Bless me, she's back! Janet Devlin makes a full confession in her new album. Laid bare, it's a full frontal take on the dark side of a decade in the fast lane.
The girl from Gortin has come a long way this past decade. Only sweet sixteen when she came fifth in the 2011 X-Factor, she had by the end of the series endeared herself to a nation with her ethereal voice and other-worldly looks. A lot has changed this since then and Janet Devlin has had to mature faster than most.
This is her ‘Confessional’. Those tumbling Celtic curls remain, but the child has changed, changed utterly. That baptism of fire into the music industry wouldn’t be easy for the toughest of individuals, but it was Janet’s gentle, sensitive, and even vulnerable interpretations on X-Factor that engaged her to the masses. Then thrown to the lions, the ensuing years would see this young woman battling alcoholism, mental health issues, hitting highs, and plummeting to terrible lows.
Those highs included signing for the Dalai Lama, performing to over 80,000 at Croke Park and even having Courtney Love insist that she was a distant relative of Kurt’s, although there is no evidence for this claim.
It is tantamount to her strength of character, grit and determination that she rode the waves and battled those demons – so that by the age of 25 she’s come out the other side.
‘Confessional’ – her second full album – is an out-pouring of grief, emotional pain and full proof that she’s all grown up. It is a beautiful album; of that there is no doubt. There’s even a book to accompany the release – titled ‘My Confessional’ – both featuring Devlin in red-haired goddess style on the cover.
She writes in the foreword to the book:
My broken brain has taken me to dark places both in my own head and the real world. I genuinely hope that ‘My Confessional’ does not personally resonate with you and that you’ve not been to the same hell that I’ve come to call home, but if you have, let my life be proof that it all works out in the end.
Kicking off with the excellent ‘Confessional’ and ending with ‘Better Now’, there’s a sense of a narrative with a beginning, middle and end, covering the darkest days, the learning, and – ultimately – emergence from it all.
Making her own mark, firmly establishing her own stamp, ‘Confessional’ is interspersed with the sound of ‘home’ and traditional Irish twists and turns; the spiritual impact of her Irish upbringing examined in ‘Holy Water’, ‘Sweet Sacred Friend’ and references to her upbringing, childhood, the loss of innocence, and references to mental health such as in ‘Away with the Fairies’, as they’d say in Ireland.
Beautifully executed, a demonstration of maturity, strength, courage, wisdom, and survival, we commend Janet Devlin’s ‘Confessional’ to you.