The Irish musician, who legally changed her name to Shuhada' Sadaqat in 2021 after converting to Islam in 2018 but continued to record, release and perform music under her birth name, passed away on Wednesday (July 26). She was 56-years-old.
A slew of musicians, artists and public figures have paid tribute to O'Connor this week, including Holmes — who shared that he had been working on a new album with the 'Nothing Compares 2 U' singer via an Instagram post.
Beneath a picture of O'Connor in his studio, Holmes referred to the artist as "a giant in popular music but what made her so special, apart from that voice and vision was her fearlessness & honesty not only as an artist but as a human being."
Holmes shared that he had met O'Connor while at the 60th birthday party of The Pogues frontman, Shane McGowan, recalling that among the lauded musicians on the guestlist it was O'Connor that "stole the show."
"After the show we went back stage for a drink before heading back to Belfast and suddenly Sinéad appeared," he writes. "As she walked in my direction, and knowing that this was my one chance to talk to her I quickly introduced myself and told her that I wanted to make a record with her about healing.
"To my surprise her ears pricked up and after a quick chat she gave me her number not having a clue who I was. I’ll never forget that moment and how tickled she was - fully endorsing my brass neck. That was Sinéad."
Holmes has previously conducted music for Ocean’s Twelve and Killing Eve, sharing in his post that the late singer had completed around eight tracks for her new album, with just one left to record before her death.
Holmes described the recorded songs as being "each more powerful than the next."
“Every time I recorded her in my studio it was a pinch yourself moment,” his tribute adds. “I really felt that I was in the presence of greatness like a Nina Simone, Billie Holiday or Karen Dalton. A giant in popular music but what made her so special, apart from that voice and vision was her fearlessness & honesty not only as an artist but as a human being.”
"I’m gonna miss her very much but feel totally privileged to have become her friend. At this minute my thoughts are with Sinead’s family and her inner circle. Thank you Sinéad O Connor. You taught me so much. No Veteran Dies alone."
Read Holmes’ full tribute below.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter