Dolores O’Riordan was weeks away from releasing her second solo album, No Baggage, and going on tour when she dropped an unexpected bombshell on her fans.
The tour dates had been cancelled because her band, the Cranberries, had decided to reunite after an almost six-year hiatus.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, O’Riordan said it was a one-off get together with her bandmates that convinced them to mount a comeback, which was ultimately made possible because of the peace she achieved through her relocation to cottage country in Ontario, where she escaped to raise her family and avoid becoming a “has-been dead rock star.”
Irish-born O’Riordan, 37, was 18 when the Cranberries formed in 1990, and the next 13 years were a whirlwind of touring and releasing albums, which produced a number of hits including Dreams, Linger, Ode To My Family, Zombie, Salvation, Ridiculous Thoughts and Free To Decide.
But the stresses of fame fissured the band in 2003, and in O’Riordan’s case, she was emotionally falling apart.
“I was so young when I got so famous and then I kind of put up a wall around myself, I didn’t really want to show people any fragilities or fears, I was trying to be this tough person that I felt was expected of me,” she said.
“It’s important to take time off because it’s a long journey this life, and I want to be singing in 30 years time. You see a lot of artists who get caught up in the here and now, and they just burn themselves out, and I kind of did that myself with my third album.”
“But I realized I didn’t want to die, I wanted to live a long life and sing for a long time and have kids and have a reality outside of just being some has-been celebrity or has-been dead rock star.”
O’Riordan sought solace in anonymity, which she found in the middle of the woods in Ontario, where she has a home with her Canadian husband, Don Burton, their two children and a child from Burton’s previous relationship.
“What’s amazing is — I actually have problems getting it into my head — Canada is so big, right? And Ireland’s small you know; you drive from coast to coast in three hours. You can really get lost here, and I like that,” she said.
“For an artist or an entertainer it’s the ultimate when you can go to the forest when you’re done your work and escape.”
The Cranberries’ North American reunion tour is tentatively scheduled to begin sometime in November and the first show is expected to be in Toronto.
“I’m half a Canuck, I’ve spent half my life here now,” O’Riordan joked.
The band also hopes to write new songs and put out another album, and given that next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Cranberries forming, the timing feels right, O’Riordan said.
“It’s kind of cosmic too, right, that we were reuniting. I didn’t think about it, but these coincidences to me signify you’re doing the right thing,” she said.
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