EXCLUSIVE: “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer Sineád O’Connor is the latest pop star to get the feature doc treatment.
Irish producer ShinAwiL has teamed up with Orian Williams, the film producer behind Joy Division biopic Control, and DJ Dave Fanning to tell the story of the controversial artist.
Sineád (w/t) is an access-led feature documentary celebrating the musical work of the Grammy Award-winner. Irish director Maurice Sweeney, who directed IRA doc I Dolours, will helm with Williams, ShinAwiL’s Larry Bass and Fanning exec producing.
It will tell the story of O’Connor, who now goes by Shuhada Sadaqat after converting to Islam in 2018, who broke through with her 1987 album The Lion and the Cobra and her 1990 cover of the Prince-penned “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
O’Connor has courted controversy throughout her career; she is arguably best known for appearing on Saturday Night Live in 1992. While singing a cover of Bob Marley’s “War”, which she intended as a protest against sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II while singing the word ‘evil’. She also made several comments early in her career defending the actions of the Provisional IRA, although she later admitted that her comments were based on ignorance.
Earlier this year, O’Connor announced her retirement from music after the 2022 release of her album No Veteran Dies Alone, but later retracted that statement and said that she would tour next year.
The project is the first high-profile project for Irish producer ShinAwiL since it hired former NBC exec Chuck La Bella, who worked on The Apprentice. La Bella brought on Williams to the project. Williams previously produced John Malkovich feature Shadow Of The Vampire and is directing a biopic of Jeff Buckley and producing a feature about former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland.
Abacus Media Rights, the distribution company set up by former Kew Media exec Jonathan Ford, will handle global sales.
Orian Williams said, “There are few artists who have impacted the world music scene like Sineád O’Connor, I’m delighted to board this film and help tell Sineád’s musical story.”
Larry Bass, CEO of ShinAwiL said, “There will only ever be one documentary with Sineád involved that tells the story of her work in her own words. This is it. Seldom do we get an opportunity for an artist to take us in to the story behind their greatest work.”
Bebbak’s Dave Fanning, who has interviewed O’Connor a number of times on his RTÉ 2FM radio show, added, “From the very first time this wide-eyed teenager walked into my radio studio, I have watched in awe as she has re-invented her music and life, time and time again – always while wearing her heart on her sleeve.”