Sinead O'Connor: A singer who was both loved and controversial

Sinead O’Connor dies followed her journey to fame and private struggles. The four-time Grammy winner openly discussed mental health challenges and publicly criticized the Catholic Church, confirmed by loved ones at 56.

Sinead O’Connor: Her journey in the music industry

Sinead O'Connor: A singer who was both loved and controversial

Her iconic combination of rage and tenderness showed in her shaved head, doe eyes, and a single tear rolling down her pale face. Haunting vocals in the video for “Nothing Compares 2 U” overshadowed the Prince original, exuding genuine passion.

Her second album, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,” propelled stardom with worldwide success. Winning a Grammy the next year, she boldly spoke against the industry’s exploitation, skipping the event.

Sinead O’Connor has methods were inflexible and hard to ignore. She defied the music industry’s demands, gaining fame for personal turmoil and expressive music. In the 2017 documentary “Nothing Compares,” she stated, “Every person’s duty is to act on feelings and speak up.”

Sinead O’Connor: Her upbringing was traumatic

Born in Glenageary, County Dublin, in 1966, the fifth of five children, her upbringing was traumatic. Her relationship with her mother, Marie, to whom she dedicated “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was fraught, with Marie physically abusing her. Marie’s death in a 1985 vehicle accident added to her struggles. Sent to a Magdalene institution at 15 for stealing and truancy, she recognized her musical abilities and drew inspiration from artists like Bob Dylan and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

In 1987, her debut album, “The Lion And The Cobra,” achieved critical success. Over the years, she released ten studio albums, contributed to film soundtracks, yet “Nothing Compares 2 U” defined her fame.

In defiance of her 2003 retirement announcement, she persisted in creating albums. Her latest work, “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss,” was released in 2014, and she also lent her voice to the theme of Outlander’s seventh season.

O’Connor was notoriously divisive, refusing to perform in New Jersey if the Star-Spangled Banner played in 1990. During her 1992 Saturday Night Live appearance, she caused an uproar by tearing up a portrait of Pope John Paul II, voicing criticism of the Catholic Church’s child abuse problem before it was public.

Struggles with bipolar disorder

In 2010, she publicly declared her conversion to Islam, four years after using the name Sinead O’Connor professionally. Known for candidly discussing struggles with bipolar disorder and four marriages, one lasting only 16 days in 2011.

In 2022, after son Shane committed himself, she tweeted, “no point living without him”. She was subsequently hospitalized for mental health challenges.

“Rememberings,” her book published in 2021, features the cover with her famously shorn head. “Growing Up Sinead,” a film directed by Kathryn Ferguson, debuted in 2022. This film exploring the impact of O’Connor’s bravery and willingness to address uncomfortable yet necessary discussions through her art on a generation.

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