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A Star’s Double Life

Source: “All Music Interview”, 2003
Translated by Lornzo

The singer reveals herself at the end of the STARS tour. I phoned Dolores who was in the room of a hotel in Rome (The singer comes back to Italy after her last public apparition in Vatican for the Pope). You may remember that not long ago the famous Irish magazine “Hot Press” dedicated one of its magazines to Dolores and the Cranberries. Now, even with hundreds of engagements in work and an overbooked timetable, Dolores’ voice sounds quite calm and relaxed. She accepted my phone call after leading her children into another room.

It was hard for me to think that the person I was talking to usually changes clothes several times during her concerts and catches the attention of thousands of people. I met her in an intimate moment of her life: the double life of a mother and a rock star. On one hand a mother raising her two children, and on the other hand an artist with a 10 year career, 5 albums with millions of copies sold for each one, and a Best Of ” Stars ” to mark the end of their 10 first years of artistic life. This interview is an opportunity to check the true and the false.

Dolores, why did you decide to make the Best Of ” STARS” after 10 years spent recording albums?

We had to prove to our fans and ourselves that 10 years of success is something significant and that for us it means a lot. So we asked fans to vote for a song that was not a single release in order to add it to the Best Of, and they choose “Daffodil Lament” from No Need To Argue.

If you had had to choose the song yourself, which one would you have chosen?

That’s a difficult question. I should ask the other members of the band to answer.

Is the Best Of a way to declare the end of a cycle?

Yes, more or less, it’s the end of an era. We can’t push away the past and all that we have done, now we must turn to the future taking into account the songs that really made us famous.

So, “STARS” is not a marketing product?

Absolutely not. We have just finished an exhausting tour which wouldn’t have existed if we had not believed in “Stars”.

What were your feelings during your tour in Italy?

Lots of energy and love. Almost all of our concerts were full. It’s on stage that emotions are the strongest in a female singer’s life, but these emotions are also more decisive. You’re away from home, from your children and the things you like most.

You said that “Stars” was like the end of an era. What do we have to expect for this new start?

These ten years gave us a lot and were really intense. I don’t know what we can expect from the next 10 years. I’m not sure that the Cranberries sound will change a lot. Perhaps it’s just time to let things go and spend time with our families in a different world from the hotel rooms.

Let’s talk about your point of view on the world: when I look at the concerts track lists it seems obvious that the subjects of your songs are really wide and have different styles. For example, “Salvation” is a mix of Zombie or No Need to Argue seems to contain more Irish themes and it is sung a bit like “Time Is Ticking Out”, you seem to have thought of more general themes in Wake Up And Smell The Coffee.

Before that, we looked at the world in a particular perspective, we looked at it from Limerick. Now my vision of things comes from what I see through the windows of hotel rooms or from passenger seats in planes. What comes out of our songs is the spontaneity of talking about important things and subjects from both a personal and a collective point of view. There isn’t much difference between “Ode To My Family” and “Analyse”. Maybe the biggest shift is made through more mature feelings to talk about problems concerning everybody, even more love in the future with our children, with a softer sound.

There was an evolution in your music, melodies sounding more pop.

It came naturally, these melodies made us feel good when we played them. In “Stars” there’s a previously unreleased song with a very metal melody, not too pop.

“New New York” What kind of feelings did you have when you saw the new New York?

I saw new York after the towers collapsed. I have been there for the first time in May 2002, when the pain in people’s hearts had changed into a hope for rebirth. Everything in this song is about that new New York : this suffering which gendered so much energy.

That shift in your music, wouldn’t it be linked to the economic boom in Ireland?

That boom changed the nation’s face. However, that’s not the cause of our shift; over the past few years I haven’t really had the opportunity to feel the change in Ireland because I’m not there all the time.

Where do you live then?

In hotels.

Are you tired of hotel rooms?

That’s the bad side of living like that. Hotels are not cheerful, they are sterile places. It makes me think I could be at home preparing Christmas celebrations. When a tour is over you’re glad but you’re really tired.

Do you think to be on stage in the next 20 years?

I really don’t know. Yes maybe, my children will be older and they will not need me as much, then I’ll go on singing.

When you talked about changes coming on the Cranberries, was it an allusion to a solo project?

That’s what everybody was waiting for, for a long time. It is possible. But for the moment I’m very enthusiastic to be a member of The Cranberries.

Of course, but if you were on your own, you could take advantage of the artistic ideas from the band to make something totally different.

In that case, I would do something extremely different, maybe songs for movies soundtracks. I like movies soundtracks a lot, it’s a sound which gives a specific atmosphere, rising crescendo.

My conversation with Dolores goes on for a few minutes. She told me about her impressions on each concert, about Ireland, music, and finally it’s time to leave and to say good bye to the rock star mother.

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