‘I haven’t actually performed in front of other human beings for five years, so this could go either way,” jokes Dido as she takes the stage for an intimate London showcase. At 41, she looks exactly the same as she ever did: blonde, beautiful, fresh faced and smiling with a delight that beams out across the room. Her voice, too, is immediately familiar, that soft, pure tone, very precise diction and little, folky catch in her throat as she floats up to falsetto notes. “If only for today, I want to be, the girl who got away,” she sings.
Dido is one of the biggest-selling stars in UK music history. Two massive albums of mellifluous, electronic-shaded songs (No Angel in 1999 and Life For Rent in 2003) established her as one of the most ubiquitous sounds of the Noughties, topping singles charts around the world and shifting more than 30 million albums, before apparently drifting out of sight and out of mind. She is back, somehow untouched by time, with a new album, Girl Who Got Away. It is actually her fourth album but, as she cheerfully acknowledges, not many people seemed to notice her third, a downbeat collection of acoustic orchestral melancholy, Safe Trip Home, in 2008.
“I get that a lot in cabs,” she laughs. “’Oi, Dido, I’ve got both your albums, when you putting another one out?’”
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