By Jason Lamphier
Dolores O�Riordan and her former band, the Cranberries, achieved huge mainstream success in the �90s with the singles �Linger,� �Dreams,� and �Zombie,� but then the band virtually disappeared. The new and improved Irish rocker discusses her first solo record, being a lesbian icon, and being voted the fourth worst singer in the world.
The obvious question: Why did you decide to release a solo album?
Well, it wasn�t a calculated or conscious decision initially. I had been in the Cranberries for 14 years, and we had done so much together. I would do a Cranberries album, and then do a tour, and towards the tail end of the tour I would become pregnant. I would stop touring, and seven to eight months later I would have my baby, nurse my baby for three to six months, and then I would go back in the studio and back on tour. I wanted to spend some time at home. In 2003 I moved to Canada, and it was very inspiring because I was away from the concrete jungle and the tour bus. In the evening I would start playing the piano�when the kids were asleep�and it became a hobby again. Then I got Dan [Broadbeck, who co-produced the album] to come and stay at my house. In the evening I would put down my ideas, go downstairs, and then I would ask him, �Could you structure them with Pro Tools, put some beats on them, try to vibe them up?� Then I�d go back upstairs with the kids and mash the spuds�very practical! Then I would go back downstairs in an hour and say, �I really like what you�ve done with that, or maybe it�s too hard there.�
Do you think your home life hinders or helps your songwriting?
It�s definitely helpful. I had a nervous breakdown in 1995, and then on the [Cranberries�] third album I lost tons of weight. I couldn�t sleep or eat because I was overworked. Having a family doesn�t just fill your life with love, it also gives you something to do when you�re not touring. One day you can be all dolled up in your garment, and the next day you walk in the door and it�s like, �Can you empty the dishwasher?� It brings you down to reality. I need balance because it just keeps me sane.
How would you describe this album?
It�s more experimental because I had Pro Tools. I could work from my house without going into a big studio, which costs a fortune. Having all these people around you is intimidating. Suddenly you�re in your own room and that element is gone, and there�s no rush. You don�t have to get somebody else�s opinion and waste all that time hiring people. [With this album] I was at home for four years, and I wrote for the laugh, for the hobby, for the emotional release, I suppose. At home I would really experiment. I could really be myself.
The album�s first single, �Ordinary Day,� in which you reference your daughter, seems really uplifting, but it�s still gloomy. The video is very moody, with you chasing a little girl through the streets of Prague. What was the concept behind it?
After my mother-in-law passed away, we were thinking that we wouldn�t have any more kids. Later, we thought it would be great to turn over a new leaf in our lives. We had Dakota, and when she was born I realized how quickly my other children are growing up. I kept telling myself not to be insecure, to think happy thoughts. At the same time, I don�t want them to have any difficulties in their lives. There are always thorns with the roses, so I�m just reflecting on that. Then �Angel Fire� is saying that I want to get older because I want to get wiser, but I don�t want to lose any more loved ones.