Sinead O'Connor announces she is retiring from music: 'A warrior knows when he or she should retreat'

The Irish singer-songwriter, who converted to Islam in 2018, says her new album, to be released in 2022, will be her last

Sinead O'Connor announced on Twitter that she is retiring from music, but she has since retracted her statement. Corbis
Sinead O'Connor announced on Twitter that she is retiring from music, but she has since retracted her statement. Corbis

Sinead O’Connor’s next album will be her last.

The Irish singer-songwriter, 54, who is also known as Shuhada’ Sadaqat, announced in a series of posts on Twitter that she is retiring from touring and “working in the record business”.

“I’ve gotten older and I’m tired,” she wrote, also saying that No Veteran Dies Alone, due to be released in 2022, will be her final album. The singer said she will not be touring to promote the work.

“This is not sad news. It’s staggeringly beautiful news. A warrior knows when he or she should retreat. It’s been a 40-year journey. Time to put the feet up and make other dreams come true.”

The singer also apologised in case her announcement came as a shock to booking agents, promoters or managers. "I guess the book made me realise I'm my own boss," she said of her memoir Rememberings, which was released on June 1.

Born in 1966, O’Connor established herself as a formidable musical force with her debut 1987 album The Lion and the Cobra. However, it was her rendition of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U in 1990 that skyrocketed her to the international stage.

The singer has released 10 solo albums as well as a litany of singles and collaborations with other artists. She has also been as famous for her music as she has for her public gestures.

In a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, O’Connor sang an a cappella iteration of Bob Marley’s War, intending the performance to be a sign of protest against the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. She then held up a photo of Pope John Paul II to the camera and tore it while singing the word "evil".

Her shaved head was also an act of protest, a way to usurp traditional expectations of how women should look. In an interview with The Huffington Post in 2014, O’Connor said she was motivated to shave her head after record executives wanted her "to grow my hair really long and wear miniskirts and all that kind of stuff because they reckoned I’d look much prettier. So I went straight around to the barber and shaved the rest of my hair off".

Sinead O'Connor converted to Islam in 2018, adopting the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat. YouTube / The Late Late Show
Sinead O'Connor converted to Islam in 2018, adopting the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat. YouTube / The Late Late Show

O’Connor kept the look, telling The Guardian in 2010: "I don't feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I'm an old lady, I'm going to have it."

In 2013, O’Connor wrote an open letter to Miley Cyrus, warning the Wrecking Ball singer of the mistreatment of women in the music industry and how sexuality is used in this context.

“The message you keep sending is that it's somehow cool to be prostituted,” she wrote in response to the video of Wrecking Ball. "It’s so not cool Miley. It's dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren't merely objects of desire.”

In 2017, O’Connor legally changed her name to Magda Davitt, although she continued her musical career under her former name. The move, she said, as reported by The Guardian in 2018, was because she wished to be "free of the patriarchal slave names. Free of the parental curses".

She then converted to Islam in 2018, adopting the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat. In a Twitter post, she revealed that her conversion was “the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant".

Rememberings offers an unflinching account of the singer’s tumultuous childhood as well as the challenges brought on by her fame. In the memoir, she speaks of the abuses she suffered at the hands of her mother, as well as of a baleful pillow fight she had with Prince. She also writes about her public gestures and the consequences they have had on her career.

Updated: June 7, 2021 03:02 PM

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