Dido (singer)

Dido (singer)
Background information
Birth name Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong
Born 25 December 1971 (1971-12-25) (age 39)
Kensington, London, England
Genres Pop, trip hop, pop rock, alternative rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, drums, recorder
Years active 1995–present
Labels RCA Records (2011-present) [1]
Cheeky, Arista, Sony Music
Associated acts Rollo Armstrong
Sister Bliss
Website www.didomusic.com

Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong[2] (play /ˈdd/; born 25 December 1971), known as Dido, is an English singer-songwriter.

Dido shot to worldwide success with her debut album, No Angel (1999). The album sold in excess of 21 million copies worldwide,[3] and won several awards; including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act, two NRJ Awards for Best New Act and Best Album, and two BRIT Awards for Best British Female and Best Album. Her following album, Life for Rent (2003), continued her mainstream success with the help of popular singles "White Flag" and "Life for Rent". The album went on to sell around 12 million copies worldwide and saw her receive more accolades; including the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year for "White Flag", two further BRIT and NRJ Awards, as well as a Grammy Award nomination. Dido's first two albums, No Angel and Life for Rent, are among the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and both are in the top 10 best-selling albums of the 2000s in the UK.[4] Her third and latest studio album, Safe Trip Home (2008), received critical praise to help maintain her success.[5] She was nominated for an Academy Award for the song "If I Rise".[6] Dido has been ranked #98 of Billboard 200 Artists Music Chart based on the success of her music in the first decade of the 21st century.[7]


Early life

Dido was born at St. Mary Abbots hospital in Kensington, London, on Christmas Day 1971.[8] On her birth certificate, her name was registered as Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong.[9][10] Because she was born on Christmas Day, she also celebrates an "official birthday" on 25 June, following the example of Paddington Bear.[11] Her mother, Clare (née Collins), is a poet,[10] and her father, William O'Malley Armstrong, was an Irish publisher and former managing director of Sidgwick & Jackson.[12][13] Her older brother, Rowland Constantine O'Malley Armstrong,[14] is better known as record producer Rollo, part of the British electronica trio Faithless. Despite their impressive birth names, the pair were known from childhood by the names that are famous now — Dido and Rollo.[10] Dido has made it clear that "Dido" is now her real name and not simply a stage name or nickname.[2][11][15] Her name derives from that of the mythical Queen of Carthage. As a child, she had to deal with its ambiguous and unusual nature, which led to her being bullied[2] and even to her pretending to have an ordinary name.[10] As she explains:

To be called one thing and christened another is actually very confusing and annoying. It's one of the most irritating things that my parents did to me.... Florian is a German man's name. That's just mean. To give your child a whole lot of odd names. They were all so embarrassing. ...I thought it was cruel to call me Dido and then expect me to just deal with it.
—Dido, Interview published in The Observer in 2001[10]


Early recordings: (1995–1996)

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, the UK dance act spearheaded by her brother, Rollo Armstrong (Dido co-wrote and provided vocals for album tracks, such as "Flowerstand Man" and "Hem of His Garment"). 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.

Breakthrough (1998–2000)

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. Arguably it was this, as well as the airplay on MTV throughout Europe of the single's video, which brought her mass attention.

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.

Eminem helped introduce Dido to the US audience in 2000 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. She reportedly did not want to do the video at first, as she was uncomfortable with the scene in the video where she had to be tied up and have her mouth covered with duct tape, but later agreed to it and got along well with Eminem and the crew on set. (Ironically this scene was censored in the vast majority of versions[16]) 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 re-release. "Thank You" was also sampled by the Airheadz in their trance track "Stanley Here I am" originally as a bootleg, but later entering the UK Top 40 in April 2001.

No Angel (1999–2002)

Her No Angel went on to become the top-selling album of 2001 - both in the United Kingdom and worldwide,[17] 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", a further Top Twenty hit, "Hunter" and a fourth and final single release "All You Want" which reached the top 25. It was certified platinum in over thirty-five countries, and is estimated to have sold over 21 million copies worldwide.[3] It is the second biggest selling album of the 21st century in the UK. Dido's widely emulated hairstyle at this time became known as the "Dido flip". Her sold-out worldwide tour featured hip-hop artist Pete Miser as her live band's DJ. No Angel claimed #97 according the Decade-end album chart by Billboard.[18]

Life for Rent and Live 8 (2003–2005)

Life for Rent was released in 2003. Preceded by the hit single "White Flag", 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 Live at Brixton Academy). It is the 4th biggest selling album of the 21st century in the UK.

Dido performing with Youssou N'Dour in Hyde Park, London.

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").

Also in 2005, Dido provided vocals for her brother's side project Dusted on the album Safe from Harm. She sings on the tracks: "Time Takes Time", "Hurt U" and "Winter" and she co-wrote three tracks on the album: "Always Remember to Respect & Honour Your Mother, Part 1", "The Biggest Fool in the World" and "Winter".

Safe Trip Home (2008)

Dido started working on her third album in October 2005 in Los Angeles. The album was produced by Jon Brion and Dido herself. Collaborators include Brian Eno, Questlove, Mick Fleetwood, Rollo Armstrong and Matt Chamberlain. Recording sessions were held at London's Abbey Road and at Jon Brion's home studio in Los Angeles. During production of the album, Dido attended evening classes in music and English at the University of California, Los Angeles.[19]

Dido's official website was relaunched to coincide with the release of the album. The release of the album was postponed several times, though no official reason was ever given for this. The first single from the album, "Don't Believe in Love" leaked to the Internet on 5 September 2008 and was made available digitally on 27 October 2008. The full album was leaked to the internet on the 1 November 2008, some 16 days before its official launch date. On 13 November 2008, the full album was available for a world premier listening at iLike.[20]

On 22 August 2008, Dido's official website confirmed that the album was to be entitled Safe Trip Home, with the official release date of 17 November 2008. A free song from the album, "Look No Further" was made available to download from the site for a limited time. Other songs included on the album are: "It Comes And It Goes", "The Day Before the Day", "Never Want To Say It's Love" and "Grafton Street". The latter was composed in collaboration with Brian Eno.[21] The album cover features a photograph of astronaut Bruce McCandless II during a spacewalk, as part of space shuttle mission STS-41-B.

I recorded my vocals next to the hoover in Jon’s broom cupboard. It was so small, there wasn’t even room for a guitar: I got quite addicted to singing in there.

—Dido, Interview in Q magazine.[21]

In December 2008, Dido's song "Let’s Do The Things We Normally Do", was criticised by Gregory Campbell, MP for East Londonderry and Minister for Sports, Arts and Leisure for Northern Ireland, for referencing lyrics from a song, "The Men Behind the Wire” which was written in the aftermath of the introduction of detention without trial for persons accused of being members of paramilitary groups. Campbell described "The Men Behind the Wire" as "written about people who were murderers, arsonists and terrorists". Campbell suggested "she [Dido] should clarify her position so that her fans and the wider public knows where she stands on these things".[22] The album failed to sell as well as her previous efforts, but it was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.[23] In October 2010, former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless sued Dido for possible unauthorized use of a photo of his 1984 space flight for the album art of Safe Trip Home, which showed McCandless “free flying” about 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger.[24] The lawsuit - which also named Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment and Getty Images Inc. as defendants - does not allege copyright infringement, only infringement of his persona.[25]

Fourth album and new collaborations (2009–present)

Dido began recording her fourth studio album just months after releasing Safe Trip Home. In July 2009, she claimed that the album, which is untitled, will have an electronic approach, in an attempt to take a totally different direction to her previous albums.[26] In September 2010, "Everything to Lose", was released via digital download,[27] a track that had previously appeared on the Sex and the City 2 movie soundtrack. Dido has recently written songs for the forthcoming album from Jason Mraz.[28] A release date has not been set.

After recording "If I Rise", A.R. Rahman tied up with Dido for the official music video of the song.[29]

According to Dido, via her official website, she has recorded the album in London and in California and she's described it as a big fun electronic extravaganza. Some songs were recorded in a hotel room with a keyboard and a microphone during a trip in America. The album will feature collaborations from Rollo Armstrong, Sister Bliss, Lester Mendez, A. R. Rahman, Rick Nowels, Greg Kurstin and Jeff Bhasker and will be completed soon.[30] She has also stated she has got other new collaborations coming up. One rumored track is "The Girl Who Got Away", which is a collaboration with drummer Ash Soan.

Other work

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 much of Dido's solo material, including many tracks on No Angel, Life for Rent and Safe Trip Home.

She provided guest vocals for each of the six studio albums by Faithless, from 1996's Reverence to 2010's The Dance. 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". She co-wrote Britney Spears's worldwide number one hit "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman", soundtrack feature track to Spears's first major film debut.

In 2006 she re-released the song "Christmas Day", although it failed to chart in the UK. This had appeared originally on a 2001 EP of "All You Want" (a song from No Angel).

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. A sample of the Dido track "Do You Have a Little Time" is used on the song "Don't You Trust Me?" by Tupac, on the album "Loyal to the Game", which was almost entirely produced by Eminem in 2004.

Annie Lennox has joined forces with Dido and 22 other female artists[31] to raise awareness of the issue of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to unborn children in Africa. The single "Sing" was released on World Aids Day on 1 December 2007, in conjunction with Annie Lennox's appearance at the Nelson Mandela 46664 concert in South Africa.

In 2010, "Everything to Lose", was featured on the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack. The song was written by Dido in her country house where she is recording her fourth album, which will have an electronic approach.[32]

Also in 2010, Dido appears on the score of 127 Hours, a thriller film directed by Danny Boyle.[33] The soundtrack features a mix of electric guitars with orchestral arrangements and sound loops. A.R. Rahman, composer, and Dido recorded a song together called "If I Rise" which is featured in the climax of the film.[34] The song was nominated for Satellite Award, Houston Film Critics Society Awards and Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award, and has been nominated for the 83rd Academy Award for Original Song.[35] It won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Song. A music video of "If I Rise", featuring Dido and A. R. Rahman was also released on 17 February.[36]

Personal life

Upon the release of No Angel in 1999, after a long time promoting the album, Dido broke up with her fiancé, entertainment lawyer Bob Page, after a seven-year relationship.[37]

Dido is a keen Arsenal F.C. fan and regularly attended matches with her father as a child.[38] Dido briefly dated Sol Campbell who played for the club at the time.[39][40]

In February 2011, Dido posted a message on her official website, explaining to fans that she would not perform at the 83rd Academy Awards because she was pregnant and was expecting a baby with her husband.[41]


  • 2001: Nominated for the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video – "Thank You"[42]
  • 2001: Nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Video of the Year, Best Rap Video, Best Male Video, Best Directed Video and Best Cinematography – "Stan" (Eminem featuring Dido)[42]
  • 2001: Won the MTV Europe Music Award for the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act[43]
  • 2001: Nominated for the MTV Europe Music Award for MTV Europe Music Award for Best Female, MTV Europe Music Award for Best Album (No Angel) and MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song ("Stan") )[43]
  • 2001: Nominated for the BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist[44]
  • 2001: Nominated for the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Female; New Artist
  • 2002: Won the ASCAP Pop Music Awards for Song of the Year ("Thankyou")
  • 2002: Won the NRJ Award for Best Newcomer[45]
  • 2002: Won the NRJ Award for Best Album - No Angel[45]
  • 2002: Won the BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist[46]
  • 2002: Won the BRIT Award for Best British Album – No Angel[46]
  • 2002: Nominated for the BRIT Award for Best British Video - "Thank You"[46]
  • 2002: Won the World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling British Artist
  • 2002: Won the World Music Awards for Best World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist
  • 2002: Won the World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Adult Contemporary Artist
  • 2002: Won the Meteor Ireland Music Awards for Best International Female
  • 2003: Won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song ("I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman")
  • 2003: Won the World Music Awards for Best British Pop/Rock Female Artist
  • 2004: Won the Ivor Novello Award for the International Hit of the Year with "White Flag"[47]
  • 2004: Nominated the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically ("White Flag")
  • 2004: Nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance – "White Flag"[48]
  • 2004: Nominated for the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Album (Life for Rent)[49]
  • 2004: Won the BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist[50]
  • 2004: Won the BRIT Award for Best British Single – "White Flag"[50]
  • 2004: Nominated for the BRIT Award for Mastercard British Album - "Life For Rent"[50]
  • 2004: Won the NRJ Award for Best international artist[51]
  • 2004: Won the NRJ Award for Best Album – Life for Rent[51]
  • 2004: Won the World Music Awards for UK's Best-Selling Artist
  • 2005: Nominated for the the International Dance Music Awards for Best Dance Artist Solo
  • 2005: Nominated for the the Groovevolt Music and Fashion Awards for Best Album; Female ("Life For Rent")
  • 2007: Won an ASCAP UK Award[52]
  • 2008: Won an ASCAP UK Award for Songwriter of the Year[53]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical – Safe Trip Home[54]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Brit Awards 2010 for BRITs Album of 30 Years - No Angel[55]
  • 2010: Won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2010 for Best Song - "If I Rise"[56]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Houston Film Critics Society Awards 2010 for Best Original Song - "If I Rise"[57]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2010 for Best Song - "If I Rise"[58]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Satellite Awards 2010 for Best Original Song - "If I Rise"[59]
  • 2010: Nominated for the Academy Awards 2010 for Best Original Song - "If I Rise"[6]
  • 2010: Won the Denver Film Critics Society Award 2010 for Best Song - "If I Rise"[60]



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