Northern-Irish singer-songwriter Janet Devlin has certainly been busy recently, with the release of her new album Confessional and it’s companion book My Confessional, on top of a booming YouTube channel. We had the chance to catch up with her about her new music, the topics that inspired it, moving on from her X Factor beginnings and what she has planned for the future.
Trigger warning: contains discussion of topics some readers may find upsetting
First of all, Janet, how are you doing?
I’m doing very well thank you! Your health’s your wealth and all that!
Your new album, Confessional, and your new book, My Confessional, are infused with stories of your struggles with alcoholism and mental health issues. How does it feel to be incorporating these experiences into your work?
It feels incredibly liberating. Heavy topics like this are easy to run from because of the shame attached. But channelling those years of pain into art almost makes it all worthwhile. It just feels good to be honest after so many years of hiding my truth.
Confessional has quite a melancholy tone compared to your previous album, Running With Scissors. Which sound do you feel is more representative of where you wish to take your music going forward?
Probably the latter. There was something incredibly cathartic about writing about my demons. Now that my story is out there, I can move forward and delve even further into those topics. No topic is taboo to me anymore so I’m looking forward to continuing to write more honest tracks that wholeheartedly represent the real me.
You’ve covered a lot of different songs on your YouTube channel, do you have any plans to release a cover album?
Hmm, I don’t think so! I like that they can exist on the medium of YouTube. For me, I just enjoy the ability to sing my favourite songs for people, without the stress of a release plan. I wouldn’t rule out doing another EP of my favourites from the channel though, as “Live On The Line” went down so well.
You recently appeared on The Reality Of Reality TV with Fleur East and discussed what happened behind the scenes of The X Factor. Looking back, would you change anything about your X Factor experience?
Absolutely not. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I like where I’m at these days so I fear that by going back and changing something, I wouldn’t have got to experience life the way that I did.
You have been incredibly honest about your past suicide attempts and how, at the time, you didn’t acknowledge that they were attempts to take your own life. What has your journey been like as you’ve come to terms with your mental health and learned to love yourself?
It’s been a very long journey but an incredibly worthwhile one. With so much ingrained self-hatred from such a young age, it was never going to be an easy feat to rewire my thinking. For me the big game changer wasn’t just AA meetings, I realised I needed more than that, so I got a therapist. Having someone to guide me through and make me question myself in a healthy manner was extremely useful. I never thought I’d be able to say “I love myself” and believe it but 5 years into working on it, I can. A big thing for me was understanding my brain just works a little differently but I should never let my mental illness prevent me from moving forward or using it for justification to not like myself.
On The Reality Of Reality TV with Fleur East, you discussed your experience with self-harm, anorexia and suicidal thoughts. What advice would you give to other people struggling with similar issues?
I think the obvious one is to reach out and get help. As scary and as terrifying as that is. I was always waiting for that perfect “I’m ready to get better” moment but that just never came. I would also say that you should be incredibly careful as to what you digest online. Avoiding blogs that glorify or romanticise these topics. It’s easy to follow them and say “oh they just make me feel less alone” but realistically I felt as though they allowed me to justify my behaviour.
What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have any plans to tour when restrictions are lifted?
Oh my gosh yes! As soon as the world opens back up again, people can expect a list of live shows from me all being well! Until then, I’ll still be doing my monthly online shows via Stageit.com.
Any final comments?
Just thank you so much for your time and thanks so much to everyone for their love and support on this record!
Thanks to Janet Devlin for taking the time to talk to us!
Confessional is available to download and stream via Insomnia Music Records. My Confessional is available to purchase, published through Omnibus Press.
What do you think of Janet Devlin’s new album? Be sure to let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix today!
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can seek help and advice from the following organisations:
Beat eating disorders – https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/
Drinkaware – https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Papyrus – https://papyrus-uk.org/
Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk/