SINEAD O'CONNOR Biography - Musicians

 
 

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SINEAD O'CONNOR

Name: Sinead Marie Bernadette O'Connor                                               
Born: 8 December 1966 Dublin, Ireland                                                 
                                                                                     
Sinead Marie Bernadette O'Connor (born December 8, 1966)                             
is a Grammy Award winning Irish singer and songwriter.                               
                                                                                     
Sinead O'Connor was born in Dublin and was named after Sinead de Valera, wife of     
Irish President √Čamon de Valera and mother of the doctor presiding over the         
delivery, and Saint Bernadette of Lourdes. She is the middle of five children,       
sister to Joseph, Eimear, John, and Eoin. Joseph O'Connor is now a notable           
novelist.                                                                             
                                                                                     
Her parents are Jack O'Connor, a structural engineer later turned barrister, and     
Marie O'Connor. The couple married young and had a troubled relationship,             
splitting up when Sinead was eight. The three eldest children went to live with       
their mother, where O'Connor claims they were subjected to frequent physical         
abuse. Her song "Fire on Babylon" is about the effects of her own child abuse,       
and she has consistently advocated on behalf of abused children. Jack O'Connor's     
efforts to secure custody of his children in a country which routinely gave           
custody to the mother and prohibited divorce motivated him to become chairman of     
the Divorce Action Group and a prominent public spokesman. At one point, he even     
debated his own wife on the subject on a radio show.                                 
                                                                                     
In 1979, O'Connor left her mother and went to live with her father and his new       
wife. However, her shoplifting and truancy led to her being placed in a reform       
school at age 15, the Grianan Training Centre run by the Sisters of Our Lady of       
Charity. In some ways, she thrived there, especially in writing and music, but       
she also chafed under the imposed conformity. Unruly students there were             
sometimes sent to sleep in the adjoining nursing home, an experience of which         
she later commented, "I have never and probably will never experience such           
panic and terror and agony over anything".                                           
                                                                                     
One of the volunteers at Grianan was the sister of Paul Byrne, drummer for the       
band In Tua Nua, who heard O'Connor singing "Evergreen" by Barbra Streisand. She     
recorded a song with them called "Take My Hand" but they felt that at 15, she         
was too young to join the band.                                                       
                                                                                     
In 1983, her father sent her to Newtown School, an exclusive Quaker boarding         
school in Waterford, an institution with a much more permissive atmosphere than       
Grianan. With the help and encouragement of her Irish language teacher, Joseph       
Falvy, she recorded a four-song demo, with two covers and two of her own songs       
which would later appear on her first album.                                         
                                                                                     
Through an ad she placed in Hot Press in the summer of 1984, she met Columb           
Farrelly. Together they recruited a few other members and formed a band called       
Ton Ton Macoute, named for the zombies of Haitian myth. In the autumn, the           
band moved to Waterford briefly while O'Connor attended Newtown, but she soon         
dropped out of school and followed them to Dublin, where their performances           
received positive reviews. Their sound was inspired by Farrelly's interest in         
witchcraft, mysticism, and world music, though most observers thought O'Connor's     
singing and stage presence was the band's driving force.                             
                                                                                     
On February 10, 1985, O'Connor's mother died in a car accident. O'Connor was         
devastated despite her strained relationship with her mother. Soon afterward she     
left the band, which stayed together despite O'Connor's statements to the             
contrary in later interviews, and moved to London.