Banker's Wife to Singer: The New Midlife Switch; Miel De Botton, Sister of Philosopher Alain, Is Looking for Love and Launching a Music Career. Shetells Susannah Butter about a Life of Privilege and Pop

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 12, 2014 | Go to article overview

Banker's Wife to Singer: The New Midlife Switch; Miel De Botton, Sister of Philosopher Alain, Is Looking for Love and Launching a Music Career. Shetells Susannah Butter about a Life of Privilege and Pop


Byline: Susannah Butter

MIEL de Botton is talking about dating. "I look for creative types and they are often confused as to what they want in their lives. It is difficult to meet people I can connect with, or they are seemingly interested but don't call back. I was ready for speed dating and internet dating, thinking they would be fun, but I found it hard." She breaks off to send her mother a picture of herself in the photoshoot dress and make-up because it is all so exciting.

Both dressing up for pictures and the agony of meeting a partner are unfamiliar to de Botton, who divorced Angus Aynsley, a banker turned film producer, four years ago and has since started anew as a musician. Until recently, she left the limelight to her younger brother, philosopher Alain. She studied law at Oxford, worked as a clinical psychologist and focused on bringing up her two children. But last year, at the age of 44, she began to make an album. Magnetic is a collection of reinterpreted French songs from the 1930s-50s and de Botton's own, powerful material. It will be released early next year with an event at the Purcell Room.

She twinkles when talking about her new musical career. "I had this dream since I was a little girl. You don't necessarily think it is going to happen and I went down the academic route, but then it was incredibly organic."

It started with her Pilates teacher, Sheila, who is in a disco band. "I was talking about music and she invited me to perform at an electrician's ball in Kent. It was amazing." Then she met producer Andy Wright, whose previous work includes hits for Simply Red and Eurythmics, through her yoga instructor (she does that as well as Pilates). "He asked if I was very ambitious. I said yes and that's how it started. The kids were more grown up -- Zachary is 15 and Talia is 11 -- so I could try to pursue my dreams as well." Her children have been hugely supportive, and de Botton watches The X Factor with Talia - "though I wouldn't go on it, it is too scary".

Ageism is not something she has directly encountered, although "people have said 'you are too old to be on Radio 1 and Capital'. Robbie Williams is not allowed either, so at least it is across the board. It does seem unfair because if I suddenly wanted to create a Radio 1-type song, why should it matter? That was disappointing."

Alain is her biggest fan. The prolific philosopher is known for capturing the public's attention with books such as The Architecture of Happiness. "I send him and my mother songs first," says de Botton. "He replies with emails that are so beautiful I print them out and put them in my special box." She is not aware, however, of his Twitter relationship with One D's Harry Styles.

The siblings had an idyllic childhood, growing up by a lake in Zurich -- "a tranquil place". "I was a bossy older sister. Alain was very shy, which is hard to believe. He was lovely and cute. We playfought and got on for hours -- our nanny never had to intervene -- and put on plays for our parents."

Her father's job, as founder of Global Asset Management, put them "among the wealthier of the Zurich set but I wouldn't say we were extraordinarily wealthy". Gilbert de Botton was an Egyptian Jew who worked his way up. Her mother, Jacqueline, "was always busy running around helping him". They divorced after Miel had graduated, and when he died in 2000 he left a family trust fund of more than PS200million.

She thinks it is "a little unfair" when people criticise her family for their wealth. "But on the other hand I can't deny that the money has opened up possibilities for us that we wouldn't have had. Publishing books costs money, making an album costs money, and you don't get that money back. We have this help, which is incredible and I am very grateful for it." She does worry about her brother: "He shows me some of the horrible comments he gets. I know how sensitive he is and he does get hurt by it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Banker's Wife to Singer: The New Midlife Switch; Miel De Botton, Sister of Philosopher Alain, Is Looking for Love and Launching a Music Career. Shetells Susannah Butter about a Life of Privilege and Pop
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.