Here with me. Don’t think of me. Hunter. Dido. Thank you.
Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong is the name. Sounds good on an album cover. If it could fit! Probably best to call yourself Dido. That’s what London born Florian did. Born on Christmas day 1971, both Florian and her elder brother Rowland went into the music business and both as children were known as Dido and Rollo respectively. Rollo was first, co-writing Felix’s 1992 dance classic “Don’t You Want Me?” before forming Faithless and enjoying hits with “Insomnia” and “God Is A DJ”. Sister Dido started work around the mid-90’s too recording tracks for a demo tape called “Odds & Ends” in 1995. After a few false starts, BMG Records signed her in 1998 and she began writing and recording for her first album. She released the lead single in May 1999. “Here With Me” received big radio play and the song made its way to the top five around Europe and reaching No.3 in New Zealand.
Dido released the album, “No Angel”, a month later which became a slow burner throughout the year but was largely helped by IS rapper Eminem’s interest in the track “Thank You”, which he sampled for his song, “Stan”. “Stan” was launched in 2000 and topped the charts around the world, although in America it peaked at No.51. Despite this, the song sold millions and those who heard it also took an interest in the backing track. Dido released “Thank You” a month later and it went to No.3 Stateside as well as at home and a big chart smash across the rest of the world, selling a few million copies itself. The success of “Stan” and “Thank You” catapulted her album up the charts all the way to No.1 in the UK and No.4 in America, where it sold over four million copies and fifteen globally. In the UK, it became the biggest selling debut album by a female artist, beating the previous record held by Dina Carroll for a British female singer and Kylie Minogue for an international female singer.
“No Angel” would produce a further international hit with “Hunter” in 2001 while Dido collected Brit and Grammy awards the following year for the album and for herself. After touring the album throughout 2001, Dido took to the studio and began writing that often difficult second album, particularly if the first was a triumph. The stakes were high and the pressure was immense but Dido delivered another killer with “Life For Rent” in 2003, preceded by the single “White Flag”, which made No.2 in the UK and No.18 in the US. “Life For Rent” was a surefire success selling hundreds of thousands of copies in its first few days of release, guaranteeing it a number one spot in almost every country it was released. The album match “No Angel” in America peaking at No.4 and selling two million copies with a further thirteen million sold globally. Sales of that difficult second album pretty much mirrored that of her first. Not many artists can do that!
The title track scored Dido a second UK top ten hit along with the gorgeous “Don’t Leave Home” and “Sand In My Shoes”, both mid charting singles into 2004. After touring “Life For Rent” throughout 2004, Dido wisely took time out to rest and take stock of all she had achieved. In 2005 she performed at Live 8 along with Youssou N’Dour (“Seven Seconds”) and joined forces with her brother singing vocals on his side project, Dusted. Around this time she actually started writing for her third album, although it would take three years to bring to the table, but in late 2008, the lead single, “Don’t Believe In Love”, surfaced followed by the album itself, “Safe Trip Home”, five years after “Life For Rent”. The album debuted at No.2 in the UK and No.13 in America and while sales failed to match those of her two earlier long players, Gold and Platinum discs were nevertheless hauled in from around the world. Perhaps the title of the second single summed up this era in Dido’s career more aptly, “Quiet Times”. Dido did contribute a track on the second ‘Sex In The City’ movie in 2010, “Everything To Lose”.
Dido took time out at this stage to concentrate on her personal life and married in 2010 and giving birth to her son the following year. In 2011, she recorded the one-off track, “If I Rise”, for Danny Boyle’s film ‘127 Hours’. The song was well received and garnered numerous nominations, most notably for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. Having been a devoted mother for her son in his early years, Dido began writing new music and in 2013 released her fourth studio album, “Girl Who Got Away”. The album saw a multitude of writers and producers contribute including brother Rollo, Greg Kurstin, Brian Eno and Rick Nowels to name a few. The lead single, “No Freedom”, was one such being co-written and produced with Nowels, better known for his long association with Belinda Carlisle and later on Madonna‘s “Ray of Light” album. “Girl Who Got Away” was a top five hit in the UK selling over 90,000 copies and peaked at No.32 in America. 2013 would see two Dido albums on release as she closed the year with her first greatest hits album.
Following the “Greatest Hits”, Dido left her record company, now merged with RCA, that she had been signed to since 1998 and after spending time to herself again, returned in 2019 with a new contract with the new BMG Rights Management label, home of the likes of Kylie and Rick Astley and also had a new album that she had been working on for nearly five years! “Still On My Mind” was preceded by three singles, “Give You Up”, “Take You Home” and “Friends”, all of which became download and radio favourite tracks. “Still On My Mind” was a success too, debuting at No.3 in the UK, her highest for eleven years and would eventually earn a Silver certification. It was also a top ten hit across most of mainland Europe and a top twenty charting record in Australia. Dido promoted and toured the album extensively and true to form, she retreated into her bunker not long after. And that’s where she remains. The gaps between albums are a standard five years so watch out in 2024 for number six…!
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