Sinéad O’Connor’s unreleased “The Magdalene Song” premiered Monday during the series finale of the BBC show “The Woman in the Wall.”
The series, which stars Ruth Wilson, follows a woman as she deals with long-lasting trauma that was inflicted on her by Ireland’s controversial Magdalene Laundries, a church-run home for unmarried pregnant women.
“The first half of the track is completely heartbreaking, and the second half is pure defiance,” David Holmes, 54, told The Guardian. “I stripped the song away to just Sinéad’s voice and then let the full power come in for the second half.”
Holmes continued: “It’s incredible how the meaning of the song came together with this story It was just meant to be. There’s a certain magic when you bring music to an emotive story.”
Holmes, who produced O’Connor’s music before her death, revealed that the late activist allowed the track to be used before the show even started shooting. (The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer died at age 56 in July. A cause of death was not disclosed.)
“Sinéad sanctioned the track for use before they had even started shooting, and when the producers heard it they were amazed to have something so strong,” recalled Holmes. “We all felt the only place this can go is at the end,”
The Post reached out to Holmes for comment.
O’Connor, who was placed inside one of the homes at the age of 15 by her parents when she was caught stealing, often spoke of her sympathy for those who were abused by the church.
“In the lyrics Sinéad was trying to say, I think, that though she’d been through great turmoil, it would not stop her being who she wanted to be,” said Holmes. “She never really spoke about the meaning of her songs. She used to joke that she would often tell people that her songs were about something completely different to what they were about. But this one – well, it’s called ‘The Magdalene Song.’”
Holmes claimed that while working on the show, one of the producers revealed that she was a massive O’Connor fan so he rang up his friend to explain the series.
“I told Sinéad the script was not like anything else anyone has done on the subject, and it had Ruth Wilson, one of the finest actors in the world – on a different level.” said Holmes. “Sinéad said: ‘I believe you. Give them ‘The Magdalene Song.’”
Holmes noted that his one regret is that O’Connor never got to witness the project.
“My big regret is that Sinéad’s not here to see the series,” he said. “She would have been proud. Some people have criticized the black humor in the script, but growing up in Belfast I’ve seen the dark humor that people use to get through.”
“It’s crazy that the last laundry only closed in the 90s,” continued the composer. “Those girls were being tortured. I’ve never been able to get my head around the collective evil of those nuns.”
While working on the series, Holmes was reportedly also producing O’Connor’s 11th album “No Veteran Dies Alone,” which will only be released if the late musician’s family decides to.
O’Connor’s song can be heard here.
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