FOX>
February 25, 2008 12:00 AM

It’s not uncommon for artists to perform under pseudonyms, but for American Idol contestant Michael Johns, 29, his name change carries deep personal meaning. Already a veteran of Australia’s music business — he recorded in a band, the Rising — Johns has used the name Michael Lee Johns before. So, why the change to his current name?

“I stopped talking to my real father when I was about 15, and it was a real kind of poisonous relationship,” he tells PEOPLE. “And my stepfather, his name is John and he came in and not only saved not only my life but also my family with his positivity.

Continues the singer: “When I made my new record, I really wanted to get rid of my last name Lee … And my middle name is John, and my stepfather’s name is John, so it’s like there are two John’s in the family. So, that’s why I picked Michael Johns. That’s what makes it so big to me.” –Cynthia Wang FOX>

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