High note | 

Sinéad O’Connor says retiring from touring was an act of 'extreme self-care'

O’Connor said she now has time to “make other dreams come true, such as writing."

Sinéad O'Connor: Photo: David Conachy

Eoghan Moloney

Sinéad O’Connor hopes people will be happy for her after announcing her retirement from touring and gigging as the singer said the decision “will set me free from things that were restraining”.

The singer shocked fans with her announcement on Twitter on Friday night, but the decision was not one taken on a whim.

O'Connor confessed that she’d been back and forth with her manager’s about retiring from live performances and touring for roughly six months.

She said she wanted to leave touring “on a high note” and retiring from touring was a move of “extreme self care”.

“Last year, we had a tour booked and I had secretly been planning to let that be my last tour. Then the gigs were rescheduled for this year, before all being cancelled again and postponed for next year.

"My plan was to cease touring this year,” she told Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio.

“The long and the short of it is I’m a Bel Canto singer, and Bel Canto singers are inclined to retire around this age. The body is the instrument and you don’t have the same abdominal muscles and the same muscles that would allow you to perform to such an emotional degree that Bel Canto singers do.

“Touring can be very destabilising, living out of bags and moving hotel rooms every few days. That’s really a young person’s game and it’s not a game for people with the mental health conditions that I have because the main requirement for managing these conditions I have is extreme stability,” she said.

The legendary artist said the last thing she wanted to be doing was “dragging myself around the world when I was past my peak”.

“I have had a ball and I’ve really enjoyed it but a wise warrior knows when to retreat. She said she’s not sad “at all” about moving on from live gigs and said she was “looking forward to doing other things with my life”.

“As seeing as no one buys records anymore, I don’t want to be depending on touring to make a living when I’m 65 or 75, which I have seen artists doing,” the 55-year-old said.

O’Connor said another element of writing and promoting records is living in the past, and for 30 years, “every time I go to promote a record all someone wants to know about is mental health; I get bored with that being dragged up”.

She is hoping to make a living from writing and that she’s “quite confident” she will find something else to do”.

Her memoir ‘Rememberings’ has been critically and widely very well received and Sinéad said she was “so moved and grateful for all the love the book has been received with, in this country in particular."

She will also continue to write songs for other artists and take on other “little jobs” along the way.

O’Connor said she now has time to “make other dreams come true, such as writing."

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