View Full Version : U.K. Pop Star Dido Amazed by Fame

21-05-04, 13:21
By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Eminem's favorite English pop singer may have sold 20 million albums, but Dido is no diva. In fact, she is so mild mannered she has to make New Year's resolutions to get tough.

Fame and fortune appear to have had little effect on the woman who was given a license to act out when her progressive London parents named her Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong 32 years ago.

For Dido, there are no legions of bodyguards, no public displays of debauchery, not even the odd temper tantrum. Just don't accuse her of being too nice.

"I love a confrontation," Dido said in a recent interview with Reuters. "One of my New Year's resolutions last year was to just say what I think, when I think it."

The old Dido used to feel taken advantage of all the time. The new Dido had no qualms about pulling rank when it came to planning her current North American tour which started on May 17. Her advisers wanted her to play big venues, as she did at the tail end of her last jaunt. But she demanded -- and got -- a tour of more intimate theaters.

"I know that when I go out to gigs, I love seeing people in theaters. I love it when I'm up close and I feel like I'm part of something. I'm gonna spend my summer doing really special shows where everyone feels part of it. We can do bigger ones later. I've got the rest of my life to tour. It's all good."

The shows will help further promote her second album, "Life for Rent," which has sold nearly 9 million copies worldwide since its release in late September and picked up a Grammy nomination and two Brit Awards along the way.

Its 1999 predecessor, "No Angel," sold 12 million copies, thanks in part to an odd-couple collaboration with Eminem. The bad-boy rapper sampled her delicate love song "Thankyou" on his 2000 stalker hit "Stan," and its worldwide popularity inspired fans to seek out the original by the obscure chanteuse.

"It still amazes me what's happened," Dido said of her whirlwind career. "I can't really take it in, and I think there are so many ways that I still feel like I've got so much to learn. I've got an endless, endless life of learning about music, and that fascinates me."

Dido began her latest tour, a monthlong trek of North American theaters, in Vancouver, and then will play dates in Europe through late July. While her albums are generally mellow affairs, the live show can get quite aggressive, she says.

"It's more bombastic in a lot of ways, sorta more extreme than the albums in that there's extreme noise and extreme acoustic. It swings violently between lots of different things."


Many of the key songs on "Life for Rent," including the title track, first single "White Flag" and "Sand in My Shoes," were written in Los Angeles, and Dido expects she probably will buy a house in the city to keep tapping her creative juices.

"Sometimes you have to be lonely to write, not all the time, but it helps," she said. "And if you've got a lot of stuff inspiring you, and you're feeling a bit alienated, weird and lonely, it's a really fertile writing place."

In fact, she also has been on a songwriting tear in her new London home, where every room boasts some kind of an instrument. About half her songs get ditched. Some end up on other artists' albums, like Britney Spears' latest.

Beyond buying the house, Dido admits to spending an "obscene amount of money" flying around the world on a whim, though the multimillionaire is not averse to shopping for cheap flights. Among her favorite destinations is "middle-of-nowhere" in Canada. A gorilla expedition to Uganda is on her wish list.

The main casualty of her success was a long-term relationship with her first real boyfriend. Now she's "playing the field, basically," and holding out for a mate who can live with the demands of her career.

"I'm probably not the easiest person in the world to go out with for a lot of those reasons. But I'm the same as any other girl, and love is love, and it doesn't matter if it happens in Taco Bell or (posh L.A. eatery) the Ivy."