Sinead O’Connor says British press ‘like to make me out to be mental – they always have done’

Irish artist criticises description of her as ‘the crazy woman in pop’s attic’

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Tuesday 01 June 2021 11:31
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Sinead O’Connor has offered a criticism of the media for the way in which it has depicted her struggles with mental health.

The Irish artist appeared on Woman’s Hour to promote her new memoir, Rememberings, and spoke with host Emma Barnett about whether the way in which mental health is discussed has changed for the better.

During the conversation, Barnett quoted a piece by The Telegraph’s music critic Neil McCormick, in which he suggested a reputation “as the crazy woman in pop’s attic” has “pursued her”.

“I think it’s a bit extreme to make the Jane Eyre comparison, frankly,” O’Connor responded. “I don’t think I’ve ever been perceived as the crazy woman in the attic as represented in Jane Eyre, it’s not like I’m attacking people with knives or trying to strangle anyone or wandering around in my nightdress.”

O’Connor compared her experience of living with a mental health condition to “having two broken legs, but everyone expects you to walk normal”.

“The British press like to make me out to be mental, they always have done. I don’t know if it’s ‘cos I’m Irish or what, but to compare me to the mad wife in Jane Eyre is abusive,” she said.

In the same interview, O’Connor suggested that having a No 1 record “derailed” her career in that it moved her away from her artistic influences of post-modern artists, protest singers, punks and spiritualised artists.

“It depends how you define success – I don’t define success as to whether people like me... of having tons of money or fame,” she said. “To me, success is about artistic integrity and carrying on the lessons I learned of artists who inspired me.”

The full conversation is available to listen to here.

You can read The Independent’s review of Rememberings here.

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