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?
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.