Sinéad O’Connor Retires (Again) to Focus on Writing

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Roughly two weeks after she had retracted her statement about retiring from music, Sinéad O’Connor has once again announced her retirement. The controversial singer-songwriter is in the process of closing down her social media accounts. In her latest statement on June 20, 2021, O’Connor wrote, “This is to announce that having been in two minds about retiring I have now, in consultation with my medical team, and on their advice, decided to go ahead and retire so that I may now focus on my new career as a writer.”

O’Connor first announced that she was retiring from music in a series of tweets beginning on June 4. “A wise warrior knows when he or she should retreat: #MeTime,” she wrote.

However, in a lengthy follow-up on June 7, O’Connor who has just published her memoir, revealed via her now-closed Twitter account, that she had succumbed to a “knee jerk reaction” to a BBC interviewer and allowed “pigs in lipstick to f*k my head up.”

O’Connor also blamed herself. “When I embarked upon promo for my book, I ought have had a counsellor on board. Because I hadn’t realised how much talking about the past, particularly my experience of abuse… would trigger so much emotional catharsis.”

The book, Rememberings, spanning her fraught childhood, musical triumphs, and activism, arrived June 1, via Houghton Mifflin. It received significant advance orders in the U.K. and U.S., she has retracted the statement.

In the first June 4 tweet, O’Connor, via her former @MagdaDavitt77 account, wrote, “This is to announce my retirement from touring and from working in the record business. I’ve gotten older and I’m tired. So it’s time for me to hang up my nipple tassels, having truly given my all. NVDA in 2022 will be my last release. And there’ll be no more touring or promo.”

NVDA refers to her upcoming album, No Veteran Dies Alone. O’Connor has more than a dozen concerts scheduled for 2022. (See below.) Those had been rescheduled due to both the pandemic and personal reasons.

On June 5, recognizing that she caught the touring industry infrastructure by surprise, she added, “Apologies if any upset caused to booking agents or promoters or managers due to my tweeting about my retirement. I guess the book made me realise I’m my own boss. I didn’t wanna wait for permission from the men, as to when I could announce it. Also, I’d had a few whiskeys : )”

O’Connor, who has changed her named to Shuhada Sadaqat, followed the initial tweet with several others. “It’s not sad news. It’s staggeringly beautiful news. A wise warrior knows when he or she should retreat: #MeTime,” was one.

“It’s been a forty year journey. Time to put the feet up and make other dreams come true ; ),” was another.

In her June 19 retirement statement, O’Connor thanked her fans. “I sincerely thank my fans for the love they’ve shown me down the years, as well as my co-workers. We’ve had a great adventure, now it’s time for the next one.”

Her authenticated Twitter account will be closing soon.

Her lengthy “I’m not retiring” retraction from June 7 can be viewed here:

From the book announcement: Blessed with a singular voice and a fiery temperament, O’Connor rose to massive fame in the late 1980s and 1990s with a string of gold records. By the time she was twenty, she was world famous—living a rock star life out loud.

Her recording of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U” became a worldwide #1 single in 1990, helped by a video of the then-23-year-old shown mostly in close-up.

In Rememberings, she recounts a bizarre evening when she was invited, alone, to Prince’s home in Los Angeles. “I’ve seen this before. I grew up with it,” she writes. “I know it like the back of my hand. I start mentally checking for exits without taking my eyes off him.

“I realize I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how to find the front door. I don’t know how to find a cab. I’m away off up in some hills very far from the highway is all I know.”

Feeling threatened, she decided to leave, refused a ride and started to walk home. When she saw a car on the road, she hoped to hitch a ride only to discover that Prince was inside. She again insisted that she would not get inside and ultimately found safe harbor. “I never wanted to see that devil again,” she writes.

From her trademark shaved head to her 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live when she tore up Pope John Paul II’s photograph, O’Connor has fascinated and outraged millions.

In the book, she writes, “I feel that having a No. 1 record derailed my career and my tearing the photo put me back on the right track.”

It would be nearly a decade before the same Pope formally acknowledged the Catholic Church’s role in childhood sexual abuse.

Of the SNL incident, O’Connor told The New York Times in a May 2021 interview, “I’m not sorry I did it. It was brilliant.” When she took the stage to perform at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary concert in 1992 shortly after her SNL appearance, the crowd booed her lustily.

In November 2020, she announced that she would be entering a treatment program due to “a very traumatic six years.” Her concerts, originally scheduled for 2021, have been postponed until 2022. It’s not clear now whether they will take place.

At the time, she wrote on her alternative Twitter account, “If you knew the six years I’ve had, you know what I’m talking about. And I will explain very clearly in 2022. Music business is a very unforgiving place for artists who need to postpone due to emotional or mental health issues.”

In Rememberings, O’Connor, who turned 54 on Dec. 8, 2020, recounts her painful tale of growing up in Dublin in a dysfunctional, abusive household. Inspired by a brother’s Bob Dylan records, she escaped into music. She relates her early forays with local Irish bands; we see Sinéad completing her first album while eight months pregnant, hanging with Rastas in the East Village, and soaring to popularity with her recording of “Nothing Compares 2U.”

In 2015, she wrote a series of disturbing posts on her social media accounts.

Sinead O’Connor 2022 Tour (Tickets for many of the shows are available here)
Apr 14 – New York, NY – City Winery
Apr 15 – New York, NY – City Winery
Apr 17 – New York, NY – City Winery
Apr 21 – Boston, MA – City Winery
Apr 22 – Boston, MA – City Winery
Apr 24 – Boston, MA – City Winery
May 10 – Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere
May 13 – Philadelphia, PA – City Winery
May 14 – Philadelphia, PA – City Winery
May 17 – Chicago, IL – City Winery
May 18 – Chicago, IL – City Winery
May 20 – Chicago, IL – City Winery
Jun 19 – Cork, Ireland – Live at the Marquee
Jul 17 – Dublin, Ireland – Iveagh Gardens
Jul 17 – Galway, Ireland – Festival Big Top

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  1. Slowchris
    #1 Slowchris 5 June, 2021, 19:17

    Retiring from what?

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