Local Current Blog

HALEY (formerly Bonar) celebrates International Women’s Day with a permanent name change

Haley performs at The Current's Birthday Party at First Avenue in January 2017 (Nate Ryan/MPR)

It’s International Women’s Day and the artist formerly known as Haley Bonar is celebrating with a name change. From now on, she will be known simply as HALEY. The artist announced her decision through a post on Facebook today, revealing that not only will her stage name be changing, but her legal one as well. In honor of her maternal family, her last name is now McCallum, her mother’s maiden name.

In the post, HALEY discusses how she has had to constantly correct mispronunciations of her last name her entire life, and dealt with “humiliation” from the jokes and correlations that people have made with it. The entirety of the post is as follows:

I was born in the 1980’s and without question, my sisters and I were given my father’s last name- a good, Scottish name that goes back centuries, and existed in the realm of our heritage until right around the time I was born, when the surname became strikingly similar to a slang term for an erection. Humiliation and degradation by cruel people has been a part of my life since childhood because of this (and whatever else about me that didn’t fit the “mold”), which I have fought by learning to tune out the harsh criticism and the art of correcting the mispronunciation.

I have been working my whole life at assimilating myself in the world as a woman, constantly questioning the social constructs that create the atmosphere surrounding the meaning of what it is to be female in modern society. One of the greatest lessons that I have learned has been firmly rooted in the relationship to the women in my family- as a mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister and niece. The strong women who have given me life, friendship, guidance, and support to always be myself, no matter what, have shaped who I am at my core, and with that, given me the ability to teach my daughter the same values.

These thoughts have drawn the path toward my decision to change my surname to reflect and honor my maternal family. My mother’s name- McCallum- another name borne of sturdy, Scottish blood- means “a person of peace”. I want to be at peace with myself, as do most of us on a daily basis in life. I want to progress toward what feminism truly means to me by shedding a cultural custom that need not apply anymore. This seems like a positive way to change something about my roots without losing a part of myself or my lineage in the process. With that being said, I understand that changing my name with regard to the work I have have created under my name can be confusing to fans, or people trying to find my music. So, although my legal name will be Haley McCallum, I will be performing etc under HALEY. Thank you for supporting this very personal and joyful decision! Happy #internationalwomensday

HALEY’s newest solo album is Impossible Dream. She is also a member of Gramma’s Boyfriend, who released their newest track “is the Terrorist” on February 15. She is currently on tour in the U.K and Ireland.

Hanna Bubser is a student at Hamline University.