Sinead O'Connor in 1993 ... - Paul Natkin/WireImage
... and now. - Mark Doyle/Splash News
The Irish songstress has always loved controversy -- remember when she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live" in protest of the child abuse taking place in the Roman Catholic Church? -- and she created quite a stir over the weekend when she took to the stage to perform as a backup singer for reggae artist Natty Wailer at the Bray Seaside Festival in Ireland. But it wasn't because she had made some grand political statement. People were buzzing because the now 44-year-old mom of four looked nothing like her former '90s self. Sporting a dowdy black suit, big gold crucifix, and a sheer black net top that put her belly on display for all to see, O'Connor was virtually unrecognizable.
Twenty years ago, Sinead was known for not only her music -- she rose to fame after she released a cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1990 -- but her pretty elfin-like features and shaved head. While those days might be gone, the unconventional O'Connor was never really into appearances anyway. She once said during an interview that she would always be bald. "I don't feel like me unless I have my hair shaved," she noted. "So even when I'm an old lady, I'm going to have it." Clearly, her stance has changed -- not only when it comes to hair, but religion as well. Although she's had her issues with Catholicism, Sinead -- who recorded an album with The Monks of Glenstal Abbey in 2004 -- told CNN in 2010 that she is "proud to be a Catholic woman. I separate, sometimes, the difference between God and religion. I don't believe it matters if you call it God, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Fred or Daisy. It's the Holy Spirit, it doesn't matter. But what I would like to see as a Catholic is actually Christian, honest people running the shop."
As for her first performance in Ireland in five years? "I really enjoyed it," she told the Irish Independent. "I've been here in Bray for five years and have always been a bit jealous of bands I've seen here. It's everyone's childhood dream to play on a bandstand."
O'Connor is currently on tour in Europe. Her most recent studio album, Throw Down Your Arms, was released in 2005.
Take a look at Sinead in her heyday:
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