Sinead O'Connor says nobody has ever seen her looking like a woman.
The musician hit headlines after an image of the cover for her new album I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss was released.
O'Connor thinks the picture, which shows her with shoulder-length black hair, shocked so many people because she has never particularly been identified as a woman.
"Nobody had ever seen me with hair. Nobody had ever seen me looking like a woman," she told USA Today magazine.
"Nobody's ever seen that side of me musically, either. I've always been the warrior woman. I've never particularly been the soul-romantic woman."
The record - O'Connor's 10th studio album - also represents a new sound for her. The 47-year-old explains that her new LP was inspired by some of her American blues heroes, namely Freddie King, Elmore James and Buddy Guy.
"For two-and-a-half years, I've been obsessed with nothing but blues," Sinéad continued. "What I love is the Chicago blues, which is the happy, funky blues, as I would call it. I fell so in love with the Chicago blues, and I watched it all on YouTube, the performances and all that. Then I would go and buy the albums.
"At the time, I told myself, 'If I don't fall more in love with music, I'm not going to survive the music business.' Luckily, I did fall in love with it."
O'Connor has been hitting headlines in recent years more due to her personal life than her musical accomplishments.
But the singer is happy to use her experience in the industry to help other young musicians such as Lana Del Rey, who she tried to contact after seeing her "worrying" comments about being depressed.
"If you know any artist, male or female, who is finding that the pressures of the job are making them want to jump off a building, then send them to me," O'Connor said.
- Cover Media