INTERVIEW | Janet Devlin on Christmas, Cyber Bullies and Unicorns

Don’t mind us, we’re just having a flashback. Last year we spoke to the gorgeous Janet Devlin famed for her Celtic Soul voice on X Factor. We spoke about her Christmas EP, her Twitter (not so much) war with Lord Sugar and why bisexuals in the media are rarer than Unicorns.

CREDIT: Supplied
CREDIT: Supplied

JH: Christmas is on its way, how are excited are you on a scale of one to Madonna?
JD: It is upon us… I’m actually really excited this year, I’m not going to lie. Probably the most excited I’ve been about Christmas since I was a toddler.

JH: Anything to do with the fact that you’ve got an EP out this Christmas?
JD: I think so! The whole point of me making the EP was to try and make myself like Christmas, so I definitely think I’ve achieved that. Every other year I’ve been so grinchy about it, this year. I’m just so pumped about it.

JH: But come on you’re Janet Devlin, you’re too cool for school for all that aren’t you?
JD: I’m not too cool if anything I’m the complete opposite man… I’m a bit of a nerd.

JH: I’m sure you’ve been asked a hundred times, are you watching X factor this year? Has it had its day?
JD: I don’t know, I don’t think so. My Mum still watches it, my Nan still watches it, I don’t think it’s had its day, it’s part of people’s Saturday night ritual isn’t it? You get a take-out and you watch X factor and you have your night in, I don’t think it’s ever going to have its day, to be honest.

JH: There needs to be space for a new type of Christmas number 1 though – right? Like yours?
JD: (laughs) possibly I don’t know.

JH: So tell us what makes your perfect Christmas day?
JD: Chilled, laid back hopefully have my Nan there, we always fight over her, cause everyone wants her to come down and spend it with her on Christmas day, hopefully, we’ll get her this year. We’ve had a new addition to the family; my brother’s just had a baby, so that will be nice. I’m just really easy when it comes to it really. Everyone’s there, everyone has a good time – and a bit of banter, you know?

JH: Are you a banter family?
JD: Yes, definitely I have three older brothers and they just like to rip ya! So it’s definitely good craic at my house.

JH: So what do your family think of your Christmas EP then?
JD: They haven’t heard it, I played one of my brother’s one or two tracks and he really likes it, so that to me is a good sign, so they haven’t heard it but I made them order their copy from Pledge!

JH: So no freebies for the Devlin’s then?
JD: No freebies until I get home.

Janet Devlin
CREDIT: Supplied

JH: When did you start writing your EP?
JD: It was February believe it or not. I was in New York and I was walking through Central Park and it was all snowy and beautiful I was like “this year I’m not going to be a Grinch, I’m actually going to be Christmasy”, so I went back to the hotel with my guitar player and we wrote a Christmas song. Pardon, the pun it all snowballed from there.

JH: Which is your ultimate Christmas song?
JD: Ultimate Christmas song is definitely “Fairy-tale of New York” by the Pogues, every time I hear that it’s like “this is when it’s Christmas”. So I avoid listening to it until Christmas. If me or my brothers hear it on the radio we have to ring the other one, to say “it was on, it’s Christmas!”

JH: Your Christmas song is very John Lewis, would you like your music to be used in that way?
JD: Who wouldn’t? I like their emotional ads!

JH: We’ve heard that you’ve teamed up with Ditch The Label, the anti-bullying charity, why was this important to you?
JD: Well I myself was bullied for a long time, a lot of years actually, I’m not going to lie. I mean I still get cyber bullied but I’m at that age now when I’m just like I don’t really care. I know how it feels, I know how hard it is to be bullied on the Internet and in real life, so for me, I’ve always stayed true to working with anti-bullying campaigns and anti-bullying charities because it’s important to work on it. It’s a good thing too when you understand it and you’ve been there.

JH: Is cyber bullying harder than real life bullying?
JD: I was bullied, even physically at some points, but I do think Internet bullying actually, because if you get hurt physically it’s easier to brush off because you know bruises fade, but Internet bullying is a totally different kettle of fish, people think, “oh you’ve been bullied online why don’t you just shut off your computer, why don’t you just step away from the Internet”, but no, that doesn’t work that way, what people say to you works its way into your head.

JH: Did you get a lot of that on your time on X Factor?
JD: Yeah, I even had mean tweets coming in from bloody Alan Sugar – or Lord Sugar, so I’m pretty used to getting mean things from people.

JH: Did you say mean things back?
JD: No, gosh no. I was asked about it, but what does that show – money can’t buy happiness if you’re giving abuse to a 16-year-old girl on the Internet – why would you do it – you know?

JH: You spoke openly about your sexuality in 2013 and you came out as bisexual on ASK.fm, was it a difficult decision for you to make?
JD: It was a thing in my head, I knew always really. So I didn’t think twice, that was just the way it was. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, what’s the biggie?

JH: So few people come out as bisexual why do you think that is?
JD: Well if you look at the media there’s no such thing as someone who’s bisexual because it’s very black or white, you’re either gay or you’re straight. What’s the difference between a unicorn and a bisexual? One of them is actually portrayed in the media.

JH: Do you think writing bisexual storylines just gets too complicated?
JD: I think it possibly could but, it shouldn’t be. Could people keep up with someone dating a boy and then dating a girl, I don’t know, it’s a tough one. I think it’s easier for some people to think in black and white, to think you’re either gay or your straight, it’s easier – so I think a lot of storyline writers make their life easier by keeping it black and white.

JH: Does it surprise you that Northern Ireland is still so far behind with LGBT rights?
JD: It bugs me and I’m not going to lie. That idea that someone could go to hospital and their loved one might not be able to go and see them, because their not technically their spouse, that to me is just upsetting and not something I want to think about, to be honest.

JH: Do you think that’s something that’s likely to change in Northern Ireland in the coming year? There was recently a vote on same- sex marriage in Northern Ireland and it was largely supported but a technicality meant it didn’t pass –
JD: Yep, I think that’s going to keep happening for quite some time. I think that’s the way it is for at least another couple of years. I think we’ll get there eventually.

JH: Especially when the country that borders Northern Ireland – Ireland – overwhelming has accepted it!
JD: Absolutely, you’d think that the north would be a bit more forward thinking, but not just yet. Most people are (accepting) though when you talk to people, there’s a minority that, I won’t say spoil it, but…

JH: But they do….
JD: No, gosh no. I was asked about it, but what does that show – money can’t buy happiness if you’re giving abuse to a 16-year-old girl on the Internet – why would you do it – you know?

Newsdesk

The news team for THEGAYUK. Got tips? Go to www.thegayuk.com/newsdesk to tell us something.

Newsdesk

Newsdesk

The news team for THEGAYUK. Got tips? Go to www.thegayuk.com/newsdesk to tell us something.