By DAN AQUILANTE
IRISH pop star Sinead O'Connor,
who has just released
her latest disc "Faith and Courage," is a controversy
magnet. Minutes after this interview was completed, wire
services began reporting that O'Connor, 33, had
revealed she is a lesbian.
Only last year, the rock
icon was ordained as a priest
in a Catholic splinter sect in Ireland. Her
outspokenness has gained her wide denunciation and
she's forever tagged as the woman who tore up a
photograph of Pope John Paul II on national
She outed herself in the
summer issue of an Irish
lesbian magazine, Curve, which hits the newsstands on
In this interview, O'Connor
passed on coming out, but
talked extensively about men. She defended her past
controversies, asking for compassion. She even
explained why she was speaking to the New York Post -
one of her harshest critics here in America.
The singer currently lives
in Ireland, raising her
4-year-old daughter, Roisin (whom she had with a
former boyfriend). Her 12-year old son Jake lives with
his father, John Reynolds, in London.
Until "Faith And Courage"
- O'Connor's best work in
years - her most successful album was the
chart-topping "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got,"
which made her an international pop star in the early
The Post has never portrayed you in a very
favorable light. Why are you speaking with us?
It's a small world. By growing up in a small
town I learned that you don't hold grudges. Life is
just too short.
Are faith and courage the most important
qualities a person can have?
O'Connor: Not necessarily, I think compassion is.
Why is compassion missing from the title of your
alternate title was "Compassion." I
decided on "Faith and Courage" because it is my
family's motto. I have painted it above the fireplaces
of all the houses I've lived in.
Post: Is this a totally autobiographical album?
I always write in the first person, but the
songs aren't always about me. Sometimes they are, like
"Daddy I'm Fine." But take the song "Jealous." That's
about a male friend who was beaten by a woman when she
found out he had another girl. On "What Doesn't Belong
to Me," it's supposed to be God speaking. He's crying
about racism in religion and how he is being
What about "The Lamb's Book of Life" - is that
of that song is about me, part of the
song is about Ireland.
Do you feel the events in your life mirror the
events in Ireland?
much so. There is an old Irish
expression that goes "Mise Eire" it means "I am
Many will interpret "The Lamb's Book of Life" as
an apology for your past. Is it an apology?
What I say is that I understand why certain
people wouldn't want to listen to me. It says if they
knew me they might understand why I was the way I was.
It doesn't apologize for what I did. But it says I'm
sorry if I hurt any one.
Post: What is the point of the song then?
O'Connor: To say "I'm sorry."
But you aren't saying you are sorry for what you
had reasons for doing the things I did,
and I can understand why some people were offended.
I'm also saying I'm entitled to my career, I'm
entitled to be heard for the singer and artist that I
am ... not for all the controversy. I don't want all
this bulls -- to take away from the music.
What about the song "No Man's Woman?" Is that
your version of "No Scrubs?"
Anyone who thinks the song is about
man-bashing is mistaken. The song talks about a woman
who doesn't want to be a wife or a girlfriend, but who
honors very much the spirit of men.
It is interesting so many
men have so little
self-esteem that they think if a woman doesn't want to
have sex with them, that she hates men. It's sad to
think that they think their only value is their
Post: So the song isn't about man bashing?
Not at all. In fact, it's just the opposite,
as when it talks about be so in love with the spirit
of men. All my teachers in life have been men, all my
guides and spirits, all the people I've been inspired
by are men. I am a huge men's rights campaigner.
Describe young Sinead, the girl who tore up a
picture of the Pope on television.
I have no shame about being young. I am very
proud of who I was. I strove toward truth, by any
means necessary. My aim was true and it was coming
do you wear you hair in the fashion you do?
Is that a protest?
There's really nothing to it, other than I
like it. For me, long hair was something I just hid
behind. I guess originally I liked the idea of cutting
my hair off so I couldn't hide. I quite like it as a
way to honor the divine in women. In the pagan
religion in Ireland, before Christianity, the goddess
was represented as a woman with a shaven head.
Post:Will you be touring in support of this album?
No, because my daughter is only 4, and I
want to be with her.
Do you have any fear of American audiences after
you were booed at the Bob Dylan Tribute at Madison
No. The truth is half the crowd was cheering
that night. For me the mix was a very interesting
noise. I'm very loved in America, I'm not a hated
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