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Success Story - Feb 15, 2002

The album ”No Angel” started to get noticed after ”Here With Me” was featured in a sci-fi show

picture Dido’s debut album "No Angel" has sold more than 10 million copies and has topped many album charts all over the world. She is one of the very few British artists to enter the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 Album Chart in recent years, a fact largely due to the 1 1/2 years she spent there promoting the album.

5 years ago, Dido was working in London as a literary agent. She had studied music to a high level, but her incursions into the music business were limited to singing backing vocals for her brother Rollo’s band, Faithless. Although it would be quite a while before her brother took her seriously and considered she had the potential to become a recording artist, he was eventually persuaded to help her record some demos. They were sent off to various people, including the then President of Arista, Clive Davis. There were no immediate consequences. As early as 1996, however, Dido had been spotted at a Faithless gig by Mike Sault, publisher at Warner/Chappell UK, who was captivated by her. Led by a gut feeling, he contacted her and set up a meeting, where she played him a couple of tracks. It was sufficient to convince him to give Dido a publishing deal, and he proceeded to set her up with different songwriters. The record deal was still to come.

It is a curious fact that Rollo, co-owner of the small independent label Cheeky Records, together with Mel Medalie, often used his sister as an example of the type of artist they should be signing to the label, although it was Mel who suggested that they actually should sign her. The decision was promptly taken, although Dido was never to release her album on Cheeky, as the company was later bought by BMG. Luckily, Clive Davis, after being suitably impressed by the demo he had received, turned up at a Faithless gig in London, and set up a meeting with Dido in his hotel room immediately afterwards. Mediated by Cheeky, he signed her to Arista, New York. Peter Edge, who became her A&R at Arista, suggested Peter Leak, an independent manager who had previously worked with Cowboy Junkies and 10,000 Maniacs, take Dido on, a collaboration which has proved very successful.

With the help of Peter Leak, Peter Edge and her brother, producers and collaborators were chosen to work on the debut album. "No Angel" was to the larger part recorded at Swanyard Studios in London, with Rick Nowels, Rollo, Youth and herself producing. After it was decided that the US market would be targeted before venturing a release in Europe - a tactic adopted because of Arista’s geographical location and the money-making potential of the North American market, which British artists often lose out on, due to the difficulties of breaking there - it was released in the US in June 1999.

At first, it made little commercial noise, although, because of a connection between Arista and Fox, a TV production company, Dido’s album ended up in the hands of the producers for a new sci-fi show, Roswell, who decided to feature "Here With Me" as the theme tune. From that point, radio support flourished, and the album started to get noticed, sales taking off definitively when the song was featured in its entirety for the show’s finale in spring 2000. Also adding to its profile was Warner/Chappell London’s engineering a slot for "Thank You" on the soundtrack to Sliding Doors, a film that did well in 1998.

It was only when the American market had been definitively conquered that "No Angel" was released in Europe, in October 2000. It may have gone unnoticed, was it not for Eminem’s decision to base his single, "Stan", around Dido’s "Thank You". Coincidental though this was - Eminem’s producer, The 45 King, came across a copy of "No Angel" and liked it - it served to build recognition in Europe.

Written by Luci Vázquez - Research by Stefan Sörin & Kimbel Bouwman

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