ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ISSUE 16 OF HEART EYES MAGAZINE (page 35).
Hi Janet! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat! Where does this interview find you?
Not a bother! It finds me on the outskirts of London, preparing for my last online shows of the year.
You’ve released a great deal of Christmas music, so I’m assuming you celebrate the holiday. Any special plans for this time of year? What does a Devlin family Christmas look like?
I do indeed. I don’t have any special plans this year. My head is going to be planted in a book revising from my theory driving test! The day itself is rather simple. My family and I will attend mass the night before, where I’ll sing a few hymns for my local congregation. We wake up early on Christmas day and open presents together. Have a massive family breakfast. Everyone branches off to visit relatives, call friends etc. We then have our dinner around 4pm – with copious amounts of food and crackers for, well, the craic! In the evening [we] usually sit down and watch a movie together, play monopoly or go visit some more family.
For those who aren’t as familiar with your history as an artist, walk me through your journey up to this point. You competed on The X Factor UK in 2011. How have you grown as an artist since then? Do you still get nervous performing?
I would very much like to think that I’ve grown as an artist, yes. Well, the pain point of growth would have to be actually releasing original music, as I hadn’t done so before the show. I believe that I’ve also grown as a performer too. Because yes, I still get nervous; however, it’s not to the same degree. When I was younger my nerves derived from a place of self-hatred and lack of self-belief. A few years ago I started to work really hard at accepting myself and being kind to myself. Since then, my nerves have become much more manageable. As they are less about my capabilities and more about making sure everyone in the audience has a good time and gets their money’s worth!
Most recently, you released “Saint of the Sinners” in November. This seems like a deeply personal project. What inspired it? Did you pull from your own religious background or is it more a social commentary?
The song was inspired by a time of a lot of self-loathing and self-sabotage. Though the track sounds as there is a muse, the track is actually written to me. I grew up very catholic. To this day I still find incredibly [sic] beauty in the language and terminology they use. I wanted to make the most of the part of my past but also, doing it in a respectful manner as this isn’t a religious album at all.
What do you hope your listeners take away from the collection?
That it’s okay to be honest. It’s okay to be flawed, broken or damaged. You can create art from even the most painful and shameful parts of yourself.
Since your time on The X Factor UK, your sound and look have both matured. (As a fellow red-head, I love your hair!) Do these changes signify a new chapter in your life? What’s the next step for you personally and professionally?
Thank you very much! The blonde is only temporary, but it was a reflection of a different point in my life. I moved back to Ireland three months ago with the intention of staying until March. I was born a blonde so it felt odd to bring my “showbiz” persona with the fiery red hair. My next step I suppose will be moving back to London in the spring and preparing for the launch of more songs and subsequently the album and the book!
What can we expect with Confessional?
Honesty bathed in metaphors with a Celtic pop sound.
The X Factor UK seems like a dream come true. What’s your next dream?
My next dream is rather simple really – continue to create and release music. With the dream being that hopefully more people will hear it.