November 14, 2016 Interview – Janet Devlin Talks New Music
While certainly offering more potential, success in the digital age of entertainment is not always easy. Offering outlets for talented artists to be seen and heard, Ireland’s Singer-Songwriter Janet Devlin has used her unique singing voice, personal lyrics, and irresistible charm to become one of the internet’s brightest stars. Having the vision and will to create her own destiny, she has built a massive following that earned her peak UK chart positions with 2014 album Running with Scissors. The best part is, at only twenty-one years of age, she still has so much more room to continue to grow with her reach to prospective audiences. Constantly posting new music online and working very hard, she returns in 2016 with her second holiday themed EP, Little Lights, to brighten up the festive season. Released as of November 4th via Ok! Go Records, Devlin is excited to tell the world why music has given meaning to Christmas for her again.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke was back in December of 2015. You have been quite busy since. Briefly tell us, what are some of the exciting things you have been up to?
Janet Devlin – Oh lord, I have come out with a new song called “Outernet Song.” I am on tour November and December. I have made a lot of music this year, including the Christmas EP. I also did a movie, that is coming out in 2017. There has been a lot, a lot of music making.
CrypticRock.com – You seem to keep yourself very active recording, writing, and publishing music. Is it sometimes a challenge to keep the creative juices flowing so well? And if so, what is something you do when you are having a creative block?
Janet Devlin – I don’t think I have ever experienced a creative block. I think I avoid that in songwriting sessions, I always have my journals and poems. If I go to a session and if my brain is not wanting to create that day, at least in my book I have lyrics, poetry, and things that are pre-written. This way, I can still leave a session with a song and still be happy with it.
CrypticRock.com – That is a positive thing. You have always been very active in writing down ideas in your journals. Inspiration is all around us. Where do you often find your biggest inspiration when it comes to songwriting?
Janet Devlin – As per usual, it is all about it because I am a solo artist. There is a song on the Christmas EP that I did not write about myself. I wrote about a fake story I created in my brain, and that was fun. Everything is just normally my life. I have a lot of loving to do and I do a lot of it. I write about my own experiences and things I feel. That is probably why I don’t get writer’s block because I am always writing about what happened today and what actually goes on in my real life.
CrypticRock.com – That makes it very personal for listeners. You recently released a track called “Outernet Song.” Could you tell us a bit of the story behind this track?
Janet Devlin – I started writing the song when I was 19. I suppose that is why that would be why some if it is a little bit ranty. It talks about a lot of things because it starts out as a social commentary but then it turns introspective. It doesn’t really have a common thread. The third verse is very introspective because it talks about the online abuse I have received myself. There are a lot of topics in it. In the end, it goes back to not being introspective and talking about how we should all love ourselves. It all goes back to that point, if everyone woke up tomorrow and weren’t insecure and loved themselves, there would be a lot of industries that go bankrupt, which I find kind of funny. There is so much in it, it is hard to pick a certain verse to talk about.
CrypticRock.com – Well it is very thought-provoking and a fun listen. Clearly the internet, partially social networks, can be a very toxic place. Some of us become devoured by it all, some of us, it does not phase, others want to unplug. How do you approach it?
Janet Devlin – I will hands up say I am addicted to the internet. I can spend all day on my computer. I could easily waste my life away online. Every night, I have to have an hour of no social media, otherwise I would be on my phone 24/7. I make sure I do take a break from it, but it is a detox in the most minor form ever. As for online, I love it, I am not going to lie. I do get people being mean, but I am actually quite lucky that the mean comments just go by, I don’t take them that very seriously. In that way, I think it is positive you get online abuses, because it means you have reached more people. Obviously, not everyone is going to like you because you are a human being. Honestly, I wish people wouldn’t do it, but it is a bit pointless. That is their problem, not my own problem.
CrypticRock.com – Understandable. We, as a society, are addicted to the internet. It just seems sometimes it can become a little overwhelming. People will hide behind a screen and be ruthless toward others.
Janet Devlin – Yes, definitely. I was recently in The States and I don’t have connection to the internet unless I am on Wi-Fi. It is very weird because it is just a ritual, you just take out your phone and look at it. I thought, I can’t actually do this and I realize I am so reliant on my mobile phone. It has just become such a habit that everywhere I am pulling out my phone. This song could not be more appropriate to where I am right now (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Back in 2015, you released a really wonderful Christmas EP, called December Daze. You had mentioned you actually were not the biggest fan of Christmas prior. Now you returned on November 4th with another Christmas EP, entitled Little Lights. Is it safe to say you have developed a Christmas spirit?
Janet Devlin – It is a weird one. I am at that age where I don’t have kids and I don’t have Santa Claus in my life. I am in that in between land where Christmas is a bit pointless and I don’t really have a magic about Christmas. That is because I don’t have a purpose. I don’t have kids to please and I don’t have to be good for Santa. I find, because I put the Christmas EP out last year, it gave me a purpose around Christmas time. It gave me something to be excited about around Christmas time, and it was a really nice feeling. So, this year, I decided to make another one.
CrypticRock.com – It is nice to have that Christmas feeling, and having a purpose is essential for that. What is quite wonderful is you offer a new perspective on songs. You are consistently publishing cover versions of some classic tunes, and done some really great ones including The Cure and Joy Division. How do you select the songs you want to cover? Are they personal to you?
Janet Devlin – At the start, they were. I run the channel and I can do what I want really, if I like a song I can cover it. Recently, I have been going to listening to ’80s playlists off Spotify. I played Grand Theft Audio growing up, the soundtracks from those video games were heavily ’80s influences. I know a lot of music from the ’80s, and when I hear a song I think I should really cover it, I like it. If it makes me feel something I will do it. I just really like the song and maybe want to add my own explanation to it. That is why I do them really, they tell a story to me.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. One that really sticks out is your cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” You provide a very different perspective than Ian Curtis’ original rendition. What was it like doing that song?
Janet Devlin – I wanted to do that one for a very long time. Everyone who has watched the video has been very nice about it. But it has not really gotten that much exposure. The sharing on it was really low, but all the comments were very positive, so I assume people liked it. I was a Joy Division fan as a kid and I always loved that song. The lyrics are so beautiful and heart-wrenching. Obviously he sings it the way he does. I felt like it tells a story in my brain and relates to my life in a certain place in time. I thought, “Why don’t I put myself in that position and sing it and put my emotion into the song and see how people enjoy it.” It is one of my favorite ones to do.
CrypticRock.com – Well you do an exceptional job. You actually will be starring in an upcoming short film, called Songbird. What can you tell us about the project?
Janet Devlin – I was approached by a film team. The screenwriter was listening to Spotify, he looked me up, watched my audition, and I suppose he was inspired. He wrote a character actually based on myself. He wrote this screenplay on young Janet so when they were going to cast the film they said who should they get to play Jennifer, and they asked me. I love that they are an Indie film company and their passion. I love what they are putting into this project, it is exactly what I do with my own music, so I thought it would be perfect.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds really compelling and will be exciting to check out. Is acting something that you want to pursue further?
Janet Devlin – I am seeing where this goes. I have to be careful. When I showed up on my rehearsal, I thought, “Can I even act?” (laughs) If it goes well and people think I can do it, I probably will. I enjoyed it, it was really fun, but obviously if I was terrible, I’ll probably not do it.
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) That is very understandable. Acting and performing your own music can be two different things.
Janet Devlin – A lot of singing is method acting in a sense, I have to take myself back to a certain part of my life and get myself into my old shoes. I can see the crossover between acting and music. Although, there are some things that are different, like crying on cue is very different than performing live.
CrypticRock.com – Very good point. Not sure if you recall, but CrypticRock.com covers movies as well. In the past year, has there been any new Horror films that you have enjoyed?
Janet Devlin – Yes, it is not exactly Horror, but The Voices (2014) with Ryan Reynolds. It is so weird. Yes, there is gore, but you are so dumbfounded by just how twisted it is. It is not the gore that gets you, it is just a feeling of what is this actually doing. You just have to watch it, it is amazing.