Beth Ditto

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Beth Ditto
Beth Ditto - Gossip - Roskilde Festival 2012.jpg
Ditto at Roskilde Festival 2012.
Background information
Born (1981-02-19) February 19, 1981 (age 33)
Origin Searcy, Arkansas, US
Genres Indie rock, post-punk, synthpop
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts Gossip

Mary Beth Patterson, known by her stage name Beth Ditto (born February 19, 1981, in Searcy, Arkansas),[1] is an American singer-songwriter, most notable for her work with the indie rock band Gossip (previously known as The Gossip)[2] and whose voice has been compared to Etta James, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner.[3] She is often reported describing herself as a "fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas".[3]

Life and career

Ditto grew up in a poor family in Arkansas in the southern United States, with her mother, various stepfathers, six siblings (two older brothers, an older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister). She was raised Southern Baptist and Pentecostal.[3] At age 13, she moved out of her mother’s house and went to live with her aunt.[4] She moved to Olympia, Washington in 1999;[5] then to Portland, Oregon in 2003, where she lives as of 2014.[6]

She has fronted the band Gossip since their formation in 1999. In addition to her band Gossip, Ditto has been involved in other musical projects. In 2008 she contributed vocals to the Crisis charity single Consequences, a collaboration between various artists. In 2010 she sang on Simian Mobile Disco's track Cruel Intentions for their album of collaborations Temporary Pleasure. In 2011 she released her own 4 track Beth Ditto EP, produced by James Ford and Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco, on the re-launched Deconstruction Records. She sang on Blondie's A Rose by Any Name from their 2013 album Ghosts of Download. Harrod Horatia, writing in The Telegraph, has said "Where the stripped-down three-piece Gossip play propulsive, garage band blues, Ditto’s own stuff is melancholic, soulful dance music, inspired by “Eighties disco soul jams” that she loves, and the up-tempo pop-R&B of I Wanna Dance With Somebody-era Whitney Houston."[4]

Ditto, who is a lesbian, is well known for her outspoken support of both lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), and feminist, causes.[7] She has been an advocate for large women being body-positive and has been regularly photographed as an editorial model. She is known for her noticeable stage dances and her unique and revealing image. She classes herself as a punk, and thus neither uses deodorant nor shaves under her armpits, having once remarked, "I think punks usually smell."[8] She has cited Cyndi Lauper and Boy George as overall influences and Grace Jones and Peggy Moffitt as her beauty icons.[9] She considers her favorite song to be "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" by X-Ray Spex.

She courted mild controversy in 2006 when, during an interview for NME magazine, she claimed to have eaten squirrels as a child, saying that "people in Arkansas just do – they'd think you were a freak if you ate squid there!"[10]

In 2007/2008 Ditto contributed a fortnightly advice column on body image to The Guardian newspaper entitled 'What would Beth Ditto do?'.[11][12]

In 2007 she was featured posed nude on the front cover of music magazine NME.[13] Germaine Greer, writing in The Guardian, said the magazine had "enough courage to put the coolest woman on the planet on the cover" whilst acknowledging its limits. Greer also praised Ditto for her motives, saying her "intention is to force acceptance of her body type, 5ft tall and 15 stone, and by this strategy to challenge the conventional imagery of women".[14] In February 2009 bi-annual British style magazine Love featured Ditto posed nude on the front cover of its premiere issue, with prominent public advertising.[13] Emily Hill, writing in The Guardian, was cynical of Love magazine's intentions, writing that "Beth Ditto on Love magazine is not evidence of fashion's new acceptance, but a diversion before emaciated normality returns".[15]

Ditto launched her first plus-size collection for women's clothing retailer Evans on 9 July 2009, in collaboration with head of design Lisa Marie Peacock. Ditto provided sketches and drew inspiration from her favourite vintage and charity shop clothes as well as bands like Blondie, The Slits and Grace Jones, and Art Deco movements.[16][17] Her second collection for Evans launched in 2010 with just over 20 individual items. Marianne Kirby, writing in The Guardian, said the "collection struck a nerve with its iconic pieces" and that it was an "international success".[18]

Ditto on the cover of Love magazine.

She opened (modeled) and closed the Jean Paul Gaultier spring 2011 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in October 2010.[4][19]

In June 2012 Ditto collaborated with MAC Cosmetics to create a make up collection.[9]

Ditto released her memoir in 2012 called Coal to Diamonds, which she co-wrote with Michelle Tea.[20] It was positively reviewed in The Guardian[21] and NME.[22]

In July 2013, Ditto married her girlfriend and best friend since she was 18,[23] Kristin Ogata, in Maui, Hawaii. Both were outfitted entirely in white for the occasion; Ditto wore a gown by Jean Paul Gaultier and went barefoot while Ogata wore a jacket, a shirt, shorts, and shoes.[24][25][26]

Books

Books by Ditto

Books with contributions by Ditto

Discography

Extended plays

Year Title Peak positions
AUS
[28]
FRA
[29]
GER
[30]
SWI
[31]
2011 Beth Ditto EP 86 67 78 45

Singles

Year Title Peak
positions
Album
UK BEL
[32]
FRA
[29]
GER
[30]
SWI
[31]
2008 "Temptation"
(with Jarvis Cocker)
148
[33]
Non-album single
(charity single)
2011 "I Wrote the Book" 76
[34]
6 89 24 59 Beth Ditto EP
As featured artist
2008 "Consequences"
(Crisis featuring Beth Ditto, Paul Weller, The Enemy, Supergrass and many more)
88
[35]
Non-album single
(charity single)
2010 "Cruel Intentions"
(Simian Mobile Disco featuring Beth Ditto)
142
[36]
Temporary Pleasure
2013 "A Rose by Any Name"
(Blondie featuring Beth Ditto)
Ghosts of Download
2014 "Running Low"
(Netsky featuring Beth Ditto)
80 1 100 TBA

Awards and nominations

  • 2006 – NMECool List – Won[37]
  • 2007 – NME Awards – Sexiest Woman Of The Year – Nominated
  • 2008 – Glamour Awards – International Artist Of The Year – Won

References

  1. ^ "Beth Ditto". emusic. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bio". The Gossip official website. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  3. ^ a b c "The insiders guide to Beth Ditto". CNN. 24 November 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Harrod, Horatia (21 Feb 2011). "Beth Ditto: the punk 'it' girl". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (6 July 2012). "Q&A: Beth Ditto". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Ditto, Beth (15 December 2007). "The friendliest big little city in America". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Beth Ditto (2007-06-08). "What would Beth Ditto do?". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  8. ^ "Listen Up: I Don’t Think We’re In Kansas Anymore". psychoPEDIA. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  9. ^ a b Nika, Colleen (1 June 2012). "Beth Ditto Turns Adventurous Personal Style Into Bold MAC Cosmetics Collection". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Kharas, Kev (2006-11-24). "Gossip or fact? Beth Ditto used to eat squirrels?! / Music News // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  11. ^ "What would Beth Ditto do?". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "What Would Beth Ditto Do?". London: The Guardian. 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  13. ^ a b Clements, Jo (16 February 2009). "15-stone Beth Ditto launches Love magazine with nude shoot". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Greer, Germaine (31 May 2007). "Well done, Beth Ditto. Now let it all hang out". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Hill, Emily (19 February 2009). "Fat's all folks". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Alexander, Hilary (6 July 2009). "Beth Ditto's collection for Evans". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  17. ^ Sawyer, Miranda (5 July 2009). "'Everything that you think is weird is normal to me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Kirby, Marianne (21 September 2010). "Beth Ditto collection reveals gap in the fat fashion market". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Jean Paul Gaultier - Spring/Summer 2011 ready-to-wear show.". www.tifdb.com. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  20. ^ Lambda Literary 'Coal to Diamonds’ by Beth Ditto and Michelle Tea
  21. ^ Empire, Kitty (21 October 2012). "Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir by Beth Ditto – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Perry, Kevin (26 October 2012). "Book Review: Beth Ditto - 'Coal To Diamonds'". NME. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Clark, Alex (6 May 2012). "Beth Ditto: 'I'm constantly learning how to be confident'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "The Gossip's Beth Ditto is talk of the town: Singer marries long-term girlfriend Kristin Ogata". The Independent. July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  25. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan (July 24, 2013). "Beth Ditto Of Gossip Marries Kristin Ogata, Longtime Girlfriend, In Hawaiian Wedding". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Wedding belles! Barefoot Beth Ditto wears her dream Jean Paul Gaultier gown as she marries girlfriend Kristin Ogata". Daily Mail. July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Riot Grrrl Revolution Girl Style Now!", Black Dog Publishing.
  28. ^ "Pandora Archive". Pandora.nla.gov.au. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  29. ^ a b "lescharts.com - Discography Beth Ditto" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  30. ^ a b "Beth Ditto". charts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  31. ^ a b "Discographie Beth Ditto - hitparade.ch" (in Swiss German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  32. ^ "Discografie Beth Ditto". ultratop.be (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  33. ^ CHART: CLUK Update 1.03.2008 (wk8)
  34. ^ Charts Stats "Charts Stats - Beth Ditto - EP", Charts Stats - UK Singles & Albums Chart Archive, March 13, 2011, accessed March 15, 2011.
  35. ^ CHART: CLUK Update 10.05.2008 (wk18)
  36. ^ CHART: CLUK Update 26.12.2009 (wk51)
  37. ^ "Women top list of music's coolest". BBC News. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 

External links