Aside from her massive talent, Sinead O’Connor is best known for her unpredictable and enigmatic spirit. And though her spirit has most certainly gotten her into trouble, it’s also what makes her such an indomitable and unique character. If there’s anyone on this planet who’s willing to make a statement, it’s Sinéad – and what a statement she’s made. The ’90s icon came back onto our radars this week with the announcement of her new album, I’m not Bossy, I’m the Boss. Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” campaign, Sinéad joins fellow supporters, Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner and Jane Lynch. Despite the varied opinions on the “Ban Bossy” campaign, I think we can all agree that we’re thrilled to see Sinéad making a musical comeback. Seeing Sinéad stay true to form only reminded us of all the reasons why we still love her:
1. She’s got enough conviction to refuse a Grammy
For most of the world, winning a Grammy is quite possibly the greatest honor a musician can achieve. For Sinéad, winning a Grammy meant diddly-squat. Despite four nominations and a win for “Best Alternative Music Performance,” Sinead refused to attend the 1991 Grammy Awards ceremony in an act of protest. In a pre-Grammy interview with Arsenio Hall (which I highly recommend you watch), she said the following:
She was the first artist in Grammy history to ever refuse an award. Is it any coincidence that award was for her song, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”?
2. She’s not about frisky business
Last February, O’Connor sat down with Oprah and discussed the difficulties of being a woman in the music biz. Having described ’80s record executives as being “a little frisky,” O’Connor claims that her [now signature] shaved head was a method of self protection:
Hate to break it to you Sinéad, but even with a shaved head and baggy jeans, you were still a stunner, which brings me to my next point:
3. She defied expectations of beauty In a time where big hair and miniskirts reigned supreme, O’Connor was dancing to a very, very different beat. Sinéad wanted her success to rely on her talent, not her image or sexuality. If anything, her defiance only added to her beauty, both inside and out.
4. She doesn’t want to be mistaken for Enya
Apparently, that shaved head ended up becoming a huge part of her identity – so much so, she didn’t want to be mistaken for anybody else. Sinéad told the The Guardian,
5. She’s no frills
Aah, the simplicity. No costume makeup, trapeze artists or exploding volcanoes for Sinéad. It’s almost otherworldly to watch a person rely on raw talent to carry a performance.
6. She is Mother Bernadette Mary….really
Despite O’Connor’s shaky relationship with the Catholic church (i.e. tearing up pictures of the Pope on SNL), O’Connor became an ordained priest in the Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in 1999. According to BBC, “O’Connor has sought to make amends by apologizing for tearing up a portrait of the Pope, and donating IR£ 150,000 to the bishop who ordained her”. She went on to apologize for the ’92 incident, claiming that it was “more an expression of frustration”. Problem is, the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t recognize women as priests. So how did she get ordained, you ask? To be clear, the Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church is an independent Catholic denomination in Ireland, led by the controversial bishop (Michael Cox) who ordained O’Connor. Nonetheless, Sinéad claims she doesn’t “believe in waiting for permission from the Vatican”. Despite the varying opinions on this matter, Sinéad is, without a doubt, one of a kind.
7. She gets it
She basically summarized the greatness of music during a 2012 BBC Breakfast interview:
Took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you.
8. She’s an icon
You know you’re an icon when pop stars try emulating you 23 years later. Speaking of which:
9. She was brutally honest with Miley Cyrus
Following the release of Miley’s “Wrecking Ball” video, Sinéad reached out to her in an open letter. In the letter, O’Connor warned Cyrus of the ruthless and exploitative nature of the music industry. Here’s a little snippet:
Evidently, Miley did not take well to O’Connor’s letter. In response, Cyrus took a rather cheap shot at O’Connor (and Amanda Bynes) by mocking their struggles with mental illness via Twitter. O’Connor responded again with yet another open letter, asking Cyrus to consider the effects of her actions…along with a few more colorful remarks. Those words can be found on this page.
In the end, O’Connor told the WSJ that the confrontation ended up being a rather positive thing:
It really is unfortunate that the two ladies didn’t see eye to eye, but despite the feud, I found Sinéad’s first letter to Cyrus to be refreshingly honest and thoughtful. Either way, I’m glad to see that some good came of it – at least in Sinead’s eyes.
10. Nothing compares to “Nothing Compares 2 U” This goes without saying.
I can eat my dinner in a fancy rest-aur-raaaaahant…
Featured image via.