Five years ago, Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope on TV. Recently, she's been quietly putting her own life back together. A single mother, she's raising her son Jake, 10, and daughter Roisin, 1, and taking college courses about her native Ireland. The new, more introspective O'Connor, 30, is now touring the U.S. to promote Gospel Oak, her graceful six-song mini-album. She spoke with TIME's Christopher John Farley on the phone from London before the tour began.

TIME: You were once famously bald. Now you've grown your hair out. Why?

O'Connor: It has to do with growing up....

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