“I nearly fell off my chair”

Following this week’s amazing news that If I Rise has been nominated for the Best Song Oscar, we gave Dido a shout to find out a bit more about collaborating with A.R. Rahman, being on the 127 Hours soundtrack and plans for album #4.

Hi Dido, congratulations on the Oscar nomination. Where were you when you found out about it?
I was in a restaurant and a friend texted me. I nearly fell off my chair.

Presumably you’re pretty pleased?
I’m so pleased. It’s a proper honour and getting to work with someone as brilliant as A.R. Rahman on a Danny Boyle movie is a bit of a dream come true anyway. Way back when, the ‘Trainspotting’ soundtrack was probably one of the musical moments that influenced me the most. I actually wrote ‘Here With Me’ which was my first song over a track on there. Danny Boyle has always done incredible music in his films I think, and I’m a huge A.R. Rahman fan anyway. A.R. Rahman’s whole soundtrack to this film is beautiful and I’m properly proud to be a part of it.

Have you spoken to A.R. Rahman since the nomination was announced?
I have, I spoke to him yesterday. What a lovely guy. Very inspiring.

Of course, this is just one of six awards that 127 Hours is up for. Did you expect it to do so well when you became involved?
To be honest I’d only read the book when I first got involved. I was working with A.R on something else anyway and he mentioned that he was working on a soundtrack. He told me the story of the film and I realised I actually already had Aron Ralston’s book at home because it had interested me. I went home, read the book properly which was very moving and very inspiring, and then went back in and did the track. A.R. explained where in the film the track would be and it felt like the ‘no lyrics’ lyrics in the verses were the right thing to do as it wouldn’t interfere with what was going on in the scene too much. I didn’t think too much more of it other than that it was a great experience to work with A.R. and a beautiful piece of music. I didn’t actually see the film for the first time until recently when everything was finished.

And what did you think of the film?
I was blown away by it. As I’d read the book I was pretty intrigued as to how Danny Boyle was going to get round the fact that it’s one guy stuck in a rock for the whole film. He did it absolutely brilliantly. I was so drawn in from the word go, really moved and riveted and actually found it pretty exhilarating and inspiring by the end. The way it was shot just draws you right in and I felt a bit like I was cutting my own arm off at the pivotal scene. I hope I’d be able to have the human strength to do the same thing in the same situation! My hiking holiday in Utah wasn’t nearly as exciting though…

This is a great start to 2011 for you. Is it looking like you’ll finish the new album this year too?
The new album should be finished soon. Very excited about it. We’ve had a lot of fun doing it. I’ve done a lot of stuff with Rollo here in the UK and then I spent some time in California over the summer and wrote a load of songs there with a different flavour that I love. Driving round California is about the most inspiring thing for me I think. I got to work with some great people there too – Jeff Bhasker, Greg Kurstin, Rick Nowels again. Happy days.

Would you like to work with A.R. Rahman again?
I’d absolutely love to. We have done another track and I just need to finish the lyrics on that and we’ll get that finished and I’d love to do more with him. He’s an amazing human being to be around and incredibly talented and I learnt a lot from the short time we already spent together. His melodies are absolutely beautiful. I realised I’d never actually sung another person’s melody as one of my songs and he writes melodies I could never write but I just love singing. Especially when you get more of the Indian scale in there. It’s not dissimilar to Irish music and so it really resonates with me and moves me.

Do you have any other collaborations lined up?
I certainly do. Too early to say for sure as I don’t want to jinx things but there are things going on hopefully!

Finally, if you win, where do you think you’d put the statuette?
Where everyone can see it. 🙂 It would be pretty unbelievable to win an Oscar.

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