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Unknown here, the Islington-born singer Dido has taken the States by storm – with a little help from Gwyneth and Eminem. By DAN CAIRNS
Big in America
Heard the one about the young British singer-songwriter who has just sold 1m records in America? Chances are you haven’t, though that is exactly what the 28-year-old Dido Armstrong has done. In the week when Sade’s new album entered the US charts at No3 – and a month after Radiohead’s Kid A went straight in at the top – the recent doom-mongering about the sorry state of Britain’s musical export industry begins to look a little alarmist.
But Sade and Radiohead are household names. Dido (she trades without her surname) is another matter. So how has this former literary agent – who did her A-levels at Westminster and studied recorder, piano and violin at Guildhall School of Music and Drama – succeeded where so many have failed?
The notorious American rapper Eminem could claim some of the credit; he used a sample from Dido’s song Thank You on his current single, Stan. This has achieved what mere album sales have failed to do, and alerted the British music press to the steady presence in the American charts of one of their own. And the possibility that Stan may be a controversial Christmas No1 can only add to Dido’s exposure.