In 2011, Janet Devlin took to our screens with her X-factor audition. Fast forward to 2022 and the Northern-Irish singer is still mesmerising us with her stunning voice as well as giving us abs from laughing on TikTok. Branching out from music Janet has also turned her hand to writing. My Confessional followed the release of album Confessional and explored all the meaning behind the tracks.
Now gearing up for another album release and UK tour, it felt only right to talk to the one and only Janet Devlin for International Women’s day 2022.
Thank you so much for getting involved in our International Women’s day feature. Kicking things off, could you name a few women in the music industry inspire you?
I would say, Julia Michaels, Adele, and Doja Cat.
Is there anything in particular about these artists that stand out for you?
Julia Michaels, for me, just every single song she seems to write is just genius. And like, she writes for such big artists as well. She’s not just writing for herself. I think that’s why she started, I think she started writing for people and then became an artist herself. I just find her music constantly inspiring. As an artist to listen to her, because she just constantly comes up with great, phenomenal ideas. I think Adele inspires me, not even just for music. I think everyone can agree, obviously, her music is amazing; but I just think there’s something also amazing about being a mother in the music industry. Like that’s something that you don’t really see that often in artists, you know, and so I look up to her for that reason. And then Doja Cat, because I feel like, she’s like the physical embodiment of like, human or like female empowerment.
Outside of music, what women inspire you?
I definitely have to say my mom…and honestly; just all the women in my life. Be that friends, or just anyone. Any women in my life. It’s people I work with, definitely big inspiration from them. They all seem to have way more stuff going on to me, in terms of like, life, you know. Some of them are mothers, and all that kind of stuff. Obviously, my mom was a mother. You know, they always just seem to have so much going on, but they always still managed to make time for the people that they love and care about; and I think that that in itself is inspirational. You know, it’s something that I try my best to learn how to do, like balance my work and my personal life. I look for them for inspiration on that.
We’ve touched on women in the music industry who inspire you, who are your top three female artists and tracks at the moment?
I think it would be, Kacey Musgraves, Space Cowboy, I hope by Gabby Barrett, and Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers.
Motion Sickness is SUCH a good song.
t’s such a tune, I’ll never get sick of playing it either. It’s one of those where I should probably save this for when I need to hear it, but I’m just like no. I just love it so much.
How would you describe your experience as a woman in the music industry?
Do you know what? I think maybe it’s because I feel quite secular to the music industry, I don’t necessarily feel like I’m a part of it. I don’t know, that’s like a weird thing to say. I think it’s because I make a bunch of different stuff, I do music, I make content online and things like that. I just feel I’m not fully part of any community. I feel that’s definitely true in the music industry, I don’t necessarily feel like I’m massively part of the industry.
Kind of like in your own little bubble?
Yeah, I definitely feel like I’m in my own little bubble sometimes. My experience in the industry, as a female, it’s quite different. Because I don’t really feel so immersed in it, and I’ve never had any issues or anything, so as far as I’ve never like got turned away from anything because I’m a woman. I’ve never missed out on opportunities. I think the only thing I would notice is like a lot of playlists, a lot of like the new music playlists tend to have a lot of guys in it.
So you’re hugely known for your X Factor audition and Elton John’s Your Song, is there another song of his that your absolute favourite?
Oh my gosh. It’s the one that starts with Blue- Jean baby? Oh, Tiny Dancer! It’s something I will sing around the house.
How have you found things like music festivals? There’s a big discourse on when you take away the male acts from line-ups, how there are so few females left on there. Has that ever been a big thing for you?
I just don’t really get asked to do festivals that much. So, I don’t know whether or not that’s because I’m a female. But maybe it is. But yeah, I don’t really do that many festivals. So, I don’t know.
It’s a bit of a weird one. Festivals are certainly getting better at having a split but it’s still can quite noticeable.
Yeah, it’s certainly something I’ve noticed though, you do see it. Like, I seen that exact poster you’re talking about where they like, just photoshopped all the dudes out. It was severe lack of women playing.
What needs to change within the music industry to make it better for women, if anything?
Well that’s my thing really, I personally have worked with so many women and I feel honestly there has never really been that same left out feeling that maybe other women in the music industry have felt? I mean if anything it would be more women getting into the likes of production and stuff like that. I don’t know how you get more women into production and things like that, but it would be great if there were more options for female producers.
I’ve personally worked a lot of different festivals and on the publications I work for, there’s a lot more women working behind the scenes than I ever really imagined, or had presented to me when I was first trying to get into it, it was kinda never really shown so it would be cool to actually show off more of that.
There’s SO many women I hear working in the music industry on that side, be it for like PR companies, management or whatever. There is a lot of women working in the industry now, which is phenomenal.
Is there any advice you would give to aspiring female artists?
I think there’s like, if there’s anything is probably just embrace your femininity. I think there’s a fear of writing say, too many love songs or too many breakup songs. But like, I think it’s been an example before, where nobody is telling Ed Sheeran off for writing too many love songs or break up songs… but people will tell Taylor Swift off for writing the exact same number. So I think it’s all because it’s still relatable you know, everybody gets in and out of relationships… so I feel like you shouldn’t be afraid to write that kind of music, if that’s what you write. I feel like people are somewhat afraid to jump into that kind of thing, because they feel like it’s been done before and stuff like that. But like I said, people are still getting in and out of relationships.
So you’re off on tour in April, is there anything in particular you’re excited for with that?
I think for me, it’s gonna be nice because the last time I went on tour a couple months ago, I did it with a full band, which was a new thing for me. I normally do striped back and acoustic. I’m going to be road testing some new songs that I’ve been working on. I’m working on a country record and I’m going to be road testing those songs and we’re really interested to hear people’s feedback. I think that’s what I’m most excited for, is to hear people tell me what songs they liked and what they didn’t like, you know. I hope so. I hope people won’t just be like, Oh country. I hope they’ll actually like give it a chance. You know?
I’ve always been a bit unsure. The more you properly listen to it and a range it has, you think actually, no, this is really good music.
Like you can’t forget, Queen Shania Twain. Like people are quick to say they don’t like country music, and you say what about Shania Twain and they’re like, oh okay yeah.
I’ve followed you for years and something that really stands out to me is how down to earth and open you are, there’s no trying hide or present a a false reality, especially on TikTok. There’s such an open line of communication mental health and your past. It must be such a scary thing to do, I guess the question is, how did you become so comfortable and confident to not hide?
Well, I think my journey really started when I got sober. I realised there’s a phrase that people say a lot, and it’s your signature secrets. I try to keep as little secrets as I possibly can. Which is why I’m such an open book, but also when I was getting sober. and at the time, I was getting sober, I find like a lot of people weren’t talking about it, like, you had the likes of Russell Brand, and all this kind of stuff, but you didn’t have any women, young women, shall I say, like talking about getting sober. And for me, it was a bit like I felt a bit like lost and left out because I didn’t have anyone to like look-up to that was openly talking about it. For me, talking about my sobriety was really important. It seems to help a lot of people and that just makes me feel just really great; that people are getting something out of it.
When it comes to mental health and stuff like that, I’ve always been open about it. I think it comes from like my mom, because she’s been a beacon of light, because she’s always said since I was a teenager that every teenager should have a therapist, you know? As soon as they become a teenager, they should get a therapist. The topic of mental health was never was never shied away from with my mom. I think it’s her influence on me, that’s maybe led me to be in a bit over vocal sometimes.
“Embracing your femininity isn’t about what we’re told in the media is feminine. It’s about what is feminine for me? What is femininity to you?”
With mental health, people are really trying to break the stigma down. It’s so often seen as like a weakness, but actually, you’re kind of presenting it in such a strength in such a confidence.
I mean, for me, it is a strength because like, I suffer with borderline personality disorder. Which basically just means that every feeling I have is like 10 times amplified, more so than the average person’s and nothing helps you write songs quite like having too many feelings, you know?
Definitely. You’ve got someone like dodie, who I’ve also followed for what seems like forever. They’re really open about depersonalisation and derealisation and you see just how much it’s helped people come to terms with it in a way?
It’s so important and like it helps like with the likes of dodie, she’s so massive, it must just help so many people be a part of the community, they just feel less alone. I think that that’s one of the worst parts about mental health. That it can make us feel alone, whereas whenever like influencers and musicians and stuff actually open up and talk about it, I don’t think they realise just the vast amount of people that they can actually help.
It certainly helped me seeing females in particular, be so open about when they’ve had to go to like therapy for these really big traumatic things, it really helped me feel brave enough to do it and not have that idea of being the weaker gender.
Oh, absolutely. Unlike most people in the music industry are mental. So it’s like, who are we trying to kid by trying to pretend like we don’t have mental health issues?
Is there a track in particular of yours that you’d recommend women to listen to, that gives a real big, empowering feeling so afterwards it’s like “Right, I’m ready to take on the day now.”
I probably say, I have a track called Otherside. It’s all about, moving on from the past and trying to tackle the world as it is now that like everything is better once you get to that other side. But it’s not neglecting the fact that like, you might be in it, you know, it’s about coming through knowing that when it’s over, it’ll all be worth it.
What about any other tracks that make you feel empowered?
I think Dojo Cat Woman for obvious reasons because if I was to pick a song to sum up International Woman’s Day it would be that. Some people might judge me for this one but it’s No by Meghan Trainor, it’s an absolute tune. Then probably anything by Paramore.
Have you got any inspiring words that you’d like to share to all women on International Women’s Day?
Probably the same thing, it’s just about embracing your feminine side. Embracing femininity and what that means to you. Embracing your femininity isn’t about what we’re told in the media is feminine. It’s about what is feminine for me? What is your own femininity to you? You know, and I think that that’s important to even sit down with yourself and even ask yourself. And it’s not what’s not being force fed, you know, it’s what is actually your idea.