Quite a woman, this Miel de Botton. Google the name, and you find that she’s a Swiss contemporary art collector and philanthropist; the daughter of a pioneer in contemporary asset management, and the sister of Alain de Botton, a philosopher and TV presenter. Dig deeper, and you find that she’s the former wife of banker turned film producer Angus Aynsley. From an article in the UK’s Evening Standard: “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.”
The album drops in the US this week, with a sixties vibe, which Ms. de Botton acknowledges, “From the 60s, I adore Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Albert Hammond, Françoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, the Beatles…These were some of the artists that my parents played to me, I feel that they have infiltrated my being.”
The eight tracks are lush and strikingly shiny in their execution – Ms. de Botton weaves her angelic alto through the entrancing arrangements – all originals, all big-girl stuff. She writes, “I write about emotions that I’ve had, difficult and joyful situations that I’ve been in. In my songs I often call for things I’m wishing for in my life. A true love, communion with others, an end to violence, joy…”
“Bad Men” is the first single released from this set, a personal story, she says – telling that same Standard interviewer that it’s, “…a cry of having enough of people who seem to be close to you and then suddenly walk away. I wanted the song cathartically to make things change.” The other English single released is “Dazzle Me Diamond,” the story of a disillusioned bride: “After the party’s over | the wedding bed is cold.”
Rare is the first outing as polished as this. Ms. de Botton credits producer Andy Wright, who has worked with acts like Simply Red and the Eurythmics: “I feel I have entered a new world where I can fully express myself in exciting ways…”
Handcrafted songs, polished by the team she describes as “…wonderful people and so talented. It is often a really steep learning curve but I want to keep on learning and giving as much as I can.”
Very highly recommended.
(Tracks in bold have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet.com)
Here’s the “Bad Men” video, a witty mini-movie in itself.