Music: Say a Little Prayer; Back with a New Album, Sinead O'connor Reveals How She Came to Blows with Prince Interview
Byline: GAVIN MARTIN
She has arguably had more impact than any other female singer of the past two decades. And Sinead O'Connor has used her time in the limelight memorably. Frank Sinatra wanted to "kick her ass" when she tore up a picture of the Pope live on TV, to protest against child abuse scandals in the Catholic church.
And it's unlikely that Prince - who wrote her most famous hit, 1990's Nothing Compares 2 U - will be inviting her onstage when he plays 21 nights in London this summer.
"We wouldn't be the best of friends - me and Prince," explains Sinead chainsmoking Marlboros and drinking coffee in her London hotel as she discusses her first album release in five years.
After becoming a mother for the fourth time in December, Sinead, now 40, looks well, although she picks at her arm as she talks and admits she is on Lithium, "among other things", after being diagnosed Bipolar four years ago - long after Prince attacked her.
"I met him twice when Nothing Compares 2 U was a hit," she recalls. "At the time he had a lot of female protegees and I had covered his song without having anything to do with him. He invited me to his house in Los Angeles and started to give out to me for swearing in interviews. When I told him to go f*** himself he got very upset and became quite threatening, physically. I ended up having to escape."
But he's such a small guy.
"He can pack a punch," she says. "A few blows were exchanged. All I could do was spit. I spat on him quite a bit."
Despite her outspoken stance, Sinead admits the pressure of fame caused her to retreat from the music business.
"Every time I came to promote records it was 'Sinead O'Connor crazy person', and it was adversely affecting my life," she admits. "I got tired and depressed. As Fagin would say, I had to review my situation."
Although only diagnosed Bipolar relatively recently, she feels the symptoms were always there.
"It probably began when I was 23 - I had very loud suicidal thinking that I came close to acting out, but always pulled back because I knew that wasn't me," she recalls.
Her astonishing voice is still intact on her excellent new double album Theology, due out at the end of the month. It includes eight original songs, as well as covers such as the new single - a version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar.
Inspired by the Old Testament Books Of The Prophets, the album deals with timeless themes of suffering, religion and war.
"This record is something I've always wanted to do, since I was a kid," Sinead explains. …