Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor recently revealed how her negative life experiences have shaped her spiritual journey and have defined her idea of what true religion means.
"To me, music is the holy spirit. I was a person who was going to jail. I would steal … If I hadn't found music, I would be in trouble," said O'Connor, in an interview during an Oprah's "Where Are They Now?" episode. "And it wasn't open to me to be a priest because I was a girl, that's the only other thing I would have wanted to do."
She added, "And I think faith comes from knowledge and experience. When you've had experience, you can dedicate yourself almost like a solider, and a solider sometimes has to do things that are unpleasant."
O'Connor, known for bursting on the music scene in the 1980s and for her controversial politics, has been vocal about her lack of belief in religion in the past. In 1992, she tore apart a photo of Pope John Paul II while saying, "Fight the enemy" during a Saturday Night Live performance.
At the time, O'Connor admitted that she knew her act would cause major controversy. However, her intent was to spark conversation about abuse among priests and minors in the Catholic church. In a 2010 article penned in The Washington Post, she also said all she regretted from her performance was "that people assumed I didn't believe in God."
Although the singer does not identify with a religion now, she says she still believes in the power of prayer.
"To me, prayer is actually very important," said O'Connor. "I'm not of any specific religion; I sort of believe everything and nothing. I even have 'pray' written on my monitor so if I get nervous, I could focus on that."
Part of her outspoken and erratic behavior, she said during a 2007 Oprah interview, has been due to a "terror-filled childhood and an undiagnosed bipolar disorder."
The last time O'Connor made tabloid headlines was in October when she told Miley Cyrus not to "prostitute" herself through a series of tweets and open letters. During the exchange, Cyrus tweeted, "Before Amanda Bynes…There was…" accompanied by an image of Sinead's old Twitter account in which the singer asked her followers for psychiatric help.
O'Connor was also recently admitted to the hospital after suffering intense pain which prompted her to make funeral arrangements in case her health deteriorated even further.
"The doctor asks me have I been upset about anything. I sob quietly and say, 'Yes, something extremely traumatic happened about a week ago. He says, 'There's your problem,'" said O'Connor, according to the Irish Mirror. "Never experienced anything like it in my life, such a physical reaction to an emotional trauma."