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Dido


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ectronica mainstream pop

Status:

Most recent release, Greatest Hits (compilation, 2013); most recent release of new material, Girl Who Got Away (2013)

See also:

Dido's site

Comparisons:

Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Tracey Thorn, Dot Allison, Sinéad O'Connor

I don't think she sounds like Sarah McLachlan...in fact, she reminds me more of Eleanor McEvoy. (paul2k@aol.com)

Covers/own material:

Co-written

General comments:

I received an anonymous demo from someone at Arista earlier this year and was very surprised on how fresh the music sounded but wasn't altogether enamored with it. Then I received an unmastered promo of No Angel a few months later and realized these two had the same vocalist: Dido. I liked the album and knew she was going to be a favorite with Sarah McLachlan/Beth Orton/Sinéad O'Connor/Tracey Thorn fans. Then, a week before her album was to be released, she did a private showcase in Los Angeles and though the music didn't come through as well as it could have, it still had a certain appeal that drew you in. She's got a young, unpolished voice (she probably smokes) that was occasionally obstructed by a scratch-happy DJ whose edits would only appeal to a "Puffy"-loving suburbanite whose never heard an Afrika Bambaataa album in their life. Also, if I were her tour manager I'd get her acoustic guitarist a Guild or one of the Martin re-issues or possibly an old Taylor because his acoustics sounded too bright against the warmth of her voice. Anyway, I'm nitpicking. I'm almost sure you're all going to love this album. She fits nicely on Arista's roster between Sarah McLachlan and Beth Orton. (thecritics@earthlink.net)

i think she'll be the new big singer-songwriter. very well-produced album. she was in the trip-hop group Faithless and members show up on the album. her voice is a lot like sarah mclachlan, with more trip-hop elements. great lyrics, catchy songs. single is "here with me", getting some airplay. she's gotten a lot of press cause her album is good and she kind of looks like jewel. everyone who likes Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton or other females with ethereal voices and trip-hoppy music should check it out. (nnadel@hotmail.com)

I've been meaning to pipe up about Dido. I've heard the single from her album a few times on the radio here, and I briefly sampled the album at a listening post recently. While I didn't have enough time to get a real feel, I think the album has definite Ecto potential. She has a strong, clear voice with ethereal leanings, so comparisons with Sarah McLachlan are not unexpected. (Greg.Jumper@Sun.COM)

Dido is one of my favorite artists of the year. When I first heard her, it was the song "My Lover's Gone", playing in a music store. My first thought was that it was a Sinéad O'Connor song I had somehow missed, but then she sounded more like Sarah McLachlan, or something else entirely. (excelsis@angelfire.com)

Comments about live performance:

Dido was tasty. I still have yet to get the album and have only heard the song off of last year's lilith sampler. I went in expecting to perhaps be pleasingly bored by nice ear candy after all the comparisons to Sarah McLachlan and after sampling the album at Tower a month or so back. Boy was I wrong. I hadn't heard any Sarah McLachlan on my listening to the album at Tower, but something more akin to Eleanor McEvoy's latest album.
     They set up the mood for her set by replacing the between set music with a cd of club music, and then the band came on stage and threw out a short little throbbing instrumental ditty with scratching and guitar atmospherics and jungle drums. Then Dido came out, looking like Irene Jacob crossed with Joey Lauren Adams and sounding and emoting like Eleanor McEvoy crossed with Nina Persson. In fact, much of the music was like a mush of Eleanor McEvoy's Snapshots, The Cardigans' First Band to the Moon, and Autour de Lucie. And the music was just so damn catchy. She had an excellent band that was hooked up on technology...a Scratcher; a drummer with a kit and also a hand drum, both of which were connected to loop machines, as well as a drum machine; a guitarist with effects up the wazoo; a keyboardist; a bassist; and a backup singer. This was the last night of their American tour and they played well.
     Their set was too short (less than an hour, even with the encore) but quite satisfying. Dido seemed to be having fun on stage and exuded a playful charm that was captivating. They did a two song encore that ended with a freaky cover of The Police's "Every Little Thing (he) Does Is Magic"; it was like a jungle/techno dance remix version of the song with Dido's only point of reference for the tune of the song being her own voice. The guitarist was off in loop-land, the bassist was sliding all over the place, and the keyboardist was swirling around with an occasional hint at the harmony. Very cool. (9/99)
     Saw Dido about a month later at Mixfest. Dido's set was very stripped down compared to her big tour. The guitarist stuck with one guitar and mainly played chords and finger picked lines as opposed to his gadget-laced fuzzing about in previous shows; the DJ's scratching was limited to a just a handful of instances on a couple songs; and the drummer played the entire set on his djembe (which was hooked up to a loop processor). I was again entranced by Dido and was even more sure that a) she somehow channels Eleanor McEvoy and b) she really has Irene Jacob's facial expressions. (10/99, paul2k@aol.com)

Dido was great. I have a feeling she's going to really take off in the next couple of years. Her live show is really strong and the people really seemed to love her. (5/00, nnadel@hotmail.com)

don't get we wrong, I enjoyed No Angel, but she just didn't suck. She didn't seem to be enjoying herself at all. I think she's been touring too hard. (3/00, drewh@bitwise.com)

Recommended first album:

No Angel

Recordings:


No Angel

Release info:

1999—Arista Records—07822-19025-2-6

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dido—vocals, keyboards, recorder

Guest artists:

Rollo—programming
Rick Nowels—keyboards, acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer, chamberlin
Richie Stevens—drums, additional percussion
Matty Benbrook—programming, drums
Duncan Bridgeman—keyboards, programming
Nick Manasseh—programming, dub effects
Peter Vittese—programming, additional keyboards
Geoff Dugmore—drums, percussion
Mal Hyde Smith—percussion
Sudha—percussion
Aubrey Nunn—bass
Tim Vogt—bass
Youth—bass
James Sanger—programming
Jony Rockstar—programming
John Pierce—bass
Paulie Herman—guitar, harmonica
Dave Randall—guitar
John Themis—electric guitar, percussion
Rusty Anderson—electric guitar Martin McCory—electric guitar
Mark Bates—piano, keyboards, Wurlitzer, organ
Paul Statham—keyboards, piano
Sister Bliss—keyboards
Bruce Aisher—keyboards
Pauline Taylor—background vocals
Rachael Brown—background vocals
Aquila—background vocals
Mark Felton—harmonica
Will Malone—string arrangements
Gavin Wright—string leader

Produced by:

Dido, Rick Nowels, Youth, Duncan Bridgeman, Jamie Catto, Rollo, Sister Bliss

Comments:

I just picked up Dido's CD this weekend, based on hearing "Here With Me." It is surprisingly good. Basically, it sounds like Sarah McLachlan singing Beth Orton's material. The first part of the album is very strong, while the latter is not as instantly appealing. But the excellent bonus track at the end, "Take My Hand," makes up for that. It's a very impressive debut. The single is in the strong part of the album for me. I actually didn't really like the single the first couple of times I heard it. I thought it was just another in a long line of wannabe trip-hoppers. But it's grown on me a lot and that's why I bought the album. Dido's album IS very pop in comparison to, say, Portishead or Lamb or even Morcheeba, though. But it's good pop. :-) (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

I heard the single twice and both times couldn't be bothered to listen to the end of it. Seemed very much the same old same old to me, way more mainstream-pop influenced than trip-hoppy. Then a friend gave me a promo copy of the disc, and while it still leans far into the mainstream pop end of things for me to listen to it often, I have been enjoying it. Some of the lyrics drive me up the wall (they're just so empty) but mostly they're not so bad and the tunes are catchy. I definitely like her voice, and the little musical touches her many producers have added to spice up the overall sound. It's not anywhere near the best of the year, but is still pleasant listening for the more pop-philic amongst us. More than anyone else she reminds me of Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries. She uses that little glottal stroke in her singing, too, but more subtly. (Neile)

I'll add my thumbs up. There are some really good songs, and some that don't do much for me. But overall it's a strong and promising debut. I also agree with the person who said they don't find it derivative of Sarah McLachlan. There are things in her voice and music that remind me of artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Sarah McLachlan singing Beth Orton, Tracey Thorn (of Everything But the Girl), and probably other people if I thought hard enough, but I don't find her a clone at all. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I bought the album a while ago and it didn't blow me away instantly but it's grown on me a lot. I think it's very good indeed. A great voice and some cool tunes. (martin@mandab.co.uk)

I'm sure everyone here will catch on to this one soon. She's amazing, press is calling her the next Sarah McLachlan, or at least the next Beth Orton. everyone must own this! the best debut of the year! not a bad song on the album! (nnadel@hotmail.com)

I personally liked it and did not think it was derivative of Sarah McLachlan. (silme@ix.netcom.com)

I've been thoroughly enjoying it. I believe there is Sarah McLachlan influence in her sound, but only very slight. However, if you like Sarah McLachlan you will probably like Dido. (tefinn@altavista.net)

This is an album I would consider to be essential to one's cd collection. :) (Songbird22@aol.com)

No Angel proved to be a very promising debut. Will be interesting to see what kind of future she has. (jjhanson@att.net)

Very soft, but not boring stuff. "Here with Me" is very angelic and floaty in a nice way. Resembles a softer Beth Orton to these ears. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

I finally bought the Dido CD that everyone has been so excited about. I really enjoy it as well. I have been hearing "Here With Me" fairly often, primarily on Roswell. That song kind of hooked me. The rest of the CD is really quite good. Another great find that I first heard about here on Ecto! (wpm@value.net)

The whole album is excellent, in my opinion. Great voice, great arrangements. One of those albums that truly is an album, where all songs flow together, and have a commmon element. And, heck, she just sounds good! In my opinion Dido is the best thing to come out of the music scene in a very long time. If we were doing the desert island thing again, I'd pack Dido's album along. (bill@wagill.com)

i thought it sagged rather badly towards the ends of the disc—loaded all its best songs up front. i'm not trying to be argumentative either, and my standards may be a little harsh from a fan's perspective. a 'bad' song—which i don't recall no angel having any of—will make me hit the skip button; a 'weak' song doesn't bug me, but it also doesn't stick; at some level the interest (whether melodic, harmonic, lyrical, arrangement detail, whatever) isn't up to the standard of the albums strongest songs. i can call to mind three or four of the songs—given that i may have listened to the record forty times or so, the other eight tunes are in my opinion comparatively weak and are why i think of the record as a little inconsistent (but still basically pretty good—you'll note that i played it a lot).
     i guess there's one sense in which the record is a little *too* consistent—too many of the songs blend together. i have a strong bias towards albums where the songs have a lot of individual character vs. songs where most of the songs are fundamentally very similar; that certainly plays into my assessment of it. (dmw@mwmw.com)


Life For Rent

Release info:

2003—Arista Records—82876-50137-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dido—vocals, guitar, bass programming (8)

Guest artists:

P*nut—drums, bass, programming, drum programming, keyboards
Rick Nowels—keyboards, guitar, Rhodes, acoustic guitars
Mark Bates—piano, keyboards, programming, harmonium, piano, percussion
Rusty Anderson—electric guitar
Paul Herman—guitar, additional acoustic guitar
Rick Ingman—string arrangement
Gavin Wright—string leader
Adam Zimmon—acoustic guitar
Carlos Paucar—percussion
Steve Sidelnyk—additional drum programming, live drums (5), drums
Sister Bliss—piano, additional keyboards and drum programming, bass programming (8)
Aubrey Nunn—bass, guitar, piano, keyboards, drum programming
Dave Randall—guitars
Andy Treacy—live drums (3, 8)
James Sanger—programming
Pete Davies—additional programming, programming and keyboards
Mako Sakamoto—drums (6)
Richard Parfitt—guitar
Pauline Taylor—additional backing vocals (7)
Sudha—percussion

Produced by:

Rollo Armstrong, Dido Armstrong, Mike Hedges

Comments:

I bought this before I read about the copy protection controversy. Still, I can't say I'm sorry. It's another great album, very much in the vein of her first, but still fresh and new and fun. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Nice work. Logical extension of her first but I would have liked to seen more exploration of new territory. Not too thrilled with the string arrangements. (edcole@halcyon.com)


Safe Trip Home

Release info:

2008—Arista—88697-30709-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dido—vocals, keyboards, drums, guitar, omnichord, recorders, bells, piano

Guest artists:

Jon Brion—keyboards, guitars, bass, piano, celeste, talentmaker, cello guitar, percussion, drum machine, tom toms, arrangements, conducting
Matt Chamberlain—drums, percussion
Lenny Castro—percussion
Joel Shearer—guitar
Justin Meldal-Johnsen—bass
Mark Bates—programming, keyboards, Wurlitzer, piano
David Campbell—string arrangement (tracks 2, 4); conducting (2, 4, 8)
?uestlove—drums
Sister Bliss—keyboards, bass, programming
Mick Fleetwood—drums
Brian Eno—keyboards, ambience
Jim Scott—drums
Sebastian Steinberg—bass
Clarence Greenwood—vocals, drums, guitar (track 10)
Eric Caudieux—programming (tracks 1, 3-6, 9, 11)

Produced by:

Jon Brion, The Ark, Dido

Comments:

At first listen, I thought "This is nice..", but this is one of those albums that grows on you. It may not appeal to the mainstream—many seem to think it's too sad, gloomy, emotional...but sophisticated music-folk like us on ecto WANT that kind of music. So there may be a lot to offer here. I certainly think so. Dido's voice hasn't changed a bit—still soothing and beautiful. "Grafton Street" and "The Day Before the Day" are definite highlights for me. Not sure how successful this album might be on the charts, but it proves she is a thoughtful, mature songwriter and it's good to have her back! (lasherboy@gmail.com)

Safe Trip Home moves away from the upbeat pop of Life For Rent in the same way that that album moved away from the electronica of No Angel, her debut. For someone used to those styles, Safe Trip Home can at first seem disappointing, but upon further listening it emerges as a fine album. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The album is no radical departure for Dido, but it's certainly a well-crafted, elegant, and inspired effort and there are no fillers here. That was my main problem with her previous two albums; they started out well with two or three decent tracks and just vanished into a bleak and samey batch of songs after that. Also, Dido just seems a little too nice and sweet and ordinary for my acquired taste, but I really think she has grown as a performer this time around. The lyrics aren't deep or provocative in any way, but the melodies are consistently strong, the arrangements are tasty without being cheesy, and her voice is really quite lovely. I keep returning to tracks like the infectious "Quiet Times", the beautiful "Northern Skies", and the slightly Enya-esque "Grafton Street". I have come to love this album. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Girl Who Got Away

Release info:

2013—RCA—88765491872

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dido—vocals, keyboards, programming, bass, beats

Guest artists:

Rick Nowels—guitar (1, 6); keyboards (1)
Rollo—programming (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 16); additional programming (13)
UTRB—additional programming (1)
Davide Rossi—all string arrangement and performance (1, 11)
Sister Bliss—additional keyboards (2, 7, 10); keyboards (4, 8, 14, 16); horn (14); programming (16)
Sally Herbert—string arrangement and conducting (2, 10, 14)
Everton Nelson (leader), Warren Zielinski, Ali Dods, Julia Singleton, Natalia Bonner, Lucy Wilkins, Rick Koster, Gareth Griffiths, Gillon Cameron, Ian Belton—violins (2, 10)
Bruce White, Rachel Robson, Claire Orsler—violas (2, 10)
Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey, Sophie Harris—cellos (2, 10)
Richard Pryce—double bass (2, 9)
Kendrick Lamar—vocals (3, 12)
Jeff Bhasker—background vocals (3)
Ash Howes—additional organ and ? (3)
Plain Pat—drum programming (3)
David Richard Campbell—string arrangement and conducting (4)
Joel Derouin, Charlie Bisharat, Mario De Leon, Armen Garabedian, Julian Hallmark, Alyssa Park, Sara Parkins, Michele Richards—violins (4)
Roland Kato, Karen Elaine, Matt Funes—violas (4)
Larry Corbett, Daniel Smith—cellos (4)
Michael Valerio—double bass (4)
Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—keyboards, programming (5, 9, 15); bass, guitar (9)
Martin Waugh—guitar (7)
Oli Dacombe—drums (7)
John P*Nut Harrison—bass (7)
Jody Linscott—percussion (8)
David Pye—chorus vocals (10)
Ash Soan—drum fill (10)
Brian Eno—keyboards (11)
Jeff Bhasker—all instruments, background vocals (12)
Plain Pat—drum programming (12)
Pete Miser—guitar/bass, original backing track (13)
Christian Howes, Imani Coppola—violins (13)
Armin van Buuren, Benno de Goeij—additional remix and production (16)
Jon Brion—keyboards, bass, string arrangement, orchestra arrangement and conducting (17)
Matt Chamberlain—drums, percussion (17)
Gavin Wright—orchestra leader (17)

Produced by:

Rollo (1-4, 6-8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16); Dido (1-4, 6-8 10, 11, 13, 14, 16); Rick Nowels (1); Greg Kurstin (5, 9, 15); John P*Nut Harrison (7); Jeff Bhasker (12); Plain Pat (12); Pete Miser (13); Sister Bliss (16); Jon Brion (17)

Comments:

I managed to enjoy several songs on Dido's new album because I'm not a fan, so I can happily pick and discard. Sure some depressing stuff on there! (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

Kinda OK, I just don't know why I would listen to this instead of any other Dido song. (raschee@gmail.com)

This is her return to soft electronica and there are some real gems to be found here. (mixplusik@gmail.com)

One of the best albums of the year. (jonwesleyhuff@gmail.com)

I love Dido's first two albums and still listen to both fairly regularly. Though disappointed with Safe Trip Home I was hopeful about Girl Who Got Away when I heard she had returned to the production team of her first two albums. But the album was very slow to grow on me. Initially I liked a few of the opening tracks but often got bored and gave up about halfway through the album. But being a fan and since some ectophiles listed it on their best of 2013 lists, I decided to give the album a chance and it finally clicked. I still find the first half of the album stronger, but that may be only because I've listened to it more. Bottom line: if you enjoy No Angel and Life For Rent you should give Girl Who Got Away a chance. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

The DVD Live at Brixton Academy was released in 2005. The song "Here With Me" was the theme song to the t.v. show Roswell. "Thank You" appeared on the Sliding Doors soundtrack.

As backup singer with her brother Rollo's band Faithless, she did backing vocals on tracks 1,2,3,5,7 and 9 of Faithless's 1997 release Reverence. She was lead vocalist on track 8, "Flowerstand Man." That track stands out from the rest of the album as less techno, and her mellow vocals are certainly a counterpoint to the rapping lyrics of 'Maxi Jazz'—"The grand oral disseminator," who is an elderly rapper dude! In 1998's Faithless release, Sunday 8 PM, Dido has lead vocals on track 8 "Hem of his Garment" and backing vocals on track 3. The two Faithless Cds are recommended for Dido completists. She also toured with Faithless as a backup singer.

Other collaborations include:

  • "One Step Too Far" with Faithless on their album Outrospective (2001)
  • "I Eat Dinner" with Rufus Wainwright on the Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason soundtrack (2004)
  • "One Step Too Far" with Rhythms Del Mundo and Faithless on the album Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba (2006)
  • "If I Rise" with A.R. Rahman on the 127 Hours soundtrack (2010)

Tracks only available on compilations include:

  • Christmas Day" on the Nettwerk compilation Christmas Songs (2000)
  • "Everything to Lose" on the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack (2010)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2014-02-13 00:33:08.
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