Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong (born December 25, 1971 in London) is a Brit Award-winning English singer and songwriter who performs under the name Dido.
Dido's mother, Claire, is a French poet and her father is Irish publisher William Armstrong. Named after the mythical Carthaginian queen, Dido was educated at Thornhill Primary, City of London Girls', and Westminster School. When she was the age of five, she stole a recorder from school. At the age of 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 and the violin. She learned to play the guitar as an adult, showcasing her skills to audiences during her 2004 Life For Rent tour. Prior to taking up music full-time, she worked as a literary agent, whilst studying a degree course in law at Birkbeck College, London, which she never completed.
In 1995, Dido began recording demo tracks, put together on a collection entitled Odds & Ends, and sent out by Nettwerk management, who had signed her after being brought to their attention through her collaborations with Faithless (Dido co-wrote and provided vocals for album tracks, such as "Flowerstand Man" and "Hem Of His Garment") the UK dance act spearheaded by her brother, Rollo Armstrong. The collection was sent out by Nettwerk on CD-R acetate in 1995, and featured a mixture of finished productions and demo versions, which she would consider 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.
In 1998, the music producer for the movie, 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, 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 (and was later used on the soundtrack to the movie Love Actually). However, it was rapper Eminem who catapulted Dido into the mainstream when he sampled the first verse of "Thank You" in his UK #1 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 5 of the UK charts prior to 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, #1 in the official UK albums chart many times throughout the year, spawning 2 top 10 hit singles, "Here With Me" and "Thank You," and a further top 20 hit, "Hunter." It was certified platinum in over 35 countries, and is estimated to have sold over 13.5million copies worldwide. Dido's widely emulated hairstyle at this time became known as the "Dido flip". After a sold-out worldwide tour, 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 eventually released on September 30, 2003, and became one of the fastest selling albums in UK music history, debuting at #1 in the UK, Ireland, France, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand and in the top 4 in the USA, Italy, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Preceded by the #2 hit single, White Flag, the music video of which features former "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" star, David Boreanaz, the album sold over 152,000 copies in the first day alone in the UK, and went onto sell over 400,000 in the first week. Three further singles were lifted from the album - "Life For Rent," "Don't Leave Home" and "Sand In My Shoes," 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 and duetting with Youssou N'Dour. 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.
In addition to her solo work, Dido has also 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 #6, and "No Roots" - the title track of the fourth Faithless album. Rollo - Dido's brother - also co-writes and co-produces a lot of Dido's solo material, including many tracks on both No Angel and Life For Rent. Dido has also 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" movie soundtrack.