Thank You for Hearing Me: The Definitive Sinéad O'Connor Discography

“[Sinéad talks about Psalm 33, making music again after retiring, keeping Theology cool, and the song Dark I Am Yet Lovely]”

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(Source: as heard)

INTERVIEWER (Jody Denberg)::
Welcome back to Something Beautiful: The Sinéad O'Connor Theology Conversation. Sinéad, the last song we heard, "33," was inspired by Psalm 33. I'm not familiar with it, but the lyrics spoke to me about the power of music to bring about spiritual transformation.
That's very true, but it's also about the spoken word. The first word of it is "sing," you know. It gives an instruction. It's really about the power of the spoken word. Also about the power of music, but specifically with the use of the human voice, and that's a kind of a theme in many theologies. Most theologies have at the beginning of them, the declaration somehow that God either spoke or sang the world into existence. You know, if you look at it, "in the beginning was the Word;" the same in the Hindu, I can't remember what it is, but the Hindu religion. The Maori culture believed that God sang the world into existence, you know.
While you were studying Scripture recently, was there a point when you realized you wanted to make music again and that you wanted to express what you were learning?
What happened was, I stopped working in 2003, and, to be honest, I hadn't worked a whole lot before that for a few years, and I'd been focusing full-time on my kids for about six years before that. I had released Sean-Nos Nua, which is a traditional Irish record, but I'd only worked a miniscule amount, you know. I had come out of the rock and pop arena, really, you know, before I retired, and then what happened was I began to really feel the need to go to work again, 'cause in music, especially, your work is your social life, really, so you're not working, you're sitting on your tod, you know. I couldn't bear the sight of the supermarket once more, either, do you know? I did it for six years full-on by myself kind of thing, and it was great, like, but my kids began to beg me to go back to work because they hate my cooking, and so on. So, but I thought to myself, well, how can I work in music? 'Cause if you have such a thing inside you, you would be depressed if you weren't using it, do you know, it would start to work against you, you know, so I asked myself how I could work in music in a way that isn't going to mess me up, because I do find the rock and roll arena a very hard place to cope with; it's not conducive to my nature, you know, and all of that ass-kissing, I find that very difficult to do, and so I've always been a square peg in a round hole in that arena, which is why I kept getting in trouble every time I opened my mouth. But I can't be something I'm not, either. I had this counselor for a while, and she said, "Well, the thing to do is to stick with the knitting," as she put it, you know? So that how can I stick with the kitting, you know, so she said, "'Sticking with the knitting' means you go back to the reason why you're doing the thing in the first place," and I remembered then, well, the reason is because when I was seven or eight, I wanted to make religious records, actually, you know. Somehow, then, as a teenager, I got caught up with the "I want to get laid, so I'll make pop records so guys will want to shag me," do you know what I mean? That's the way it works when you're a teenager, you know? So now it just began to dawn on me that I could work in a different arena, which would actually nurture me, rather than feed on me, and where I wouldn't be a square peg in a round hole, although I suspect I'll get in trouble in that arena, too, 'cause, you know, you have to be really good, don't you, in that arena? But I'm not really good, but I think that arena needs people who are not really good.
Well, sometimes quote/unquote "religious music," it can be a little hokey.
Exactly, yeah.
And how did you, I mean, were you concerned about how to express yourself in a way that wouldn't be self-righteous or corny?
Yeah, yeah, I was very concerned, and I was, my mantra during the making of the record was that there's a fine line between corny and cool, you know, and you really want to stay on the right side of the line. That's why I stayed away from New Testament, actually, not that I don't believe in Jesus and everything, 'cause I do, but if you start going on about Jesus, you put people off, and it's kind of not cool, you know? So there was really a concerted effort, kind of not to be uncool.
We're about to hear the Dublin sessions of your song, "Dark I Am Yet Lovely." Again, the notion of darkness. This piece is inspired by the Song of Songs. Is it saying that the only true love is the love of God?
Well, what I love about this that there are certain theologies--Hinduism is one--where God is allowed to be female, the God character's allowed to be female, and in Judaism, they used to allow for the idea of God the Mother, also. And the idea of God the Mother is a very hotly debated and sore point in Catholicism, also, and in lots of religions, in the old, old days, the idea of God the Mother was acceptable. What I love about this song is its theology is the female character is actually God.

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