Last year, O'Connor caused a stir when she wrote an open letter to Miley Cyrus warning her that the music industry would try to prostitute her. It was a response to the former child star's Wrecking Ball video – directed by Terry Richardson, who has been accused of predatory behaviour towards models – in which Cyrus, among other things, appears naked and licks a sledgehammer.
Does O'Connor draw a link between the recent abuse scandals and the porn culture and sexualised pop imagery we're exposed to?
"You can't take the sex out of rock'n'roll – that's really important," she says. "What bothers me is that the artists that are most sexualised look like children and their audiences are children. I don't think it's appropriate to start sexualising an artist like Justin Bieber at 15-16 years of age – he's too young to know the decision he's making. They were selling fucking pole-dancing kits at Tesco [in 2006 Tesco was criticised for selling the Peekaboo pole-dancing kit, a product it said was aimed at over-16s, but which was later removed from its website], you can get g-strings for kids… you can't be creating a society where little boys or girls are walking around with their arses hanging out. It's very dangerous, it's why we have trafficking."
She firmly refuses to discuss Mileygate, but she hasn't stopped keeping watch on other young female stars who she deems to be having a difficult time. She reveals that she recently tried to get in touch with Lana Del Rey, although she has yet to hear back. Is it a maternal instinct – she has four children, with four different fathers, the youngest seven and the oldest 27, and in her letter to Miley she wrote that her intentions were out of "motherliness" – that causes her to look out for younger stars?
She's not sure. "I guess I give a shit about people is all. And I don't know if I'm even old enough to be Britney Spears's mother, I hope I'm not [Spears is 32]. It's more that when you've been through grievous things yourself, and you see it happening to other people, you just want to snuggle them. It's the same if I saw a stranger crying in the street, I would want to go over and snuggle them because I know what it's like to cry on the street. I think that's the same for most people – we have empathy because we've been through shit ourselves."
So is it more a feeling of being wise, that you have something to teach about the music industry? She looks shocked. "I wouldn't have anything to teach anyone other than 'never get involved in it'. My advice is to run away and get a real job."
Read the full interview at the Source. It's the good stuff.
ONTD, who will be forgotten during the Rapture? How do you propose we save each other from eternal damnation?