Singer Mary Black, who performed with Sinead O’Connor on the Late Late Show in December 2017, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland about what a special occasion that was for her.
“I always had this great respect for the woman. She was a leader in many ways for so many young Irish artists, particularly female artists. She opened doors for people abroad.
“She sang with such truth, every word she sang and any song you felt she meant from the bottom of the heart.
“And she had that sort of brilliant, raw talent that came out no matter what song she sang.
“It was in old ballads that she might sing or it could be a hymn and any of her songs. She gave it her whole soul and heart and that’s I think that’s what made her special. So special.
“She was fragile and fearful, but fearless as well in that she spoke out when she felt something was wrong or when she felt she needed to speak, she would speak.
Mary Black called her “fearless in that she spoke out when she felt something was wrong or when she felt she needed to speak, she would speak.”
“And that was it. That was an unusual trait in a woman, particularly going back ten, 15, 20 years when she was starting out
“So, you know, it was something that other women began to admire and say, my God, you know, how strong is she? And, you know, maybe we can be more like that.”
Meanwhile, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes spoke of how he first met Sinead O’Connor when she advertised in Hot Press to find her first band.
“She was an extraordinary presence. The first time I met she was actually singing at a Waterboys gig, everyone was talking about her from an early age.
She had those beautiful eyes. She was an extraordinarily striking person, and she went on to make some of the greatest records in Irish music history.
“She was a remarkable musician, this is something that is often forgotten. She was a great singer, but she was also a brilliant musician and producer on records early on in her career.
“She had a very, very strong sense of what she wanted to achieve artistically. And of course, she was also reflecting on the Ireland that she’d grown up in.
“She was reflecting on all of the issues that were important to people in Ireland and the problems that people felt about Ireland and the extent to which we wanted to see this country being changed. And she represented that in a brilliant way.
“Her music embodied a view of the world and a political stance as well, and she really made an extraordinary contribution across all of those areas for people in Ireland.”
“She didn’t care about commercial success.
“She was singing the songs that she created, and that has been hugely inspirational for every single female performer.”