaka also became more popular, but only for baby girls (many of whom were probably given Khan as a middle name):

Girls named ChakaBoys named Chaka
1976147 (rank: 899th)20

It has since dropped off the list entirely for both genders.

Chaka Khan eventually left Rufus and began a solo career, and in 2011 she was given the 2,440th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Source: Ollison, Rashod D. “Through the Fire.” Sun [Baltimore] 28 Oct. 2003: 1E.