Sinead O'Connor life and biography

Sinead O'Connor picture, image, poster

Sinead O'Connor biography

Date of birth : 1966-12-08
Date of death : 2023-07-23
Birthplace : Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland
Nationality : Irish
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2023-08-14
Credited as : singer and songwriter, Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor death, sinead o'connor children

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Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor, an iconic Irish singer-songwriter, soared to prominence during the late 1980s with her inaugural masterpiece, "The Lion and the Cobra." The world embraced her resounding success in 1990 when she delivered an unforgettable rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U."

Her persona was an intriguing fusion of curiosity, eccentricity, spontaneity, and street smarts. Sometimes understated, yet always bold in her expressions, Sinead O'Connor emerged as an artist of profound contrasts. From her distinctive shaven head to audacious publicity stunts, her personal style and public antics garnered as much attention as her entrancing music and captivating voice throughout her 15-year journey. With boundless talent and a penchant for the unconventional, O'Connor openly declared her aversion to liquor, affinity for marijuana, criticism of the Pope, and even her status as an ordained Catholic priest, albeit by liberal standards.

Born on December 8, 1966, in Dublin, Ireland, O'Connor was the third child of John and Marie O'Connor in a devout Irish Catholic household. Her upbringing adhered to the strict tenets of Catholicism, with her attending Catholic school in her formative years. A pivotal moment arrived at age nine when her parents' divorce left her in profound distress. This marked the onset of a rebellious phase, fueled by a desperate plea for attention from her estranged parents. Her defiance led to expulsion from school and a life on the streets. At just 14, she found herself in police custody for truancy and shoplifting, resulting in a two-year sentence at a juvenile detention center.

Within the confines of the detention center, O'Connor found solace in music and learned to play the guitar, composing her own melodies. Her journey to self-discovery began, punctuated by secret singing contests and performances at local weddings. A serendipitous encounter led her to cross paths with U2, igniting her path to recognition.

Following her release from the detention center, O'Connor embarked on a diverse journey. She attended a boarding school in Waterford, where she secretly sang in taverns during evenings. Despite her underage status, she used her talents to scrape by as a street performer while pursuing vocal and piano studies at the Dublin College of Music. Juggling odd jobs such as waitressing and delivering telegrams, O'Connor's resilience and passion were evident.

In 1985, a turning point emerged when Nigel Grainge of Ensign Records recognized O'Connor's musical potential and signed her. Her collaboration with U2's guitarist, The Edge, on the soundtrack for the film "The Captive" marked a significant milestone. However, conflict arose during the production of her debut album. O'Connor's distinct vision clashed with the producer's Celtic orchestration, prompting her to assert her artistic control. The result was "The Lion and the Cobra," an album that showcased a range of emotions and styles, from the soothing "Just Call Me Joe" to the funky "I Want Your Hands on Me."

Her journey continued with a transition to the Chrysalis label, resulting in the release of her second album, "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." This album propelled her to unprecedented success, with the iconic "Nothing Compares 2 U" solidifying her status as a global sensation. O'Connor's musical evolution persisted, from folk rock in "Universal Mother" to her collaboration with Van Morrison and participation in the Lilith Fair Music Festival.

In 2000, she marked a new era with "Faith and Courage," her debut release on Atlantic Records. The album featured tracks like "Emma's Song," "Daddy I'm Fine," and the deeply introspective "No Man's Woman."

Sinead O'Connor's music captivated the public, but her personal life also stirred intrigue. In 1985, tragedy struck when she lost her mother in a car accident. This heartbreaking event prompted her to openly address child abuse, revealing her own painful experiences with her mother's outbursts. Later in the 1980s, O'Connor's life took another turn as she became involved with one of her backup musicians, drummer John Reynolds. Their relationship led to marriage and subsequent divorce by 1990. In 1996, she welcomed her daughter, Roisin, with newspaper columnist John Waters. Unfortunately, her separation from Waters sparked a prolonged custody battle, culminating in a distressing suicide attempt through a Valium overdose. Although she briefly lost custody of her daughter, she later absconded with her during parental visitation rights, an incident that spanned from Dublin to London. The situation ultimately led to accusations of neglect, which were refuted by British authorities.

O'Connor's actions continued to garner attention. In 1991, she declined participation in the Grammy Awards and rejected her nominations, a stance she upheld through 2000. During a memorable appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, she boldly expressed her views on Catholicism, publicly denouncing the Pope and tearing up his photograph. This incident, sparked by her opposition to the Church's stance on women and children, led to a widespread misinterpretation of her intent.

Following the SNL controversy, O'Connor's focus shifted towards personal growth. She embraced theatrical endeavors, including opera studies, and remained active in the music scene. In 1999, she surprised the world by being ordained a priest of the Catholic Church, adopting the name Mother Bernadette Mary. Her transition into clerical life, however, contradicted her previous criticism of the Pope.

O'Connor's sexual orientation also made headlines. In 2000, she declared herself a lesbian in one interview but then retracted the statement in another, illustrating her unpredictable nature. Despite a period of retirement due to health issues, O'Connor returned with an array of projects, including the reggae album "Throw Down Your Arms."

Throughout her life, O'Connor experienced a series of marriages. Her first union was with music producer John Reynolds, with whom she had a child. Her second marriage, to journalist Nicholas Sommerlad, occurred in 2002. Following that, she had a relationship with Frank Bonadio, with whom she had a child. Her fourth marriage was to therapist Barry Herridge, but it ended just 17 days later.

Sinead O'Connor's journey has been marked by her unapologetic individuality, artistic evolution, and personal struggles, ensuring her enduring presence in the spotlight.


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
2000: Faith and Courage
2002: Sean-Nós Nua
2005: Throw Down Your Arms
2007: Theology
2012: How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
2014: I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss

On 26 July 2023, O'Connor was found unresponsive at her flat in Herne Hill, South London, and later confirmed dead at the age of 56. Her family issued a statement later the same day, without indicating the cause of her death. The following day, the Metropolitan Police reported that O'Connor's death was not being treated as suspicious.

Sinead O'Connor's journey has been a testament to her unwavering spirit, artistic exploration, and unapologetic authenticity. Her music and persona have left an indelible mark on the world, defying conventions and inspiring generations.

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