PREACHING THE GOSPEL
By Christopher John Farley; Sinéad O'Connor.
Copyright 1997 The Time Inc. Magazine Company
June 23, 1997
sent by Marcel Bobbink
Five years ago, Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope on TV.
Recently, she's been quietly putting her own life back together. A single
mother, she's raising her son Jake, 10, and daughter Roisin, 1, and taking
college courses about her native Ireland. The new, more introspective O'Connor,
30, is now touring the U.S. to promote Gospel Oak, her graceful six-song
mini-album. She spoke with TIME's Christopher John Farley on the phone from
London before the tour began.
TIME: You were once famously bald. Now you've grown your hair out. Why?
O'Connor: It has to do with growing up. I wouldn't want to say there's
anything wrong with [being bald], because I felt very feminine. But I guess I
was thinking if I didn't have any hair, I wouldn't have any recollection of who
I was. That's not why I did it in the first place. But it became that. And it
did become then, after years, a thing I would do almost as punishment to myself.
I wanted to pretend to be tough.
TIME: Why a mini-album?
O'Connor: I just had a baby, and by the time I had written an album, it would
have been next summer before I could [tour]. So I've just put out the songs I've
got so far so I can work this summer.
TIME: You play the Virgin Mary in Neil Jordan's forthcoming film, Butcher
Boy. What was that like?
O'Connor: Wonderful, but very scary because I'm not an actor--I'm quite a shy
person. But it was a kind of fantasy that I'm sure most Catholic girls had at
one point or another. It's easy. You just had to stand there and look loving,
TIME: You've been critical of religion. Are you a follower of any faith now?
O'Connor: I'm interested in all religions, and I don't believe in subscribing
to one because I believe in order to subscribe to one, you've got to shut out
all of the others. Particularly, I like Rastafarianism; if I was going to be
anything, I'd say I was that. The people of the Christian church teach that God
is dead and we can never be like God, whereas the Rasta church teaches that God
is alive and that God is in every one of us.
Time, June 23, 1997
TIME: You've said in the past that your mother physically abused you. Have
you come to terms with your childhood traumas?
O'Connor: I always had in mind that once I got to 30, I would be able to
leave it behind. Which is partly what I Am Enough for Myself [a song on Gospel
Oak] is about. I'm definitely getting to the stage of leaving it behind. I can't
even remember quite a lot of it now, which is really good.
TIME: Are you afraid of repeating your mother's mistakes?
O'Connor: It's very scary. I have been in therapy for a very long time; I go
five days a week. I want to make sure I never do any of that stuff to my
children. Because I haven't had a role model, I [might] not be what they need as
a mother, because I wouldn't have any f idea what that is. So one idea is
to go to therapy and get mothered by someone who teaches me to be a mother
simply by being that to me.
TIME: Several years ago, you came close to suicide. Are you happier now?
O'Connor: The basic, one question I was asking myself--it wasn't a question
really--I was telling myself that I was a total piece of s. The one question
I've had answered is that, no, I'm not. I'm certainly not as emotionally bereft
as I was then. But I'm sure I have a little pool of sadness that needs working