Sinead O'Connor talks Miley and mental illness
Believe it or not, Sinead O’Connor actually thinks that something resulted from October’s big Miley Cyrus brouhaha — though it wasn’t a conversation about the music industry’s habit of sexualizing young women.
“The music business is corrupt,” the Irish singer-songwriter explains to Time in a new interview. “It’s full of nothing but vampires and pimps. What was more important that came out of the Miley thing was being able to conversate about mental health and human rights. The two of us, without meaning to, did quite a good job.”
As you’ll recall, the feud began after Cyrus told Rolling Stone that her “Wrecking Ball” video was meant to pay homage to O’Connor’s intimate, iconic “Nothing Compares 2U” clip. O’Connor responded to the news by writing an open letter to Cyrus, urging her to not “let the music business make a prostitute of you;” Cyrus shot back by mocking O’Connor on Twitter, posting a screenshot of tweets sent by Sinead shortly before her January 2012 suicide attempt coupled with this caption: “Before Amanda Bynes… There was…”
Though O’Connor doesn’t seem angry at Cyrus anymore, she still feels passionately about the shabby treatment Americans give to sufferers of mental illness — especially famous ones.
“It’s not a question of my message,” O’Connor tells Time. “There’s a dreadful practice in this country going on at the moment, which is a complete breach of human and civil rights, of paparazzi lynching — that’s what I call it — young female celebrities perceived to have a mental illness, trying to get photos of them looking like they’re having breakdowns. The girls are not offered a hug or a percentage. People who might be vulnerable are not going to seek help in a society where if you’re believed to be insane, you’re going to get treated like crap.”
For now, O’Connor says, she’s personally out of the woods (“My records are [about] the journey of someone in recovery”) and is enjoying making music for its own sake — without being a part of the industry’s sexuality industrial complex. Though she claims that she isn’t a “musical snob,” O’Connor doesn’t have many kind words for the current pop landscape: “In a way, music’s all been silenced,” she says. “As long as you’re visually distracted, you’re not really listening.” And the issue extends beyond young female artists such as Cyrus: “Justin Bieber, he’s being sold on his sexuality, but he’s too young to even understand what’s going on.”
And meanwhile, O’Connor says, artists like her — ones who reject the industry — are “everywhere,” but “don’t get played on the radio.” Instead, she says, “we get ‘crazied’ by media. We get treated like we’re assholes because we are heroes and heroines, and we’re therefore quite dangerous people.”
But hey — at least she’s finally found a way to get the world to listen to her.