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]
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?
- “Bad Luck Has Michael Jackson’s New Protégée, Singer Siedah Garrett, Looking Like a Shore Thing.” People 23 Nov. 1987.
- Dulin, Dann. “Siedah Garrett: Cover Story.” A&U Magazine 3 Feb. 2017.
- Greene, Andy. “Siedah Garrett on Her Years With Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Diana Ross.” Rolling Stone 15 Dec. 2021.
- “The Hot New Singers.” Ebony Dec. 1988: 82-84, 86.
- Siedah Garrett – Wikipedia
- Behind the Name
Image: Screenshot of Siedah Garrett from the music video for “K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”