Having endured some difficult times in her family life, and searching for fulfilment, Miel de Botton took a giant step into the unknown and embarked on a music career recording her debut album 'Magnetic' which she released in 2015. She has since sold out venues across London, including Southbank Centre's Purcell Room, and toured with John Barrowman and Rhydian.
Now the Mum of two is making her first festival appearances when she plays at Camp Bestival (July 31) and Carfest South (August 27).
What was the first festival you ever went to?
I have been to Carfest for the last 3 years with my children. But specifically going for the music, I went to Let's Rock 80s Festival last year. My drummer, Dan Western, was drumming for Jimmy Somerville and it was a fantastic show
Did you ever imagine you would perform at festival?
Well - it was my dream. When I was watching Dan I was admiring them and thinking I wish I could be up there, performing well, with crowds cheering on and applauding, defying the outdoor acoustics which are clearly challenging. I had this dream of playing to large audiences all my life. It was greatly fulfilled when I went on tour supporting Rhydian and John Barrowman. The festival dream grew as I became more aware of festivals myself and started visiting them. I was first a little in awe, thinking 'would I be capable of this?' When I was offered the opportunity, the doubts went and I grabbed it with both hands gleefully, thinking 'we will do this! It will be fabulous!'
What sort of set will you be doing?
It will be a full band set-up with my core band of keyboards, double bass, guitar and drums and the addition of backing vocals and saxophone for the show. I will be singing in both English and French.
Do you get stage fright? If so how do you overcome that?
Yes I do… I do some breathing exercises for the last 20 minutes before going on stage - 6 counts of breath in and 6 counts out - a balancing breathing exercise.
How are you preparing for the festivals?
Musically we have had many specific rehearsals. I have been having vocal coaching and trying to rest my voice as much as possible and trying to keep healthy despite the changes in weather. Mentally, I have been getting in the mood by looking at pictures of festivals and practising some special dance moves! Spiritually I have been trying to keep calm and centred - generally, I isolate myself. I might go for a lovely walk in the park at first with no music or distractions, just taking in the nature. I always finish in a quiet room at home by myself, resting and in the moment. If I do this for a length of time, I find my breathing calms, I see white and yellow, sometimes purple lights with my eyes closed and I regenerate.
If I do get very anxious I do the above breathing exercise and that really takes care of the adrenaline...
You use crystals for your other performances, will you be using them at the festivals?
Yes. Kate Godwin, my healer, chooses the stones that are specific to each gig. They will need to be powerful and probably quite large with such a big venue. I generally also always have what we call 'a carry', small stones on my person for the duration of the concert. I find these stones help with my feeling of being grounded, I feel the difference when they are absent. I know some may consider this pure placebo but it works for me!
What do your children feel about you performing at festivals?
They think it's cool and are coming to Carfest. They haven't given me any advice so far but the fact they are coming means a lot to me, they are of the age to refuse doing anything they don't want to.
Are there any artists at Camp Bestival / CarFest that you are looking forward to seeing?
I am really looking forward to seeing Jess Glynne at Camp Bestival and Will Young at Carfest.
What essential festival items will you be taking?
A special cup with a straw, sandals and a caravan!
Crucially: what will you be wearing?
I am still trying to decide, but I am going to take a selection of boho flowery outfits for all weathers and my sandals if I can't go barefoot.