Sometimes those short birth announcement stories in PEOPLE provide an interesting slant on celebrity baby names. I read the news–that Isaac Hanson and wife Nikki had given birth to their first daughter, Nina Odette quickly. I slowed down when I got to the part about Nina’s older brothers: Clarke Everett (who will turn 7 next month) and James Monroe (5 ½). Here’s what caught my attention: when Hanson said, “I know that Everett and Monroe are excited about being big brothers.”
Now you’re probably wondering: What’s the big deal about Everett and Monroe? Did you notice that Hanson referred to both of his boys by their middle names, not their first names? Consider this:
-Their baby girl’s middle name, Odette, may be more important than Nina in the Hanson household.
-I flip out when some celebs (like Thandie Newton) give their children middle names (like Jomba) that are unfamiliar and may not provide a solid fall-back or safety option for an unusual first name (like Booker).
Nina is a cute name that has many sources and many meanings. It’s a familiar form of Hannah, which means “gracious;” It’s a Spanish name that means “girl;” and it’s a Native American name that means “mighty.” But what Nina has going for it is Nina Simone: a brilliant and unique jazz, blues and folk singer and songwriter who was a major figure in the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s.
Odette gives Nina another strong name to use as needed. It’s a German and French form of Odelia: a Greek name that means “melodic”; a Hebrew name that means “I will praise God”; and a French name that means “wealthy.” Odette makes up for the informality of Nina. But what I like best about the name is that it gives Nina a middle name that comes with a strong musical pedigree, too: Odetta, a folksinger from the 50s and 60s had a voice so beautiful and compelling Martin Luther King called her “the queen of American folk music.”
With two names known both for music and a strong interest in civil rights, Nina Odette has a promising future, indeed.