Spiritualized: Sinead Goes Reggae

Spiritualized: Sinead Goes Reggae

Controversial singer comes out of retirement with multiple albums

Sinead O'Connor, who announced her retirement from the music industry in 2003 after a controversial career, has signed a management contract with Sanctuary and begun work on at least two albums for release in 2005. The records -- including one reggae effort -- will be followed with a tour that will include U.S. dates.

According to her new manager, Danny Heaps, O'Connor will likely team with Jamaican producers Sly and Robbie for the reggae album, while the second album will be "more of a Sinead record." O'Connor has said that at least some of the new material will combine her punk roots with her more newfound spirituality. "I want to at least aim my records at a more spiritualized market," the thirty-eight-year-old singer told Irish music magazine Hotpress, blasting mainstream music as having "all the sincerity of a whore's kiss." While a record deal has yet to be finalized, Heaps is confident that this "will be resolved imminently."

O'Connor is best known for her moving cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" off of her blockbuster 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, which hit Number One on the charts and went on to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance. (The record was recently included in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.) Soon after, the Irish singer became a magnet for controversy: in 1991, she drew criticism from Frank Sinatra, among others, when she refused to have the national anthem played before one of her concerts in New Jersey, and the following year she concluded her Saturday Night Live performance by tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II. Two weeks later, at a Bob Dylan tribute in New York, O'Connor rushed off the stage after being showered with boos. She's continued to make headlines over the past decade -- for declaring herself a lesbian and then marrying a man, and for being ordained a priest in a Catholic splinter group.

After six studio albums -- the most recent being 2002's collection of traditional Irish ballads, Sean Nos Nua -- O'Connor announced her retirement from music in 2003. "I seek no longer to be a 'famous' person, and instead I wish to live a 'normal' life," she wrote in a post on her Web site. "My advice to anyone who ever admires a so-called 'celebrity,' if you see them in the street, don't even look at them."

Last September, six months after giving birth to her third child, O'Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner to demand privacy and declare her sanity. She posed the question, "If ye think I am so ridiculous, why do ye give me any attention?"

O'Connor plans to return to the stage April 3rd in Belfast.

ALEX MAR (Posted Feb 15, 2005)
(c) 2005 Rolling Stone