Talented X-Factor Star Janet Devlin
talks to us before heading off to join the rest of the contestants on the X-Factor Tour.
Seventeen-year-old Gortin teenager, Janet Devlin hit the headlines when she performed for her place on the X-Factor in front of the judging panel who included music heavyweights, Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos.
Janet left her studies behind to pursue her dreams of a career in music when she got through the rigorous X-Factor audition process, making it on to the live shows, where she narrowly lost out on a place in the semi-finals after ending up in the bottom two against fellow contestant Misha B.
Janet’s journey wasn’t an easy one as she learnt to deal with her new fame and she also tragically lost her grandfather prior to her performance on week two of the show, which she dedicated to his memory.
However, with the support of her mother Tricia, father Aquinas and older brothers, Aaron, Jason and Gavin, Janet has certainly made a name for herself in the music industry with her distinctive voice, and with contract offers in the pipeline this new, local talent has a bright future ahead of her.
Janet, what have you been up to since X-Factor finished?
I have been doing gigs in England and Scotland, chilling, meeting up with friends, doing interviews and I also treated myself to a holiday in Amsterdam.
When does the X-Factor Tour kick-off?
The tour starts on 25th February and I’ll be performing at The Odyssey in Belfast on 10th and 11th March. I’ve got two songs, everyone has two and then Little Mix and Marcus have a few more each to perform. I can’t wait to get back on stage performing and to meet up and spend time with all of the other contestants again.
Which of the contestants are you closest to?
Marcus and Craig were my best friends in the house and I also keep in touch with Sami and Johnny.
Do you come from a musical background?
No, not really. There is no one else in the family who has sung and it wasn’t like there was music playing continuously in the house or anything. All I know is that I was happiest growing up listening to music and this resulted in me wanting a singing career. Although when I told my mum I wanted to be a singer, she said she was glad but really it probably wasn’t a realistic career.
Have your parents been supportive as you have pursued your dream?
As a child I entered singing competitions and they indulged me, but I never won anything. It was actually my mum who encouraged me to send in an audition tape to the X-Factor. Previously I‘d been making You Tube videos, so I thought I would put one of them forward. There are no auditions in Northern Ireland, so I sent on the video, with the view that I had nothing to lose by sending it in. I was selected and went on to the televised auditions and you know the rest from here. I know mum, dad and the whole family are really proud of all I have achieved and hopefully I can continue to make them proud. They’ve had a lot to deal with through this whole experience as well and I really appreciate all they do for me.
What do your older brothers make of it all?
(Laughing) It gives them a good chat up line!
Did you realise how much support you had back home in Northern Ireland?
I didn’t fully know the support that was out there. Living and performing in London, every Saturday it was all of the UK contestants who had the majority of supporters, so it wasn’t until I came home that I realised the extent of the support I had back here. When I went to turn the lights on in Omagh at Christmas it was surreal and amazing to see all of the people that turned out for the event.
How would you sum up your time on the X-Factor?
Amazing! It was a really huge experience. I never dreamed that I would get through to the live shows and as far as I did.
What was the high point of the X-Factor for you?
Florence and the Machine’s performance on the Sunday elimination show was definitely the best part for me.
Were there any low points?
I found the publicity hard to deal with and there was a lot of pressure from this especially when you are working so hard everyday preparing for the weekend’s live show. We also had to deal with cameras in the house 24/7. While some people perform better under pressure I’m not like that. I get really scared and stumble a lot, which unfortunately showed up in some of my live performances.
What was it like working with Kelly Rowland?
I listened to Destiny’s Child as a kid and I always loved their music and thought they looked so gorgeous, so it was a mixture of shock and happiness once I found out that Kelly was to be my mentor. Kelly was great, even though she was releasing a new album, she spent a lot of time with us and really did her best for us all. I was so glad to have her as my mentor.
Have you got a record contract in the pipeline?
I’m still contracted to Syco until the tour is over. If they don’t want to work with me then I am free to look at other record deals. There are a few deals on the table, so the future is very exciting, but it doesn’t all seem real yet.
When you release your first album what can we expect from you?
I’m not really sure yet. I do like various sounds, but it won’t be computerised noise like most of the Top 40.
Who inspires you musically?
Devendra Banhart. If someone referred to me as a female version of Devendra I would be over-the-moon. He sings his songs partly in Spanish and partly in English. His sound is really unique and beautiful. There is no one in the mainstream at the minute who has had any real influence on me. For feeling and emotion in music I do like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I grew up listening to them and the Foo Fighters.
Apart from listening to music, how do you like to unwind?
Sleep, sleep and more sleep! I love slouching in my pyjamas and just chilling out. Although I also like horse-riding which is probably the most energetic I get!
Your fashion sense also received attention, have you picked up any tips from your time on the X-Factor?
Other than affording me to be able to buy a few more bits and pieces my style hasn’t really changed. Basically I’ve always tended to go for the ugliest clothes in the shop because I like to be different. I don’t follow fashion trends or anything and I do a lot of my shopping online. I did get clothes sent to me when I was on the show, but a lot of the stuff I didn’t wear - particularly the dolly dresses I received! Currently I couldn’t live without my studded Ragged Priest Levi shorts - I love them.
Also your hair makes a bit of a statement, do you change the colour often?
When I auditioned my hair was dark blonde. I’m naturally blonde. I dyed it copper for the live shows, I’ve had it dark and now this purple shade. I suppose I do like to change my hair colour to suit my mood.
Do you have a boyfriend at the moment?
Yes, I’ve been dating Brendan Sally for over a year. He came to all of the live shows and while I won’t see him while I’m on tour, he does plan to move over to London with me.
So, once the X-Factor tour is over you won’t be coming back home to live in Gortin?
No, I’ll be moving to London after the tour. I will miss home, but I do love London and realistically I do have to be there to pursue my music career. It’s strange how you take where you live for granted, but having spent time away from home I now really appreciate how pretty the countryside is where I live and Gortin will always be my home wherever I end up.