Celebrating the Legacy of Sinéad O’Connor

Learn more about the life and legacy of Sinéad O’Connor, singer and songwriter born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1966, who died at 56 years old.

By bonneville on July 27, 2023
portrait of Sinead O'Connor looking down with a buzzed head
Sinead O’Connor performs in NYC on 6/12/2000 PHoto Scott Gries/Getty Images

Sinéad O’Connor, singer and songwriter born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1966, died on July 26, 2023. She was 56 years old. 

Fans, friends, and collaborators across the globe recall her legacy of honesty and kindness paired with an intensity that took the mainstream by force. Her fearlessness to speak out against abuse from the Catholic Church stands out among her notable moments; but above all else, her artistic genius and other-worldly voice are unparalleled. She was well-known for standing up for victims of abuse and used her fame to highlight social injustices, such as supporting those impacted by the AIDS epidemic. According to rapper MC Lyte, “She wanted to speak about what went on inside of her, she wanted to be honest even when lots of folks didn’t agree with it.”

Her first album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” was released in 1987 to international acclaim. She released ten albums throughout her career, winning a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance for “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.” Her last studio release was “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss.” She is most well-known for covering Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” 

O’Connor had fluctuating affinities with different theologies throughout her life. She credits a nun for giving her a guitar as a teenager that launched her journey into music and claims that her Christian faith gave her the strength to overcome the impact of a childhood marked by abuse. She was ordained a priest in the late 1990s by Bishop Michael Cox of the Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, considered grounds for excommunication by the Catholic Church to which she was baptized. In 2018, she converted to Islam and legally changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat. She kept her stage name for performances and her memoir, “Rememberings,” released in 2021. 

When asked in a 1997 interview with Vivien Goldman for the Rolling Stones Magazine to lend some advice to female musicians, O’Connor stated: “Learn how to say no straight off… Trust your instincts.” This attitude of nonconformity carved the path for musicians of all genders to be authentic to themselves despite pressure to cave to industry standards. 

O’Connor is survived by three children: Jake Reynolds, Brigidine Roisin Waters, Yeshua Francis Neil Bonadio, and a grandson. She lost her son, Shane Lunny, in 2022 to suicide. 

Check out some of her notable songs and collaborations with artists over the years.

Nothing Compares 2 U:

Don’t Give Up with Willie Nelson:

I Want Your Hands On Me with MC Lyte: 

How About I Be Me:


Related articles: 

Around the site