We thought we were on a roll after stumbling upon the name Rollo Gillespie while paying homage to Sir Stamford Raffles, but we quickly rolled into another Rollo: Rowland Constantine O’Malley Armstrong, known to friends and family as “Rollo.”
However, while Rollo is a founding member of successful British electronica band Faithless, as well as a fine fellow who will someday earn his own post in this blog, what brought him to our attention was actually his slightly more famous and slightly more humorously named sister.
Despite having so many excellent names to choose from, her parents – an Irish pub…lisher and an English writer – didn’t call her any of them as a child. Instead, they called her Dido, most likely in homage to the founder and first Queen of the Carthaginian Empire. So it wasn’t shocking when the singer adopted Queen Dido’s habits and set her sights on conquering the music world at the turn of this century.
She burst onto the scene in 1999 with No Angel, which sold 21 million copies on the strength of her breathy vocals and the breakout singles “Here with Me” and “Thank You,” the latter of which was also used in a collaboration single with Eminem called “Stan.” Her follow up album, 2003’s Life for Rent, went on to sell another 12 million copies. She also picked up a Grammy nomination in the process. Her 2008 album Safe Trip Home was also well-received by critics, and helped continue her success with a second Grammy nomination.
So how does one develop the toughness to handle the rigors of fame and fortune? Well, for Dido, it appears her unusual name played a role in her developing a thick skin. According to Wikipedia – a go-to source for supporting our own unverified assumptions – Dido had to “deal with [her name’s] unusual and ambiguous nature, which led to her being bullied and even pretending to have an ordinary name.” Florian (another name we’ve recently profiled) also had this to say of her assumed name “Dido”:
To be called one thing and christened another is actually very confusing and annoying. It’s one of the most irritating things that my parents did to me. … Florian is a German man’s name. That’s just mean. To give your child a whole lot of odd names. They were all so embarrassing. … I thought it was cruel to call me Dido and then expect me to just deal with it. – Dido, from a 2001 Observer article.
While we express sympathy for her childhood struggles, it appears that Ms. Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong has gotten the last laugh. And for that, we have to say:
No, Dido, thank you!