For most of my childhood, Dido's music was inescapable; on the big screen, on the small screen, on the radio, in my shower. Although given her marvelous melodies, lyrical mastery and haunting voice, I'm at a loss for why anyone would ever choose to evade her tunes. And judging from her Billboard chart dominanace, and omnipresence for the last two decades, it's clear no one else could settle on a reason either.
Now Dido's most popular songs have been culled together for a Greatest Hits album. ETonline recently chatted with the Grammy and Oscar-nominated performer about the odd experience of compiling this collection, her favorite tracks ever and the most bizarre moment in her career.
ETonline: What was your reaction to being asked to compile a Greatest Hits album?
Dido: To be honest I was a bit taken aback [laughs]. I was in the middle of making another record when Sony suggested I put out a Greatest Hits. As an artist, it's not something you think of; you're thinking about making new things, perpetual motion. But I thought about it and assembling it was a really nice celebration of the last 15 years. I ended up getting so into it that I went into storage and got out my old copies of lyrics and memorabilia, which is not something that happens a lot in your career. I wanted to put my heart into the album so it was special for the fans with lots of new stuff no one has ever seen before. It was surreal but a lot of fun.
ETonline: Have you ever had the time to properly reflect on your career?
Dido: I'd never actually stopped to reflect on everything that’s happened, and probably never will properly. It's odd to have that very conscious awareness of "Oh, I'm reminiscing now." But it's actually quite inspiring. You're nostalgic at first but then it made me remember where I began. I realized that most of my fans now have been with me since the beginning, which is lovely. The craziest thing that I hadn't bargained for was how emotional it was for me. You never forget where you were when you write a song; it's a very proper memory, so I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing for each track. It was like going into a time machine.
ETonline: Looking back, what do you consider to be game-changing career moments?
Dido: If you had to boil it down to a point, I think White Flag and Thank You and Stan. I remember hearing Here With Me on the radio and hearing it build up and build up and build up and then the Roswell guys turning up and asking if they could use it in their show; there are those key moments. But Thank You being chosen for Sliding Doors and Eminem reaching out, you can't plan that. I think a lot of magic happens and there's a lot of room for magic to happen. Then, I think White Flag debuted at the right time. I just felt so good about it. Even now I look forward to singing White Flag. There's always a great reaction and I'm just so proud of it.
ETonline: You really don't get sick of singing it?
Dido: You'd think so, but no! I'm quite a pleaser by nature, so for me, I like to make the fans happy by performing the songs they want to hear. To me, there's nothing worse than going to a concert and you're so looking forward to hearing your favorite song and they never play it. You're gutted. I love feeding off the audience, and to me, what's the point if you're not going to think of the fans. Anyone can play music in their house, but you put it out because you want interact with your fans. And, as an artist, you get so much from your fans. So when I sing Thank You or White Flag, there's such a strong reaction and you can't beat that.
ETonline: You rose to prominence at a very different time in the industry, do you think you'd be as successful starting out today?
Dido: I think it's a double edged sword. It's incredibly exciting at the moment because if you're clever and not afraid, you can do some really exciting stuff when not bound by the formula or tied into a certain persona. In that respect, it's incredibly exciting. On the flip side, someone like me had a lot of time and patience from my record company -- I toured around promoting Here With Me for a year and a half. That would never happen today! I pretty much hand-sold that first million, I met everyone who bought a copy.
ETonline: What were the most surreal moments in your career?
Dido: Certain gigs, like headlining V Festival. That was crazy. I remember thinking, "What am I doing here?!?" But, really, it's the little moments that really stand out, like walking through an airport in the Far East having never been there before and being approached by someone who barely speaks English, but they're quoting your lyrics to you. That's the most surreal. I was in Ethiopia with Oxfam and we were driving across the desert of coffee farmers, and they were trying to explain to them who I was and why I was there, and they mentioned Thank You and every single one of them started to sing it. That was absolutely crazy. I was sitting in the car on the verge of tears because that's so mental. For the music to have traveled so far and be so welcomed wherever I go because of my songs is completely crazy. Those are the moments where you realize you've gone beyond anything you've ever dreamed of for yourself. But that's the power of music.
Dido's Greatest Hits album is now available.