"I think age kind of mellows you," said Sinead O’ Connor in an interview with the Associated Press. "I was 20 when my first record came out; 25 when everything hit the fan. I'm 33 now, and having expressed a lot of stuff helped mellow me. The fact I did a lot of screaming and shouting was quite healthy and helpful.
"Now my reasons for writing songs are wanting to perhaps supply some nurturing, soothing or healing through music; provide little droplets of faith and courage through music."
What "hit the fan" was the reaction to O'Connor's tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1992. Journalists still ask why she did it, O'Connor said.
"It was a symbol of tearing down of the church's secrets and lies. In Ireland, it was coming out (that) there had been child abuse within the church and it had been shut up. It wasn't an attack on the man," she said.
Her single "No Man's Woman" on the new CD sounds feminist. Is she?
"I'm very much a feminist. Women can say that now without it meaning they hate men. I adore men. I think there should also be a men's movement which is not anti-women."
Last year, O'Connor was ordained as a priest in the Latin Tridentine Church, a splinter group of the Roman Catholic church. On the day of the interview, she wore a navy dress, adorned with a crucifix around her neck.
She doesn't want to dwell on her ordination because she didn't do it for publicity. "It was about reclaiming a place for women in the church," she said.
Are her days of controversy behind her? Probably not. Just as her new album was being released, O'Connor was quoted in the July/August issue of Curve, the largest-circulation lesbian magazine in the United States, as saying she is a lesbian.
Is all your anger gone?
O'Connor: I feel a lot less now. There's a huge difference between 23 and 33. I was lucky enough to make records and direct my anger in ways that were safe. I didn't have to resort to criminal behavior. I have normal human anger as opposed to rage.
Why did you dedicate your new CD to Rastafarians and to your father?
O'Connor: It's an acknowledgment of love for my father. And Rastafari people have a huge sense of the presence of God in every person. And they don't deny the magic of religion. I moved to London when I was 17. I had an Irish manager who was a huge reggae fan. I got into roots reggae, which talks about scriptures and spirituality in the world. The song on the new album 'Daddy I'm Fine' is reassurance for my father. I wasn't a happy girl and left school at 16. There were eight of us. I was always the slippery one he worried about.
Why did you start wearing your almost-shaved-head hairdo?
O'Connor: My manager suggested it. I was happy to do it. The record company wanted me to look like a sex symbol. I wanted to be taken seriously as a singer and musician and not just a sex symbol. Now I set clippers high and do it myself. After a while, you get used to it by the feel of it. It's handy for a woman in this business to have an image. People look at my head; I don't have to put on posh clothes and makeup. I did grow it a couple of years ago. I got the idea to chop it off. I was almost sorry. But I feel more me like this.
Is your songwriting improving?
O'Connor: Yes. Writing for the album before this, something began to happen to my songwriting. I think it's probably to do with age again, more direction, more clarity, not always writing about me but pretending to be other people. I tend to write in first person but they're not always about me. 'Jealous' on Faith and Courage is about a man friend whose ex-wife beat him up so badly she put him in hospital. She found out he wanted to marry somebody else, after she had dumped him years before.
Will you tour?
O'Connor: No. My daughter is 4 and too young. I'll do a couple more videos. I may do the odd show here and there and some TV. My son is 13 and he is taller than me. He's a big, strong character. I love to see little old ladies with big sons. Walking in Dublin with my daughter in the buggy and him with his arm around my shoulder is the nicest feeling in the world--AP
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)