Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56, according to The Irish Times. The singer, who rose to great heights of fame in the late 1980s and early ’90s, had a tumultuous life and was the subject of many controversies. She never stopped working, however, releasing 10 albums over the course of her career.
O’Connor was born in Dublin in 1966. In her teens she got in trouble for shoplifting and spent some time in a so-called training center run by Catholic nuns as a result—a place that, somewhat surprisingly, may have cultivated her musical talent. O’Connor’s debut album— The Lion and Cobra, which she began to work on as a teenager—was released in 1987. (In response to a record executive at the time telling her to dress in a more feminine manner, she shaved her head—a look that would become one of her defining features.) She earned a Grammy nomination for best female rock vocal performance that year.
Her second album contained the single “Nothing Compares 2 U” (written by Prince) and came out in 1990. That song grabbed the world by the throat, announcing O’Connor as “a young Irish star with an otherworldly voice, a shaved head, and punk energy, brimming with anger and big-eyed innocence,” as Taylor Antrim wrote for Vogue last year. Subsequent albums Am I Not Your Girl? (1992) and Universal Mother (1994) both went gold in the UK.