Quays News sent LIAM SHAW for a chat with Irish singer-songwriter Janet Devlin before she hits Manchester’s Deaf Institute next month on a tour to promote her new Christmas EP.

It’s been five years since Janet Devlin shot to fame on The X Factor, but  two albums and four EPs later she has hit the road again with her latest tour, ‘My Opium’.

She said: “I’m really excited, but I’m really scared to be back on the road! I love it, I just got back from a Norwegian tour, which was just super-duper fun. I love being on the road, I love travelling and playing new places and meeting new people.”

Excitedly, she goes on:

“The UK tour does scare me, because I don’t know why but they’re more terrifying! It makes me more nervous, but that’s good because I have to push myself. I’m just so excited to play my new music to people now though!”

With the tour just round the corner and dates all over the UK, it’s great opportunity for her to gauge people’s reaction to music that she has in the pipeline.

“There’s going to be loads in there from Little Lights, past albums, maybe some new songs that haven’t been released yet. I’m just excited to get out there and play my music, especially when it’s music that I write myself.”

Her latest EP ‘Little Lights’ has just been released as well, which can be seen as a follow up to last year’s festive release ‘December Daze’ since this time she tries to capture a different sense of Christmas.

“I listened to December Daze back with my family last Christmas and I realised that I’d missed out a lot of moods. So I decided that I’d write a few songs over Christmas and wanted to show that it isn’t all wrapping paper and Eggnog.”

“So there’s a break up song in there, because getting dumped over Christmas is pretty terrible but I also had this overwhelming attitude for my parents and what they do at Christmas so I wrote ‘Merry Xmas Mum and Dad’. They always make the festive period the most magical time and didn’t want to take credit for it so this is my way of saying thank you and I love you”.

She also worked with Sally Herbert, who has previously worked with Florence and the machine and also wrote the string score for the critically acclaimed film The Martian, and Grammy nominated producer Graeme Pleeth who is on the panel for the Ivor Novello awards.

“For the whole EP [we worked with Sally] who is the bomb string arranger and she killed it. It was my first time getting an arranger in and we got a quartet to perform. It was amazing and great to sit back and go this is a song that I wrote and I’ve got an arranger in to perform the strings on it.”

“Working with Graeme was amazing too, sheet music is his second language so having both him and Sally in the room together was just wow! It was overwhelming in the sense of thanking the universe for being able to do it, but an amazing opportunity.”

The tracks on the album aren’t all original though, Devlin also features two covers of the Christmas classics ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and ‘White Christmas’ with her own “mellow Janet vibe”.

“When I think of Christmas I either think of The Pogues or Slade and I remember when I was young, seeing Slade come on TV and my Dad singing along and I also wanted to put my own spin on the track because it was such a big part of my childhood Christmas.

From speaking to her, it’s obvious how much her fans mean to her telling me that she stays in regular contact with fans that continue to support her, you only need to visit her Twitter feed to see that this is true.

As a result she regularly performs online gigs that people can watch from the comfort of their home if they can’t make it down to one her live shows.

“I started them around three years ago, and in the beginning it was really bizarre because it’s still a show but I’m just performing to a webcam and chat box, but now it’s great because I’ve managed to form an online community of people who are just so kind and loving.”

There’s a new album in the works as well, she’s not giving too much away at the moment but she can tell us that ‘Holy Water’ is the working title. Until then though fans will have to make do with the tour and the new music that it will bring.

By Liam Shaw



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