Irish singer Sinead O'Connor plans to retire after the release of the live DVD Goodnight, Thank You. You've Been a Lovely Audience in July. "I seek no longer to be a 'famous' person, and instead I wish to live a 'normal' life," O'Connor explained in a post on her Web site. "I am glad that ye are helped by my songs. So help me too, by giving me a private life."
The announcement is apparently the final chapter in the O'Connor's career-long struggle with her own fame and celebrity. She flirted with retirement a decade ago, amid backlash from her controversial Saturday Night Live appearance in which she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II. Following the SNL broadcast, she was booed off the stage at a Bob Dylan tribute in New York. She then returned to Ireland and retreated from the public eye and pop music in favor of opera and studying for the priesthood. She was ordained in the Latin Tridentine Church in 1999. O'Connor's most recent release is 2002's Sean Nos Nua, an album of traditional Irish ballads.
"My advice to anyone who ever admires a so called 'celebrity,' if you see them in the street, don't even look at them," O'Connor continued. "If you love them, then the lovingest thing you can do is leave them alone and don't stare at them! Or bang on restaurant windows when they're in there. Or make them get their picture taken, or write their names on bits of paper. That's pieces of them. And one day they wake up with nothing left of themselves to give."
In May, the singer will wrap up what will be her final recordings: a song for the upcoming Dolly Parton tribute album, Just Because I'm a Woman, and a track for Celtic artist Sharon Shannon.
"Thanks to all of ye for a great time and a great education," O'Connor concluded. "Love, peace, and don't forget to pray."