Nothing compares to you, Sinead

One of Ireland's most original voices, Sinead O'Connor, speaks to us...

By Shelley Marsden - 11/07/07


For years, Sinead O’Connor has remained at the forefront of modern Irish music. She is famous for multi-tasking, be it with pop, traditional Irish, or reggae. The woman affectionately known by Kris Kristofferson as “Sister Sinead” is one of Ireland’s most controversial artists, never afraid to follow her own path, be it musically or spiritually.

True to her own artistic essence, her new album “Theology” comes to you in two different formats, one ‘unplugged’ and one electric – leaving it up to the listener to decide which speaks to them more. Now in her fortieth year and a mother of four children, Sinead O’Connor continues to avoid the safe options, and remains artistically alive.


What themes link the songs in Theology?

The record is based around or inspired by particular scriptures, Old Testament scriptures. I guess it’s something I’ve been interested in since I was little, the idea of putting particular scriptures to music. And obviously that began as an idea with me as a kid, growing up in Ireland and being exposed to religious music. Then, as I got older and older, and got involved with the Rasta movement, which pretty much uses music as a priesthood, and got interested in other types of spiritual music, it just became more obvious to me that that was a record I’d want to make.


You said it was an “attempt to create a place of peace”…

There are lots of reasons for making the record. Maybe a better way of putting it, and it’s only one of them, which was in the back of my mind with each track, was in some way a response to what I’ve seen going on in the world since September 11. What I mean by that is, from where I look at it, a lot of these things that are going on, are going on because of how a few people interpret particular theologies. I guess either on the Christian or the Islam side, it’s a misrepresentation on both sides of their own theologies – to state somehow that God supports violence as a means of sorting things out. My interest was in making a record which picked particular scriptures that show in fact the opposite to be true, to make a record which represents what I think is a more accurate nature of the God character, which is peaceful and compassionate.


You included I Don’t Know How to Love Him (released as a single) – why?

When I’d finished making the record, I realised I hadn’t touched on the New Testament at all, and I guess I didn’t really want to. A large part of the reason for that is that Christian music can be quite corny, and when dealing with any kind of scriptural music, there’s a very fine line between corny and cool. I really wanted to try and stay on the right side of that line.  I wanted to be able to pay some kind of respect to the New Testament without being corny and I didn’t think I could write a song that couldn’t be corny. I’ve always loved that song anyway. It was burned into my mind as being a perfect candidate, because it’s not obviously religious, it’s more of a love song, but the underlying theology of it is very simple; it’s the idea that God is a man and therefore we are God.


Which tracks meant the most to you?

I suppose lots of them do, I mean they all mean something, or you wouldn’t put them on there, would you? I love the song “If You Had A Vineyard” and “Something Beautiful” I love. But if I had to pick one favourite from the whole lot, I would pick the acoustic version of “Psalm 33”, I’m very attached to that.