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Music Interview

Dido interview: 'Where does the time go?'

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Dido

Dido


Unlike most, Dido is a singer who - after taking over the world with her debut album No Angel 13(!) years ago - can reappear on the music scene whenever she so chooses.

Five years after 2008's Safe Trip Home, she's gearing up to release her new LP Girl Who Got Away; it's a record that draws on pop, electronica, hip-hop and folk and puts her own inimitable twist on it.

We met up with her to find out more about her latest collection and where she's been hiding during her time off.

Hello Dido! You have a new album coming out next month. Are you pleased with how it turned out?
"Completely. I'm quite ruthless with myself - an album isn't finished until I'm ready. Thankfully I've never looked back and wished I done a record differently. Occasionally I wished that I experimented more, but I don't with this one - it represents all the kinds of music I'm into at the moment."

What kinds of music is that?
"Ambient, dance, electronic, folk... everything that I wanted to do. It's a nice feeling to know you're 100% behind an album, otherwise promoting it feels like a real chore."

It's your first album in a few years; what have you been doing with yourself?
"Where does the time go? I didn't even tour after the last album so that's not an excuse. I actually made the album really quickly in bits - I wasn't in a huge hurry really. Suddenly I was married, pregnant and had the baby and four years had passed. Maybe one day I'll surprise everyone and put an album out six months after the last one."

We're sure your label would love that...
"I actually could this time as I massively overdid it with the songs. I made about 30 songs for this album. Maybe I'll put another album out before Christmas."

The album reminds us of your debut No Angel; did you intend for that to happen?
"I think it's got the confidence of Safe Trip Home but the scattered sounds of No Angel. I don't care what sort of song I'm making unless it's one I like. I'm quite selfish like that! Before my last album I was so heavily reliant on my brother for production, but since then I've had the confidence to do a lot of the work myself."

During Safe Trip Home you seemed to step back from the spotlight...
"It wasn't intentional, I think the music just leant itself to that kind of treatment. I didn't realise how tricky songs like 'Grafton Street' would be to perform live every night. It's the most emotional song I've ever written. It was very hardcore, but I love that record. Inadvertently, it served me really well - I didn't want to stay in that rocket stratosphere forever that happened with the first two records."

Dido

Dido



Life must have been intense during your first two records.
"I made Life For Rent while I was promoting No Angel, and by the end of it I realised I'd been on the road for nine years. You get used to a certain way of life - the people around you don't care what happens as long as you get on that stage every night. I'm very fortunate now my life is now brilliantly balanced."

Did you ever think about packing it all in?
"Life For Rent is the only record I intentionally made as the label wanted another album and I was on a wave of excitement. Before and after that, songwriting has been my way of communicating - I never sit down and think I must make a record. I just write songs until I think there's a body of work there."

Do you ever feel the pressure to top No Angel or Life For Rent's success?
"I'm sure there is pressure from certain people, but if there is then I'm being protected from it. How lucky was I on the first two records? Things just aligned one after the other... literally, you couldn't write how well things unfolded. It's hard to have a hit record unless all those things - including a lot of luck - come into play. What if 'Thank You' hadn't been in Sliding Doors and [producer] the 45 King hadn't been watching while doing his tax returns and decided to sample it? I was very lucky - that won't keep happening every time."

What's the best song on the new album?
"One of my favourites is on the deluxe version so probably no-one will hear it. It's called 'Let's Run Away'. 'Girl Who Got Away' is definitely a favourite. The single 'No Freedom' is a song I've had for a while and still love, which is why I had to release it first."



Kendrick Lamar features on 'Let Us Move On', which sort of harks back to when you first took off with Eminem...
"I'm a huge fan of Kendrick - 'Money Trees' was probably my favourite track of last year. If you turn it up loud it's even better! We put up the collaboration online early just to give people a flavour of what the album sounds like. It's so hard to get people to listen to your music and I wanted to give people more than just the single before the record came out."

You've written for other artists in the past like Rizzle Kicks and Britney Spears; are you working with anyone exciting at the moment?
"I might actually offer some of the tracks I made for this album out to other artists. I like doing stuff like that. I don't even know how it works with the big artists anymore. It's strange, when you put your all into a song you want to keep it for yourself, but you don't want to give them your s**t either."

Have any acts caught your attention of late?
"I love The Maccabees album and I think Emeli Sandé has such a great voice. Jessie Ware's album was brilliant. I love 'Wildest Moments' - it's got an almost identical beat to Alicia Keys's 'Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart'."

Are there plans for a tour with this album?
"I hope so. I really enjoy playing shows - I just need to work out the practicalities of it and put the band together. Stanley (her son) plays the cymbals very seriously and bizarrely in time, so if he keeps doing that he can join me on stage every night!"

Dido releases 'No Freedom' on February 24. The album, Girl Who Got Away, follows on March 4.

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