6 Commonly Mispronounced Band Names

Is it Bowie or BOW-ie? Bjork or Be-yerk? When vowels aren’t vowelling and consonants just won’t consonant, sometimes we say things incorrectly. And that’s okay; names are hard and we’re only human. We’re here with 6 commonly mispronounced band names and how to say them.

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1. Sleater-Kinney

Pacific Northwest rockers Sleater-Kinney were inspired by their hometown when choosing their moniker, a moniker that is more often than not mispronounced. The name Sleater-Kinney looks like it would be read with a long e sound, like “SLEEter-Kinney,” but it is instead pronounced, “SLAYter-Kinney.”

2. Die Antwoord

South African alt-hip-hop outfit Die Antwoord has a worldly style and a name to match. Borrowed from the Afrikaans language, their name means “The Answer,” and we have the answer as to how you pronounce it. Regularly thought to be “dye ant-werd,” it is actually pronounced like “dee ahnt-voort.”


The name of the Los Angeles-formed sibling trio HAIM is not pronounced how it looks. Their band name is also the sisters’ – Alana, Danielle, and Este – last name and is surprisingly a two-syllable word correctly pronounced like “hahy-ihm,” not like “haym.”

4. Gotye

The name Gotye has been a toughy since the Belgian-Australian artist released his 2011 hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” to international acclaim. Gotye is the singer-songwriter’s name … sort of. Born Wouter André De Backer, he took his first name and translated it to the French equivalent, Gauthier. Then he respelled it. Gotye is pronounced Gauthier which is pronounced like “gow-tee-ay.”

5. Bon Iver

Bon Iver is another band’s name taken from French, respelling the phrase bon hiver, meaning “good winter.” Often said like “bon EYE-ver,” the Justin Vernon-led project actually takes on the softer, more rounded pronunciation, “bohn ee-VAIR.”

6. Macklemore

While not a band, rapper Macklemore’s name still gets frequently mispronounced. It is a name that has been with the artist – born Ben Haggerty – since high school. What began as a persona known as Professor Macklemore would later become his stage name, revised to be simply Macklemore, and it is often mispronounced in a small, but distinct way. Instead of Mack-EL-more, it is Mack-LA-more.

Photo by Frank Hoensch/Redferns

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