“The ________ singer”

This is something that’s bugged me for years, and was brought to my attention again yesterday by my friend Hilton Mashonga.

There’s a formulaic tendancy by some print journalists to refer to an artist/singer/band by their songs.

They’ll start the article by using their name, but in the next sentence will devolve into a bizarre sentence structure which references a song.  Allow me to demonstrate:


The angry ‘cease and desist’ letter demands that the Thriller singer’s former doctor stop giving interviews to media, or face legal action – Daily Mail, 28 November 2013

The former Disney star was spotted with Orlando Bloom and the Baby singer’s best friend Alfredo Flores at Los Angeles International Airport on 20 OctoberInternational Business Times, 22 October 2014

The “Wrecking Ball” singer has been dating Patrick since early November – New York Daily News, 20 December 2014


Three examples there which I got simply by googling the names of songs by Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus.

What’s my gripe here?


No-one actually talks like that.

“The ________ singer”

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