DUBLIN: Sinead O’Connor, the Irish singer known for her stirring voice, 1990 chart topping hit Nothing Compares 2 U and outspoken views, has died at the age of 56, Irish media quoted her family as saying on Wednesday.
Brash and direct _ her shaved head, pained expression, and shapeless wardrobe a direct challenge to popular culture’s long-prevailing notions of femininity and sexuality _ O’Connor irrevocably changed the image of women in music.
O’Connor converted to Islam in 2018 and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat, though continued to perform under the name Sinead O’Connor.
O’Connor crashed onto the global music scene at the beginning of the decade with her mesmerising version of the song originally written by Prince, facing directly into the camera and crying for the music video that has subsequently been viewed almost 400 million times on YouTube.
Known as much for her outspoken views on religion, sex, feminism and war as for her music, she will be remembered in some quarters for ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a television appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Her views on religion were especially controversial in parts of Ireland, but also a brave representation of a shift that was taking shape in society away from the deep influence of the Catholic church.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2023