Janet Devlin

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Janet Devlin
Birth nameJanet Maureen Aoife Devlin
Born (1994-11-12) 12 November 1994 (age 25)
Gortin, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
GenresPop, folk
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, drums, ukulele
Years active2011–present
  • Insomnia Music
  • Ok good records
  • Absolute
Associated actsEliot Kennedy, Newton Faulkner, Joshua Radin, Ethan Ash, Jack Savoretti, Gareth Emery

Janet Maureen Aoife Devlin (born 12 November 1994)[1] is an Irish singer-songwriter[2], who rose to prominence in the eighth series of The X Factor in 2011 where she finished in fifth place.

Devlin's debut album was launched in October 2012 via PledgeMusic with a limited "pledgers only" release on 1 July 2013.[3] It received general release as Running With Scissors, with new songs and reworked tracks on 9 June 2014.

She has continued to release a number of EPs and singles, and is set to release her new album Confessional in the spring of 2020.

Early life and education[edit]

Devlin is the youngest of four children to Aquinas and Pat Devlin and has three elder brothers: Jason, Gavin and Aaron. Prior to entering The X Factor, she lived with her parents and brothers in Gortin, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. She attended an Irish language pre-school,[4] and later attended Drumragh Integrated College where she completed her GCSE's.[5]

Courtney Love has stated in interviews that she believes Janet and her family to be distant relatives of Kurt Cobain,[6] though Devlin has stated that she is unaware of any connection. Devlin's only performing experience before auditioning for The X Factor was singing in her school, pubs and local talent shows. She had uploaded a number of videos of her singing to her official channel on YouTube.[7] [check quotation syntax]


2011: The X Factor[edit]

In 2011, Devlin auditioned for the eighth series of The X Factor.[8] Her audition was screened on 20 August 2011, where she performed Elton John's "Your Song".[9] Her audition was successful as all four judges, Louis Walsh, Tulisa, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow, put her through to the next round. She performed Coldplay's "Fix You" in week 1 of the live shows and was put through to the next round by mentor Kelly Rowland, as there was no public vote in the first week. Devlin topped the public vote more times than any other act, receiving the most public votes for the first four weeks of voting (weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5)[10][11] and reached the quarter-final before ending up in the bottom two with Misha B. She was voted off by Walsh and Tulisa with Rowland refusing to vote. However voting statistics revealed that Devlin received more votes than Misha B meaning if the result went to deadlock, Devlin would've advanced to the semi-final and Misha B would've been eliminated. Devlin's song in the sing off was "Chasing Cars". During the live shows, Courtney Love tweeted Simon Cowell to offer to give Devlin one of Nirvana's tracks for the show.[12] This, however, did not transpire.

The X Factor Performances[edit]

     – Received the most public votes
     – Denotes having been in the bottom 2
Show Song choice Theme Result
Audition "Your Song"[13] Free choice Through to Bootcamp
Bootcamp 1 "Breakeven" Bootcamp challenge Through to Bootcamp 2
Bootcamp 2 "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Free choice Through to Judges' houses
Judges' houses "Beautiful" Free choice Through to live shows
"Cosmic Love"
Live show 1 "Fix You" Britain vs America Saved
Live show 2 "Can't Help Falling in Love" Love and Heartbreak Safe (1st)
Live show 3 "Sweet Child o' Mine" Rock Safe (1st)
Live show 4 "Every Breath You Take" Halloween Safe (1st)
Live show 5 "I Want You Back" Club classics Safe (1st)
Live show 6 "Somebody to Love" Lady Gaga vs. Queen Safe (2nd)
Live show 7 "Kiss Me" Movies Safe (3rd)
Quarter-Final "MMMBop" Guilty pleasures Bottom two (4th)
"Under the Bridge" Heroes
Final showdown (Quarter-Final) "Chasing Cars" Save me song Eliminated

Soon after being eliminated from The X Factor, Devlin performed some gigs at various venues throughout the UK. One of these was the renowned G-A-Y venue on Saturday, 3 December 2011.[14][failed verification] Finishing fifth, she was one of nine acts to perform on the X Factor Live Tour 2012, which took place in cities throughout the UK and Ireland.[15] She performed fan favourite cover songs, 'Fix You' and 'Sweet Child o' Mine'.[16]

2012–13: Hide & Seek[edit]

It was reported that Devlin had received at least three offers of a recording contract.[17] Within hours of leaving the show Devlin had been offered a recording contract by RKA Records, a record company partly owned by Dragons' Den star and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne.[18]

Following the X Factor Live Tour, Devlin began work on her debut album at Steelworks Recording Studios, Sheffield. She was first in the recording studio on 28 May 2012, where she wrote and recorded three songs ('Crown of Thorns',[19] 'Thinking Back Yesterday'[20] and 'Who Am I Today?'[21]) with Grammy Award and Ivor Novella Award-winning producer Eliot Kennedy[22] and his team. The song "Crown of Thorns", which was one of the first she wrote, with Jim Jayawardena and Philippa Hanna (of Kennedy's Steelworks team), quickly became an addition to her live sets at gigs.[23]

Devlin has written all of her songs, usually with one co-writer, for inclusion on her debut album. She has written with songwriters Joe Janiak, Helen Boulding[24] and Ethan Ash.[25] She has also written potential tracks for her debut release with songwriters including the Faulkner brothers, Toby and Newton Faulkner,[26] Joshua Radin[27] and Jack Savoretti.[28] In 2013, Devlin stated in interviews that she had written around 25 songs and would continue to write more songs to have the best possible finished album.[29] On 26 October 2012, she debuted two new, live edition, songs on her YouTube channel. They were "Wonderful" which was co-written with Newton Faulkner and the aforementioned "Crown of Thorns".[30]

Devlin's debut album was launched on Pledge Music, including a chance to record backing vocals with her[31] (although that never happened). In December 2012, it was stated that the album would be released in 2013, having reached 45% of the pledge target within the first two weeks.[32] Having reached 100% on New Year's Eve 2012, Devlin began the recording of her album in early 2013. On 26 June 2013, she finished recording the limited release version of her debut album. Hide & Seek was released to pledgers on 1 July 2013.[33] Janet released an exclusive bonus acoustic EP, Nothing Lost, to pledgers on 14 August 2013.[34]

On 25 June 2013, Devlin worked with Newton Faulkner again, providing vocals for his new album project, #studiozoo. She provided backing vocals for 2 tracks as well as lending her voice for more of a featured backing vocal on a track called "Plastic Hearts".[citation needed] A live version of her song "Things We Lost in the Fire" was premiered on her YouTube channel on 6 December 2013.[35]

2014: Running with Scissors[edit]

In early January 2014, Devlin debuted a new live version of her song "Delicate", (written with Jack Savoretti and a new addition to the general release album) performing with Tom Dibb (guitar and vocals), in a BalconyTV session.[36] She won the Balcony TV Global Music Rumble two weeks in a row on 2 and 9 March and again on 23 March.[37][38][39]

Devlin announced in March 2014 that the general release of her debut album, with the new title Running with Scissors would be on 9 June. The album would feature new single "House of Cards" (to be released on 26 May)[40] with 3 other new original songs ("Whisky Lullabies" co written with UK songwriter Tim Jennings, "Lifeboat" and "When You Were Mine"), a cover of The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" and reworked versions of "Delicate" (from the EP Nothing Lost), "Wonderful", "Creatures of the Night", "Things We Lost in the Fire" and "Hide & Seek" from the limited release album Hide & Seek. The reworked version of the song "Hide & Seek" features Newton Faulkner who, along with his brother, co-wrote it with Devlin.[41] On 12 October 2015, Devlin announced she would be using Pledge Music again to launch her preorder of her Christmas EP December Daze. She was featured on Shy and Drs "Beautiful to Me" which was released on 13 November as the official song for Anti Bullying Week 2015.[42] She recently has been featured on Gareth Emery's new album, 100 Reasons to Live, released 31 March 2016. The song "Lost" is a remix of her song "Things We Lost in the Fire".[43]

2015-2018: EPs & singles[edit]

Since the release of Running with Scissors, Janet released a number of EPs and singles. I Lied To You was released in December 2018; a very personal, soul-searching baring of emotion, which ignited conversations on social media about the challenges young people face in today’s society.[44]

2019-present: Confessional[edit]

Janet is completing her next studio album, entitled Confessional. She released two tracks already, the titular track "Confessional"[45] and most recently "Saint of the Sinners".



Devlin is heavily influenced by alternative artists including City and Colour, John Frusciante, Nirvana and Devendra Banhart.[46] She also notes[47] the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a favourite band.


In 2012, Devlin performed at Croke Park, in front of a capacity 82,300 crowd, as part of the half-time show for the All Ireland Gaelic Football final on 23 September. She performed a cover of 'Fix You' and one of her self-penned original songs 'Walk Away'.[26] She performed at the X Factor NSPCC Childline Ball on 18 October, again singing her original song 'Walk Away' and 'Fix You' by Coldplay, helping to raise over half a million pounds for the charity.[48] On 3 November, she performed at Casement Park, as part of the pre-match entertainment, for the Michaela Foundation's charity Gaelic Football match in memory of Michaela McAreavey.[49]

Devlin performed for the Dalai Lama on 18 April 2013 as part of Northern Ireland charity, Children in Crossfire's 'Culture of Compassion' event in Derry.[50] On 12 May 2013, she performed a Pledger only concert at Greystones, Sheffield with a backing band consisting of Roo Walker (guitar, vocals), Jim Jayawardena (keyboard), Doug Harper (drums), Laura Kidd (bass, vocals) and Michael Giverin (mandolin). The second Pledger only concert took place at London's Troubadour on 13 May 2013.[51]

Devlin played 14 dates across the UK and Ireland, with her band, for her 'Imaginarium Tour' in September and October 2013.[52] Her second tour was in December 2014 and named the 'My Delirium Tour'. It had dates across the UK including 2 dates in Northern Ireland. The final stop of the tour was in Devlin's home town of Omagh.[53]

Devlin played 4 gigs in the USA supporting Heffron Drive on their 'Happy Mistakes Unplugged' Tour in early July 2015.[54] She placed second in the 2015 Baltic Song Contest, representing Ireland, in Karlshamn, Sweden in July 2015.[55]


On 11 May 2012, Devlin was given a Civic Reception by the Town Council in Omagh, County Tyrone for her achievements on the X Factor series 8.[56]


Studio albums[edit]

Album title Album details Peak chart positions
UK UK Midweeks UK Indie UK Indie Breakers
Hide & Seek - - - -
Running with Scissors 43[58] 18[59] 8 1
  • Released: Spring 2020
  • Label: Insomnia Music Records
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
- - - -

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
UK Indie Breakers
Nothing Lost -
Duvet Daze
  • Released: 25 January 2015
  • Label: Insomnia Music Records/Absolute
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
December Daze 14
Little Lights
  • Released: 4 November 2016
  • Label: Insomnia Music Records/Absolute
  • Format: CD, Digital Download


Single Year Peak chart position Album
UK UK Indie UK Indie Breakers UK Physical BEL(Fl) tip
"Wonderful" 2013 - 25 3 - - Hide & Seek and Running with Scissors
"House of Cards" 2014 - - - - 34 Running with Scissors
"Creatures of the Night" - - - - - Hide & Seek and Running with Scissors
"Whisky Lullabies" 2015 - - - - - Running with Scissors
"Outernet Song" 2016 - - - 7 - n/a
"I Lied To You" 2018 - - - - - n/a
"Confessional" 2019 - - - 3 - Confessional
"Saint of the Sinners" 2019 - - - 4 - Confessional

As featured artist[edit]

Year Single Peak chart position Remarks
2011 "Wishing on a Star" 1 1 1 Devlin sings as part of The X Factor finalists 2011 featuring JLS and One Direction
2015 "Beautiful to Me"
(SHY & DRS featuring Janet Devlin)
85 39 25
2016 "Lost"
(Gareth Emery featuring Janet Devlin)
- - - Remake of Devlin's song "Things We Lost in the Fire" that was featured on her album Running with Scissors

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"Wishing on a Star"
(The X Factor Finalists 2011
featuring JLS and One Direction)
"Wonderful" 2013 Gary Dumbill[61]
"House of Cards" 2014 Henry Steedman[62]
"Creatures of the Night" 2014 Gary Dumbill[a][63]
"Whisky Lullabies" 2015 Henry Steedman
"December Daze" 2015 Geoff Cockwill
"Outernet Song" 2016 Geoff Cockwill [64]
"I Lied To You" 2018 Lyric video
"Confessional" 2019 Geoff Cockwill [65]


a ^ Illustrated, Animated and Directed


  • The X Factor Live Tour (2012)
  • The Imaginarium Tour (2013)
  • My Delirium Tour (2014)
  • Happy Mistakes: Unplugged Tour (2015)
  • My Opium Tour (2016)


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  4. ^ Eisiúint úr le Janet Devlin i nGaeilgeNós magazine
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  20. ^ My imaginarium | Thinking back yesterday Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
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  59. ^ Official UK Albums Chart http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/kasabian-on-track-for-fourth-uk-number-1-album-with-48-13-3078/
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  65. ^ "Confessional Music Video".

External links[edit]