If watching X Factor is your guilty pleasure then you’ll remember Janet Devlin. She came to prominence in the eight series, alongside Little Mix. She had a unique voice and style that seemed different from the typical acts on the show.
The audience warmed to her personality and talent, meaning she topped the public vote more times than any other act that season and was tipped as a potential winner. However, she was voted off after her mentor, Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child, refused to chose between two of her protegees.
One unexpected consequence of being instantly shot to fame was coming to the attention of Courtney Love, who claimed that Devlin was distantly related to Kurt Cobain!She publicly offered Devlin the option of singing a Nirvana song on the show if she wanted to! Devlin also got to work with prominent musicians like Newton Faulkner in the years after the series.
Devlin’s back with two strong videos. Most recently, she headed to YouTubeSpace in London to strip down to gold paint and glitter, alternated with petals, for a striking conceptual video.
The inspiration for the song Honest Men came from viewing her own experiences through the lens of Greek philosopher Diogenes, who was known for criticizing Plato, sleeping in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace, and carrying a lamp in the daytime on the search for an honest man!
Devlin explained that the song poured out of her in under an hour while suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder: “I began singing the darkest lyrics over the top of this beautiful melody that was emerging from my little uke. That juxtaposition of light and shade inspired me…It really captured a moment and a lot of meaning is contained in in this track!”
She’s not content with shining a light on others. She previous exposed her own guilty secrets with the song Confessional. As we’ve been focusing on videos recently here at Music Closeup, we were particularly impressed with the use of space, angles and perspective to convey the sense of surveillance, vulnerability and claustrophobia within a confessional booth.
The song foregrounds Devlin’s Irish heritage with uilleann pipes, accordion, fiddles, bodhrán, cow’s ribs, whistles and drums backing her voice.
“If it doesn’t sound like an obvious single, it’s because it’s not meant to. It’s a glimpse of what’s to come. I’ve essentially created a concept album, everything is on the table and laid bare,” Devlin explained.
Devlin’s concept album Confessional, centred on honesty and reconciliation, which is due out in May 2020, is set to be accompanied by an autobiography, My Confessional. You can expect it to clarify some of the difficult experiences that led to this distinctive singer having such a distinctive worldview for one still so young. Keep an eye on her website for details.