Interview with Janet Devlin

Janet Devlin talks to Pressparty about new album and shrugging off X Factor tag

Janet Devlin rose to fame as a starry-eyed 16-year-old on the X Factor in 2011 before finishing in fifth place, and June 9 will see the release of her first full-length album ‘Running With Scissors’. Pressparty caught up with the singer to find out more about the record and life after the X Factor.

What influences have gone into the new album?

Janet Devlin, shaking off X Factor beginnings
Janet Devlin, shaking off X Factor beginnings

The songs are more like a journal, like a diary of people that have broken my heart…it’s more of a personal journey than anything else.

So is it quite a downbeat record or is more positive?

It depends. The singles are quite upbeat, but there are quite a few very serious songs on the album – ones that you can’t really release as a single.

Musically, what artists have you taken influence from for the album?

Not really many on the record because a lot of the music I listen to is quite different to the music that I write. I listen to a lot of 90s rock, 2000s grunge, all that kind of stuff.

What do you hope to achieve with ‘Running With Scissors’?

I just hope people listen to it, to be honest. It’s a very personal record, it’s my life story pretty much in a musical format. I don’t care if people don’t like it, but I’d rather people listen to it and say they don’t like it than just pre-judging it.

Do you feel you’ve still got the X Factor tag on you and if so, do you want to get rid of it?

I do, but it’s so strange because it only took up about six months of my life and I was writing music before the X Factor and I was writing music after the X Factor, and I think people forget that I am actually a songwriter and a musician. They jump on the X Factor thing and it’s quite annoying because writing music is my life and I went on there to get some people interested.

Are you glad that you didn’t win it?

I never wanted to win it. I just wanted to get my name out there, to be honest.

They made quite a big deal about you being shy on it – do you feel like you’ve come out of your shell since then?

I think on that kind of show, being 16 years old and being in front of an audience – of course you’re going to be shy. What 16-year-old isn’t going to be?

You come from quite a small town in Northern Ireland – do you think that hindered or helped your transition into the industry?

That’s kind of the reason why I went on the show, because there’s no real musical opportunities there. But everyone’s super supportive and it’s quite nice as well because everyone knows your name and even if I didn’t go on the TV show then they’d probably still all know my name…

Going back to the album, is it a revamped version of your previous record [which was exclusively given to funders on PledgeMusic in 2013]?

More than that. I sat down and played with sounds more so on this one than the last one. It was quite a long winded experience. I just didn’t let anyone tell me what they wanted – it was more like ‘I don’t care, this is what I want’.

So it was like the proverbial two fingers to the system?

Definitely, but my team I was working with kind of knew what I was like –  I can be pernickety when it comes to music, and they knew not to argue with me because there’s no point.

Are you a perfectionist in that respect?

I want to get the sound right on each song so people can feel how I felt when I wrote it. It’s quite important to me to get the sound right. There’s so many songs with beautiful lyrics and beautiful melodies but they’re not produced right. I wanted to get this album right and I wanted people to feel almost just as bad as I felt when I wrote those songs.

Check back on Pressparty for the second part of the interview, which will include questions from fans via Twitter.

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