Sunday 17 November 2019

'I felt something coming from him into my hand and into my body' - Dolores O'Riordan opens up about father's death

Dolores O’Riordan with her new bandmates, DJ Ole (left) and Andy Rourke (right). Photo: David Conachy
Dolores O’Riordan with her new bandmates, DJ Ole (left) and Andy Rourke (right). Photo: David Conachy
Dolores O'Riordan as a coach on RTE's The Voice of Ireland
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan has opened up about her father's death.

The 45-year-old star lost her beloved dad Terence in 2011 after a long battle with cancer.  He was 74 at the time and Dolores was by his bedside as he passed.

"I felt when he passed away he didn't actually leave this world fully," she told Billboard's Soul Sisters podcast.

"I felt him around me a lot for a while.  I could feel him trying to protect me and communicate with me.

Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries
Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries

"And there was a lot of weird little coincidences and stuff that made me think that maybe he was somewhere in between, not necessarily crossed over properly.

"And we all wonder about death, where people go and what happens.  But certainly they cross over from this dimension to another one."

Dolores O'Riordan and her mother Eileen
Dolores O'Riordan and her mother Eileen

Dolores, who is gearing up to release a new album, Something Else, with the Cranberries on April 28, revealed she was raised Catholic and has always reflected on life and death.

"I was always preoccupied with what happened, the notion of what happened people when they died," she said.

"As a teenager I was into The Cure and the dark side of things and I used to go to graveyards and just hang out there."

She added, "You wonder what it's all about, because we're only here for a while.  And you can't find complete happiness here.  There's always sadness and there's always problems and trouble."

Speaking about the experience of being with her father when he died, she said she held his hand when he took his last breath.

"I remember I was really happy about being there holding his hand because I worried that he'd die and I'd be on tour. 

"When my grandfather died I was on tour and I didn't go to the funeral.  I never got to say goodbye and this is one of the problems of being in a rock band is that you're away and your loved ones die and you can't even see them."

She continued, "My father, I spent a lot of time with him at the hospital.  I was with him when he took his last breath, but I felt something coming from him into my hand and into my body.

"I felt like a bit of his spirituality coming into me and I felt like he was coming into me, you know, I felt like he was inside me for a little while. His spirit was in my spirit, we were caught up.

"And I felt that I had to let go - it took me a year-and-a-half or two years."

At that point Dolores channeled her feelings about the death of her father into a new song, Why, which features as a bonus track on the new album.

"It was about a year and a half after my father died, because when you first lose a parent you're so overcome with sadness and tears," she said.

"Every morning you wake up and you get sick to your stomach every single morning, because you realise they're gone.

"But it takes a long time to be waking up and be normal again.  Because there's somebody in your life like that, forever, and then they're gone.

"So it took me a while to get over the initial shock and then to be able to write something good."

Dolores also spoke about being inspired to write by the birth of her children and their journeys growing up, and revealed she felt she had to be "three times better" than a male frontman as a woman in rock in the 90s.

While chatting about her love of trawling stores in New York for stage outfits, she also revealed she had a "manic" episode two years ago.

"When I was manic I dressed really weird for a while," she said.  "I was manic for four months and I was wearing all kinds of metal things and masks and all kinds of weird stuff.  That was two years ago."

Dolores was just 17 and in her "school uniform" when she joined the Cranberries but within a year they were top 10 in America.

When she told her mother she wanted to be in a rock band, her mother replied, "I'll rock band your ear".  However, she agreed to let Dolores front the band for a year, but they agreed that if it didn't take off she'd return to university and study European Studies.

Listen to the full Soul Sisters podcast HERE

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