Dolores O’Riordan, the former singer of The Cranberries with the soaring, staccato voice, has released her second solo album since leaving the Irish supergroup in 2003.

No Baggage, written and co-produced by O’Riordan and Toronto-based Dan Brodbeck, is about the passage of her life, a topsy turvey trip that she is only starting to come to terms with now.

“The title is tongue-in-cheek. You could say I used the CD to shed my baggage. But, really all those experiences and feelings are what makes us who we are,” she says over the phone from her home in Ontario’s cottage country. She and her family spend half the year living in “the forest” and the other half is in Dublin.

Shooting to stratospheric fame when she was 19 with the band’s first album Linger, O’Riordan toured the world and sold more than 40 million albums. At 23 she married Don Burton, the Canadian tour manager for Duran Duran. The pace and pressure was tremendous, and O’Riordan’s health suffered. After 13 years and five albums, she decided she’d had enough. She and Burton settled into domestic life with their children, Taylor, 11, Molly, 8, Dakota, 4 and Donny, Burton’s 17-year-old son from a previous relationship.

“I couldn’t stay away from the piano,” the 37-year-old musician admits. Her first solo album, Are You Listening? was released in 2007 and a tour followed. “It was such a change after being at home for four years. I felt like two different people,” she says.

On the cover of No Baggage, a white-clad O’Riordan perches on a stool in the middle of a frozen lake. The picture was taken on a whim in front of O’Riordan’s Kawarthas-area house. “It was minus 28, a friend took that shot. We didn’t alter it all,” she says.

The album’s reflective lead single, The Journey speaks of abandoning fears and grasping the moment. On Fly Through, an older, wiser O’Riordan looks back on her younger self and asks if she has found what she was searching for. “I think we’re always searching for something that we won’t feel until we finally leave the planet. That’s inner peace,” she says.

When she was named Honourary Patron of Trinity College’s Philosophical Society earlier this year, O’Riordan played a few songs with her old bandmates. “It felt so natural,” she says. Are there plans for a Cranberry reunion? “Oh, I will definitely play with them again,” says O’Riordan.

In the meantime, she’s going at her own pace and traveling light.

New music
Dolores O’Riordan’s new album No Baggage is out tomorrow.

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