Dido is a British multi-platinum singer/songwriter known for albums like ‘No Angel’ and ‘Life for Rent,’ as well as singles like “Thank You” and “White Flag.”
Born on December 25, 1971 in London, England, Dido Armstrong performed with the band Faithless, helmed by brother Rollo, before embarking on a solo career. Her debut hit album No Angel featured “Thank You,” which rapper Eminem sampled for his song “Stan.” Dido’s second album Life for Rent also sold into the millions worldwide, and she has followed up with the releases Safe Trip Home and Girl Who Got Away.
Family and Background
Dido Armstrong was born on December 25, 1971 in the Kensington area of London, England to a home that fostered a love of literature and music. Her mother Claire was a poet and oversaw the household while her father William worked in publishing.
With no TV available, the young Dido took to diligently playing and practicing on the recorder, eventually studying piano, violin and composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. After touring with a classical music group, she decided as a teen that she would also try her hand at singing, though her DJ/producer brother Rollo was initially skeptical.
Debut: 'No Angel'
Dido worked for a time in publishing as well, eventually doing literary agent work. Along with fellow music-maker Sister Bliss, Rollo formed the band Faithless, releasing their debut album Reverence in 1996. Rollo was able to see Dido’s skill and talent, and she joined the act as a backup vocalist. She later took time off to develop her own vision and demo. Through strong word of mouth, Dido met with Clive Davis of Arista and signed a deal.
Dido released her debut album No Angel in 1999, with her brother contributing as producer, among others. Buzz was created by the track “Here With Me,” a U.K. No. 4 hit that was eventually used as a theme song for the U.S. series Roswell. Interest in her album took off once rapper Eminem asked if he could sample her track “Thank You” for his song “Stan,” with Dido eventually appearing in the video as well.
Major Hit: 'Thank You'
No Angel sold millions of copies worldwide, with “Thank You” being released as a single on its own, reaching the Top 5 of Billboard’s pop and adult contemporary charts. Dido followed up with her next studio effort in 2003, Life for Rent, another multi-platinum outing which featured “White Flag,” a No. 2 adult contemporary single.
Dido’s music on her first two albums are a fusion of adult-oriented pop and edgier electronic elements, featuring sweeping, romantic sounds with no-nonsense lyricism. Atmospheric, haunting textures are a trademark. She tweaked her sound a bit on her third album, 2008’s Safe Trip Home, where she collaborated with Fiona Apple producer Jon Brion to craft a more acoustic offering.
Faithless and 'Girl Who Got Away'
In addition to solo projects, Dido has continued to perform with Faithless over the years, as seen on songs like “Hem of His Garment,” the U.K. Top 10 hit “One Step Too Far,” “Last This Day,” “Feelin Good” and “North Star.” Dido and her brother Rollo also received an Oscar nomination for their work on the song “If I Rise” with A.R. Rahman, from the film 127 Hours.
Dido and her husband, writer Rohan Gavin, have a son Stanley, born in 2011. Known for taking substantial breaks between albums, she returned to the public music world in 2013 with the March release of Girl Who Got Away. A return to electronica, the rich set spawned lead singles “No Freedom” and “Let Us Move On,” the latter featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar. Later the same year, Dido released her greatest hits collection.