Singer Dido happy to put low-paying jobs behind her

By | November 9, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Dido Armstrong had worked in a lot of different low-paying clerical jobs while struggling to make ends meet, but said Thursday nothing beats her current line of work: being a pop star.

The British singer known around the world as “Dido” said that because she made such a belated breakthrough into the industry that is infamous for devouring young talent before their prime, she isn’t going to let her career be squandered.

“I just know this is the best job I’ve ever had because I have had so many other jobs,” said Dido, 29, one of Britain’s biggest-selling female recording artist, in an interview with Reuters Television.

“My lyrics are about pretty normal things because I’ve had another whole life before this,” said the singer whose music career took off only two years ago after rapper Eminem took part of her song “Thank You” in “Stan,” his hit about a deranged fan.

“Personally, I prefer it that way,” she added in an interview at the MTV Europe Music Awards, where she has been nominated for four awards. “It means I know how good this life is and I will never try to ruin it,” she said.

But Dido said at least she has something to fall back on.

“I could always go back to temping,” she said. “Maybe you could call it ‘Celebrity Temps’. Oh – that would be a nightmare!”

Her debut album “No Angel” started slowly but surged in popularity after Eminem used part of her song. It has now sold some six million copies. She said she wrote the song “Thank You” on a soggy piece of paper while sitting in a bathtub.

Born as Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong on Christmas Day in 1971, she is the child of a Irish book publisher and French poetess. She grew up in London.

She worked in a variety of lowly jobs, including the publishing industry. She had been to Frankfurt five times before as a lowly worker at the Frankfurt book fair.

Dido went to law school for a while as well, but turned to singing in 1996, when her older brother Rollo, 34, was putting together the band Faithless and they needed a backup vocalist. She got the job and sang on “Reverence,” their breakthrough album.

Some critics have compared Dido’s haunting, soulful voice to Cranberries’ singer Dolores O’Riordan.

Dido, who has been engaged for six years to a recording industry lawyer, said like many other performers at the MTV awards they at first considered cancelling tour performances following the September 11 attacks in the United States.

“I was actually about to get on a plane to Australia” for a tour there, she said. “I was a little jumpy at first. But I thought it was important to do the tour, to give people a little relief.

“If you stay in and watch CNN all day you’ll just go mad,” she said. “I do this to entertain people and it’s nice to chill things out a bit and think smaller.”

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