In recent years, Sinead O’Connor has sadly received more publicity for her public struggles with mental illness than the soaring voice that brought her to the top of the pop charts more than two decades ago.
That all changed on Friday night when she took to the stage of Ireland’s “Late Late Show” and delivered an epic comeback performance that blew the roof off the place and had TV viewers cheering on the 52-year-old singer.
O’Connor, who changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat after her recent conversion to Islam, wore a red hijab during her appearance on the show, performing her 1990 Prince-penned hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” and a cover of The Pogues’ “Rainy Night in Soho”.
Chatting with “Late Late Show” host Ryan Tubridy, O’Connor discussed becoming a Muslim, explaining she didn’t convert so much as revert.
“The word ‘revert’ refers to the idea that if you were to study the Koran you would realize that you were a Muslim all your life and you didn’t realize it,” she said. “That’s what happened to me.”
She continued: “I am 52. I grew up in a very different Ireland to the one that exists now and it was a very oppressed country religiously speaking. And everybody was miserable; nobody was getting any joy in God.”
O’Connor’s triumphant TV appearance did not come without controversy, and the following day she issued an apology for some comments made last year following her “reversion” to Islam that resurfaced after her performance.
At the time, reports the Daily Mail, O’Connor said that she “doesn’t want to spend any more time with white people” after becoming a Muslim, tweeting: “I’m terribly sorry. What I’m about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it. But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that’s what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting.”
On Saturday, however, she addressed that earlier tweet, saying it was made when she was “angry and unwell,” insisting “they were not true at the time and are not true now” and admitting it was “one of many crazy tweets lord knows.”
Meanwhile, O’Connor will be hitting the road in October with a tour of Ireland, which will reportedly be followed by a U.S. tour and possible studio album.
“I am enjoying the feeling of it; it’s nice because I actually thought nobody would be interested anymore,” she admitted. ”I really thought nobody was going to buy any tickets to the shows. I really thought I wouldn’t even get any shows, that nobody would hire me to do shows after being out so long.”
Check out a sampling of fan reaction to O’Connor’s extraordinary TV appearance: