BtS interviews with UK indiepop singer/songwriter Janet Devlin
by Michelle Turk
Behind the Scene Press: I was listening to your commentary on how you went about writing “Outernet” on Youtube. You mentioned how you had a disappointing gig on Halloween and how you were glad you were able to write that part of the lyrics because your gig was awful. What advice about staying positive do you give to other singer/songwriters and musicians who are struggling with live gigs?
Janet Devlin: The thing with live gigs is that you can never fully prepare yourself for them. There are so many incidentals that can occur but what I've found is that if you've done your part; rehearsing as much as you can and putting on the best show you possibly could, then that is all you can do. It can be a really sinking feeling when you do a show that doesn't live up to your expectations but it only helps turn you into a more well rounded performer. It's really all about doing your best and sometimes accepting that your best isn't for everyone. So you've got to respect yourself and your art enough to keep moving forward.
BtS: What is your set list usually like on tour and what songs are your favorite to perform?
Janet: It has varied from tour to tour. I have a lot more original works now in comparison to when I did my first headline tour in 2013. I do like to keep it as fresh as possible by doing as much recent material as possible and also covering a few things people wouldn't have heard me do before. Recently my favourites have been from my first album "Running with Scissors". It seems that everyone knows all the words to all of the tracks from there so it's always a good sing along in the room!
BtS: Women being bombarded by impossible beauty standards by the media isn’t something new, but as you’ve made listeners aware that the internet has made this even more harsh and impossible. Many young women want to put out more content- from videos of them playing music to makeup tutorials to cooking. Your suggestion with your song is to take a brief break. What do you do to meet new people so they could hear your music, on and off the internet?
Janet: I'm really bad at self promotion. It comes from my upbringing. We were raised to never boast or say the things that we were good at in case anyone thought we were egotistical or big headed. I try to upload a variation of content on my YouTube channel so that I could possibly reach people who haven't heard of my music. As for the Outernet, I do sometimes struggle to even tell people what I do so I need to get better at that aha!
BtS: Your video for “Outernet” is so much fun to watch with all the different costumes next to the thought provoking lyrics. Could you tell us more about how the concept for the video came about? What was the most fun part of creating the video?
Janet: The concept was just something I'd always seen in my mind when I was listening to the song. So it only took a few logistical questions and budgeting questions to make it all work. I'd already worked with the guys from Silvertip Films before so it was really just a phone call to see if they could do it! I think the most fun came from being on the set. Everyone I worked with was so lovely and understood that we needed to keep the energy in the room all day for the characters to work. It was just a really enjoyable day on set with a lot of laughing and joking around so it would be hard not to enjoy yourself!
BtS: You were on the X Factor and originally auditioned back in 2011. How many people do you think were there that you performed in front of that day? You were very young at that time. What knowledge have you gained since 2011 that has been the most valuable to you?
Janet: I think there was around 6,000 people there that day, it was in the echo arena in Liverpool. I've learnt so much about the industry, preforming and about myself. Being an independent artist I've learnt a lot about making merch, music, touring and creating content, all on humble budgets. The most valuable piece of information for me has been that if you be yourself and make the art that you want to make then you can never come unstuck because it is 100% true to who you are.
BtS: Your poetry videos are so moving. Do you think you’d ever release a spoken word album of your poetry or perhaps throw more spoken word tracks into your albums?
Janet: I wouldn't say no to the idea! I do prefer just writing the poetry and letting people read it instead of speaking it aloud all the time. I think it gives the reader a chance to reflect it more upon there own lives. Putting some spoken word on my albums would be a pretty cool thing to do! Most of my songs come from my poetry books so it would be nice to pay homage to some of the poems that never made it to a sonic form.
BtS: You’re releasing a Christmas record. You noted that Christmas isn’t all eggnog and tinsel and that there are a range of emotions that come with the holiday. “Merry Christmas Mum & Dad” is about how appreciative you are of your parents. Do they know about this piece or will it be a present to them?
Janet: My parents know that I've written the song but they have yet to hear it! I wanted it to be their Christmas present for this year! In all honesty I'm a little scared to hear their reactions even though I know it'll be positive. For some reason I've just held of playing it for them properly. The song is something that I've always wanted to say to them but never could so that's probably why I'm a little hesitant about playing it to them!
BtS: What have you been listening to a lot of recently? What songs would you recommend to listeners?
Janet: I've been listening to the new Bon Iver album on loop a lot recently! It's such a beautiful record. All of his music I really love so I've been listening to his entire catalogue. I would recommend him to everyone!