A chat with...Miel de Botton

The Swiss singer-songwriter on what makes her tick...
Miel de Botton was born in Zurich, daughter of financier and art collector Gilbert, sister of writer and philosopher Alain. Her father, a dynamic, demanding perfectionist, expected excellence from his children. It was only when he sang to them that he softened and it was through those moments that Miel fell in love with music. She read Law at Oxford University, before going on to quality as a Clinical Psychologist at the Ecole de Psychologues. Now Miel has reconnected with her love of singing, and is gearing up to release her debut album, 'Magnetic'...

How did you first discover your talent for singing?
My father always admired my singing and made me feel very special as a child. Then I sang in choirs, but I was never sure that I could develop this into a professional capacity.  It was like a secret thing that gave me pleasure.

What do you enjoy about performing?
The connection with the audience - when you feel that you have made an emotional connection and that they are mesmerised and charmed.

What music do you listen to?
I listen to a very broad range from chart music to more lyrical poets like Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.  I love to listen to  passionate love songs in French, Spanish, Italian and English. I also love classical music and opera.

How do you relax?
I sit in my favourite chair in the kitchen, look out of the window and meditate.  I also walk in nature - in my garden or the park.

What's the most memorable fan moment you've had?
The moment when a fan, who had been very encouraging to me, had a very low moment himself and confessed it on social media.  I tried to come to the rescue with support and comfort and it was a really nice exchange.

You used to be a Clinical Psychologist. What psychological effect do you think your music has on the listener?
I feel it is soothing (it certainly is to me and people have told me that it is) and hopefully it does heal.  I guess it goes through quite a range of emotion, putting it into words in a gentle way and with soft melodies that will hopefully comfort people who have gone through similar experiences and emotions.

What inspires you most?
Music, my kids, art, nature, friends, but the one most inspirational thing is love in all of its forms.

Who would you like to duet with?
Patrick Bruel and Julien Clerc because they are very inspired and talented French singers who both put on a hell of a performance.  They really give their all to the audience.

Barbra Streisand for her spectacular voice.  She has inspired me from a child with her enormous range and vocal expression.

Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison because they are poets and masters of transforming poetry into song and they both have a very healing, therapeutic effect.

Olly Murs because he is fun, young and dancey and we could have a laugh together!

Where would you most like to perform?
I dream of the bigger venues! The O2, The Royal Albert Hall, because they give the opportunity of reaching many people. I also would love a beautiful, traditional jazz venue like Ronnie Scott's. Am very excited about a performance in a similar venue at the  Carlyle in New York, which is planned to happen next year.

What is your ultimate goal?
For my career to develop as much as possible and for this fulfilment to continue.

Miel de Botton is performing at The Pheasantry on the 13 November. Her debut album Magnetic will be released early 2015. Click here for more information and to pre-order.