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Dido (born Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong, December 25, 1971) is an English BRIT Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter who performs under a nickname her mother gave her in childhood.
Dido's mother, Claire (née Collins), is a French poet and her father, William O'Malley Armstrong (9 November 1938–22 December 2006) was an Irish publisher and former managing director of Sidgwick & Jackson. Informally named after the mythical Carthaginian queen, Dido was educated at Thornhill Primary, City of London Girls' and Westminster School. Because she was born on Christmas Day, in childhood she celebrated, rather in the manner of the British monarch, an "official" birthday on 25 June. At the age of five she stole a recorder from school. At six she attended the Guildhall School of Music in London, England. By the time she reached her teens Dido had learned to play the piano, recorder and the violin. She learned to play the guitar as an adult, showcasing her skills to audiences during her 2004 Life for Rent tour. Before taking up music full-time she worked as a literary agent whilst studying a degree course in law at Birkbeck, University of London, which she never completed.
In 1995, Dido began recording demo tracks which were put together on a collection entitled Odds & Ends and sent out by Nettwerk management. Nettwerk had signed her after she was brought to their attention by her collaborations with Faithless (Dido co-wrote and provided vocals for album tracks, such as "Flowerstand Man" and "Hem of His Garment") and the UK dance act spearheaded by her brother, Rollo Armstrong. The collection was released by Nettwerk on CD-R acetate in 1995 and featured a mixture of finished productions and demo versions which she later considered for release on her debut album, released in 1999 as No Angel. Odds & Ends brought her to the attention of Arista Records, who signed her in the USA, striking a deal with her brother's record label, Cheeky Records, to co-sign her. Of the tracks included on Odds & Ends, "Take My Hand" was included on all editions of No Angel as a bonus track; "Sweet Eyed Baby" was remixed and renamed to "Don't Think of Me", while "Worthless" and "Me" were released exclusively on the Japanese edition.
Cheeky Records, to which Dido was signed, was sold to BMG records in 1999. This delayed the release of No Angel in the United Kingdom, but also allowed her to concentrate on promoting the album No Angel in the United States, including a slot on Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tour. Through touring, both before and after the album was available, Dido's music began to receive more exposure. The first official single chosen by Dido and her label, "Here with Me", was used as the theme music for the television programme Roswell. However, it was arguably the airplay on MTV in Europe of the video for "Here with Me", with its inventive manipulation of context, dreamlike NYC road-walking scenes, together with Dido's evident musicality and the distinctive strings arrangement (all perhaps echoing Massive Attack/Shara Nelson's "Unfinished Sympathy"), that helped form the bedrock of her future success.
In 1998, the music producer for the film Sliding Doors picked her track "Thank You" for the soundtrack. No Angel was first released in 1999, and Dido toured extensively to promote the record.
The rapper Eminem helped introduce Dido to another audience when he sampled the first verse of "Thank You" in his UK number-one single "Stan", after seeking permission from Dido herself; she also appeared in the music video as Stan's long-suffering girlfriend. Interest soared in her debut album, leading it to hit charts in Europe on import sales alone, charting in the top five on the UK albums chart before its official UK release.
No Angel went on to become the top-selling album of 2001 in the United Kingdom, debuting at, and returning to, number one in the official UK albums chart many times throughout the year. It spawned two top ten hit singles, "Here with Me" and "Thank You", and a further top twenty hit, "Hunter". It was certified platinum in over thirty-five countries, and is estimated to have sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide. Dido's widely emulated hairstyle at this time became known as the "Dido flip". After a sold-out worldwide tour (which featured hip-hop artist Pete Miser as her live band's DJ), Dido announced she was taking a sabbatical in 2002, in which time she began to write and record her second album.
Life for Rent was released on 29 September 2003 (world), 30 September 2003 (USA & Canada) and became one of the fastest selling albums in UK music history, debuting at number one in the UK, Ireland, France, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand and in the top five in the USA, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Preceded by the number-two hit single "White Flag", the music video for which features Buffy, Angel and Bones star David Boreanaz, the album sold over 152,000 copies in the first day alone in the UK, and went on to sell over 400,000 in the first week. Three further singles — "Life for Rent", "Don't Leave Home" and "Sand in My Shoes" — were lifted from the album, with Dido embarking on a worldwide tour in support of the album (a DVD of footage from the tour was released in 2005 entitled Dido: Live/Dido – Live at Brixton Academy).
Following her sold-out world tour of 2004, Dido was asked to perform at three of the Live 8 concerts on 2 July 2005 — performing in London, then at the Eden Project in Cornwall, before flying over to Paris, performing both solo ("White Flag") and duetting with Youssou N'Dour ("Thank You" and "Seven Seconds"). Dido's bemused expression as she walked on stage in Hyde Park silently acknowledged the surrealism of being introduced by Bill Gates.
In late 2005 Dido began recording her third solo album, experimenting with different sounds and producers, including Jon Brion in Los Angeles. The album was originally expected to be released in late 2006, but Dido has stated on her official website that the album will be released in early 2007. According to HMV UK and amazon UK it is scheduled to be released on November 12, 2007. In the February 2007 edition of Q magazine, it was stated that album would drop in late 2007, and that Dido was inspired by long drives along the Pacific Coast of California.
On July 31, Direct-Current.net reported that the street date circulated by Sony BMG was November 6, 2007. The album was delayed due to the death of her father.
In addition to her solo work, Dido has co-written and provided vocals for tracks with Faithless, including "One Step Too Far" — which was released in the UK as a limited edition single, where it debuted at number six — and "No Roots", the title track of the fourth Faithless album. Rollo — Dido's brother — co-writes and co-produces a lot of Dido's solo material, including many tracks on No Angel and Life for Rent. She has provided guest vocals for each of the five studio albums by Faithless, from 1996's Reverence to 2006's To All New Arrivals. Dido worked with her brother on a CD to accompany the children's book he wrote with Jason White, Safe from Harm; the CD is also titled Safe from Harm and the artist is listed as "Dusted". In 2006 she also brought out the song "Christmas Day" it reached #148 in the UK charts. Dido has provided guest vocals to tracks by other artists including "Feels like Fire" for Carlos Santana's 2002 album, Shaman, and a duet with Rufus Wainwright entitled "I Eat Dinner (When the Hunger's Gone)" for the Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason film soundtrack.
|1995||Odds & Ends 1 ||—||—||—||—||—||—||Not available|
|1999||No Angel ||1||1||1||1||4||4||Sales worldwide: 12 million|
IFPI certification: 5× platinum
RIAA certification: 4× platinum
BPI certification: 10× platinum
|2003||Life for Rent ||1||1||1||1||4||2||Sales worldwide: 8.6 million|
IFPI certification: 5× platinum
RIAA certification: 2× platinum
BPI certification: 9× platinum
|Year||Song||UK||U.S.||U.S. Dance||U.S. Adult||CAN||AUS||NZ||BRA||FRA||Album|
|2000||"Stan" (Eminem featuring Dido)||1||51||—||—||1||1||14||33||The Marshall Mathers LP|
|2001||"Here with Me"||4||—||—||—||—||58||3||—||4||No Angel|
|"All You Want"||—||—|
|"Don't Think of Me" (U.S. radio only)||—||—|
|2002||"My Lover's Gone" (Brazil only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||1|
|"Take My Hand" (U.S. radio only)||—||1|
|"One Step Too Far" (Faithless featuring Dido)||6||—||4||—||—||21||—||—||Outrospective|
|2003||"Feels like Fire" (Santana featuring Dido)||—||—||—||—||—||—||26||—||Shaman|
|"White Flag"||2||18||9||2||30||1||12||5||Life for Rent|
|"Stoned" (12" vinyl/download only)||—||1||—|
|"Life for Rent"||8||—||28||17||24|
|2004||"Don't Leave Home"||25||—||—|
|"Sand in My Shoes"||29||—||1||—||37|