Dolores O'Riordan: Another artiste lost to internalized creative suffering?
Dolores O'Riordan, the headliner of popular Irish alternative band The Cranberries, died in London's Park Lane Hotel on Monday morning. She was 46 and in the metropolis for a short recording session. The reason of her sudden death is yet unknown. As the world laments the premature loss of yet another artistic genius, we analyze the inextricable link between creativity, suffering and mental anguish.
We are devastated on the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today.— The Cranberries (@The_Cranberries) January 15, 2018
Noel, Mike and Fergal
What killed O'Riordan is yet to be determined but her glorious life and sudden death remind of other greats before her who suffered from the torments of their elusive, creative genius. Take any artistry and you'll find a melancholic strain in the works of the best pioneers, an undying obsession with death, and a primal need to capture the wondrous, the bizarre each time.
O'Riordan had been with The Cranberries since its launch in 1989. She catapulted to success with singles like 'Dreams', 'Linger' and 'Zombie'. The Cranberries have sold over 40 million albums worldwide. O'Riordan was bipolar. She was diagnosed in 2015, when her best work was already behind her. How frustrating it must have been, this knowing and attempts to defeat it? We can never know.
If you take English literature, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf come to mind. Among musicians, most recently Prince and Linkin Park's Chester Bennington. Within actors, most notably Robin Williams. The list of creative geniuses undone by their gifts is endless. But is life not too big a price to pay for feeling a little more deeply than is considered sane, and eventually producing inimitable art?
Most of us would say yes, which is why most of us aren't artistes. Ask anyone who has truly labored trying to master their mojo, and they'll tell you they could die a thousand deaths just to see the divine in their work once more.
Popular culture romanticizes artistic suffering excessively, like it does poverty and individualism. Do men-women have to always lose themselves to find art? Not necessarily so, if we learn to disassociate their genius from their person, thus unburdening them of the pressures and expectations that eventually kill them. They are people first. We must start treating them accordingly to keep them sane, happy and alive.