The year Dido made a million a month

A year ago, she could walk down any street unrecognised.

But today Dido has become the highest earning female in British pop music, making an astonishing £ 12million from sales of her debut album.

Her career was transformed when the controversial American rap artist Eminem 'sampled' one of her songs on his worldwide hit single Stan, catapulting her album No Angel to number one in 13 countries.

It went on to become the biggestselling album of 2001 in the UK and sold 8.6million copies worldwide. The record's success helped push Dido's earnings last year beyond those of perennial best-sellers such as the Rolling Stones and David Bowie, who made £8.5million and £8.3million respectively.

The figures - published in the entertainment magazine Heat - show she made more than Robbie Williams, Charlotte Church and Hear'Say combined.

Dido's success has enabled her to swop her modest flat in Islington, North London, for a £1million townhouse in Fulham.

The 30-year-old, christened Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong, began her career in music as tea girl in the London studio where her brother Rollo was recording.

She appeared in a video for his band Faithless and later signed to the same record label.

Her rise to fame was not a total accident. Dido spent 18 arduous months promoting No Angel in the U.S., often rising before dawn to do breakfast shows on radio and TV. Heat's deputy editor Julian Linley said: 'Dido now has the world at her feet, thanks to hard work and talent.'

The biggest earners last year were The Beatles, whose back catalogue earned an estimated £65million. Second was U2 with £60million, and third Sir Elton John, who made £27.5million.

Another newcomer joining Dido in the multi-millionaire bracket was David Gray, whose album White Ladder sold more than 10million copies, helping him make £8million.