Sinéad O’Connor: biography
The popular Irish musician Sinéad O’Connor took people’s attention thanks to her strong voice and unusual manner of singing. However, she has also been involved in many scandals which only triggers fans’ interest and encourages them to know about the woman more.
Childhood and youth
The future singer was born in December 1966 in the suburbs of Dublin, Ireland. The girl’s childhood could hardly be called happy. When Sinéad turned eight, the parents divorced. Following the mother’s will, O’Connor entered a Catholic school but showed little interest in the studies; she was expelled soon. Later, new ordeals came: she was caught shoplifting. O’Connor was sent to Magdalene Asylum, the educational-correctional institution of a nunnery type.
Singing was breathing hole for Sinéad: she tried to divert her attention from problems and threw herself in art. The family heard the girl sing at some relatives’ wedding: she performed “Evergreen” by Barbra Streisand.
When O’Connor was 15, Paul Byrne noticed her talent. At that moment, the man was the drummer of the group In Tua Nua. The band “took custody” of the beginning singer and made her the lead vocalist. Later, the young woman showed her songwriter’s abilities and became the co-author of the first single, “Take My Hand”.
Sinéad could not combine school studies and concerts. She preferred music and quitted school without getting the primary education.
At 18, Sinéad learned the news about her mother’s death: the woman died in a car crash. In her later interviews, the musician confessed that there was no warmth between the mother and the daughter.
Frequent performances in cafés gave Sinéad the opportunity to improve her keyboard playing and vocal techniques. Besides, she went to a musical college.
When the beginning singer turned 18, she moved to London and signed a contract with Ensign Records. The young woman debuted the next year with the soundtrack for the movie Captive. However, the company refused to release the first album, so the singer tried to do that on her own.
In 1987, the debuting album came out; the singer had to re-record it completely. The Lion and the Cobra embraced many genres from the traditional folk to the impulsive punk rock.
The artist bet on the first songs and won. Soon after the release, critics and the audience praised the tracks; the next year, it became number 36 in Billboard 200. All local radio stations were broadcasting Sinéad’s songs; one of them, “Mandinka,” was included in the top 20 dance hits in the United States.
The second album was presented in 1990. By that time, O’Connor had already become the iconic figure: Americans viewed her as a superstar and predicted her future would be brilliant. Indeed, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got met everyone’s expectations. Sinéad gained the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” was the most popular song of this album. Originally, this work was performed in 1985 by The Family; the American musician Prince Rogers Nelson wrote it. Sung by the talented artist, this song turned into the great hit and kept the leading positions in American music charts. One can see Sinéad’s close-ups in the music video for this song: the woman shows various emotions.
Later, the singer presented other music videos: "The Foggy Dew,” “Tears from the moon,” “Jealous,” “No Man's Woman,” and so on.
The next albums did not bring equal success. Critics expressed restrained opinions about the 1992 album Am I Not Your Girl? The woman left show business for a while, came back to her native town, and studied theater and opera for some period. Two years later, the singer returned to the stage and presented the fourth album, Universal Mother. Although the audience welcomed it, this work did not reach high positions in Billboard. The next year, O’Connor announced she refused to communicate with the media forever.
In 1997, after the fifth album Gospel Oak EP, the singer dived into religion; at that period, she changed her name to Magda Davitt. Three years later, the artist signed a contract with Atlantic Records and released the album Faith and Courage. 2002 brought another album, Sean-Nos Nua.
The next year, the audience was surprised by the woman’s decision to live the world of music: Sinéad said she was going to devote the time to church and teaching religion; to satisfy her need of singing, she was going to join a church choir. Still, the artist could not give up music completely: in 2003-2012, five new albums came out.
Sinéad O’Connor’s personal life has been full of romances. The woman has been married four times; she has a daughter and three sons all of which are grown-ups now.
In 1987, the singer married the drummer John Reynolds; the son Jake was born in this marriage. The couple divorced in 1990.
Later on, Sinéad began to date the backup vocalist Hugh Harris and the Irish journalist John Waters. In 1995, O’Connor and Waters’s daughter was born. This relationship did not last long: after the break-up, the parents were fighting for the custody. Finally, the woman agreed that her daughter would live with Waters in Dublin.
In 2001, O’Connor married again: the British journalist Nicholas Sommerlad was her new husband. They spent three years together.
The next relationship brought the third child, the son Shane; the musician Dónal Lunny was the boy’s father. In 2006, the singer gave birth to a boy from Frank Bonadio.
In summer 2010, the singer married for the third time; the spouses divorced in spring 2011. The latter marriage was short: the couple married in December 2011 in Las Vegas and divorced 16 days later. As O’Connor explained, they split up with Barry Herridge because his family and friends did not approve of their union. Still, they had no hard feelings to each other; Sinéad asked the press to avoid meddling in the life of her ex-husband.
Although the musician had many romances with men, in 2000, she came out as a lesbian. Soon, O’Connor gave another interview and admitted she had been hot-headed when she said those words: the woman had affairs with men and women.
There are many public scandals in Sinéad’s career; the fans’ reaction was negative. For example, the artist refused to perform at a concert if the American hymn would be played before; Frank Sinatra was outraged. When the singer was nominated for Grammy, she demanded her name should be excluded from the list.
O’Connor’s appearance also arises interest among fans. The woman began to have her head shaved in her youth; today, she remains true to that image. The attempts to grow her hair failed: according to Sinéad, she feels uncomfortable with long hair.
In October 2018, O’Connor announced she converted to Islam and changed to name to Shuhada' Davitt. Since that moment, the artist has posted several photos in social networks where she is wearing a hijab; the woman says she is happy.
Sinéad had been fighting long depression; in 2017, she posted a video on her Facebook page and told followers she had a mental disorder. Indeed, the media also presented the information that the woman had some issues.
The musician’s religious beliefs changed long ago. The majority of the population in her home country are Catholics. In 1999, Sinéad became a priest of a reformist Catholic movement, but she disappointed in it later because of scandals related to pedophile Catholic priests. Thus, began to criticize this faith.
Sinéad’s conversion seems to have a positive effect on O’Connor. In August 2018, the singer recorded “Milestones,” the first single after a four-year pause. Today, she is working on the new album, No Mud No Lotus, which is going to be released in October 2019.
- 1987 – The Lion and the Cobra
- 1990 – I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
- 1992 – Am I Not Your Girl?
- 1994 – Universal Mother
- 1997 – Gospel Oak EP
- 1997 – So Far... the Best of Sinéad O'Connor
- 2000 – Faith and Courage
- 2002 – Sean-Nos Nua
- 2003 – She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty
- 2005 – Collaborations
- 2005 – Throw Down Your Arms
- 2007 – Theology
- 2012 – How about I Be Me (And You Be You)?