Enya

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Enya
Enyasweet.jpg
Enya in 2001
Background information
Birth name Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin
Born (1961-05-17) 17 May 1961 (age 56)
Dore, Gweedore, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • percussion
Years active 1980–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website enya.com

Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin (anglicised as Enya Patricia Brennan; born 17 May 1961), known as Enya, is an Irish singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. Born into a musical family and raised in the Irish speaking area of Gweedore in County Donegal, Enya began her music career when she joined her family's Celtic band Clannad in 1980 on keyboards and backing vocals. She left in 1982 with their manager and producer Nicky Ryan to pursue a solo career, with Ryan's wife Roma Ryan as her lyricist. Enya developed her distinct sound over the following four years with multi-tracked vocals and keyboards with elements of new age, Celtic, classical, church, and folk music. She has sung in ten languages.

Enya's first projects as a solo artist included soundtrack work for The Frog Prince (1984) and the 1987 BBC documentary series The Celts, which was released as her debut album, Enya (1987). She signed with Warner Music UK which granted her considerable artistic freedom and minimal interference from the label. The commercial and critical success of Watermark (1988) propelled her to worldwide fame, helped by its international top 10 hit single, "Orinoco Flow". This was followed by the multi-million selling albums Shepherd Moons (1991), The Memory of Trees (1995) and A Day Without Rain (2000). Sales of the latter and its lead single, "Only Time", surged in the United States following its use in the media coverage of the September 11 attacks. Following Amarantine (2005) and And Winter Came... (2008), Enya took an extended break from music; she returned in 2012 and released Dark Sky Island (2015).

Enya is known for her private lifestyle and has yet to undergo a concert tour. She is Ireland's biggest selling solo artist[2] and second overall behind U2, with a discography that has sold 26.5 million certified albums in the United States[3] and an estimated 80 million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[4] A Day Without Rain (2000) remains the best selling new age album with an estimated 16 million copies sold worldwide.[5] Enya has won several awards throughout her career, including seven World Music Awards, four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album,[6] and an Ivor Novello Award. She was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for "May It Be", a song she wrote for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

Early life[edit]

An aerial view in Gweedore, County Donegal, Enya's home town.

Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin was born on 17 May 1961 in Dore, an area of the remote parish of Gweedore, County Donegal in northwestern Ireland. It is a Gaeltacht region where Irish is the primary language. Her name is anglicised as Enya Patricia Brennan,[7] where Enya is the phonetic spelling of how Eithne is pronounced in Irish; "Ní Bhraonáin" translates to "daughter of Brennan".[8] The fifth of nine children, Enya was born into a Roman Catholic family of musicians.[9] Her father Leo Brennan was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band, an Irish showband, and ran Leo's Tavern in Meenaleck; her mother Máire Brennan (née Duggan), who has Spanish roots,[10] was an amateur musician who played in Leo's band[11][12] and taught music at Gweedore Community School.[13] Enya's maternal grandfather Aodh was the headmaster of the primary school in Dore, and her grandmother was a teacher there. Aodh was also the founder of the Gweedore Theatre company.[14]

Enya described her upbringing as "very quiet and happy."[15] At age three, she took part in her first singing competition at the annual Feis Ceoil music festival.[14] She took part in pantomimes at Gweedore Theatre and sang with her siblings in her mother's choir at St Mary's church in Derrybeg. She learned English at primary school and began piano lessons at age four. "I had to do school work and then travel to a neighbouring town for piano lessons, and then more school work. I ... remember my brothers and sisters playing outside ... and I would be inside playing the piano. This one big book of scales, practising them over and over."[8][16] At eleven, Enya's grandfather paid for her education[14][17] at a strict convent boarding school in Milford[11] run by nuns of the Loreto order,[10] where she developed a taste for classical music, art, Latin and watercolour painting.[10] "It was devastating to be torn away from such a large family, but it was good for my music."[8] Enya left the school at 17 and studied classical music in college for one year[8] with the aim of becoming "a piano teacher sort of person. I never thought of myself composing or being on stage."[18]

Career[edit]

1980–1985: Clannad and early solo career[edit]

In the 1970s several members of Enya's family formed Clannad, a Celtic band with Nicky Ryan as their manager, sound engineer and producer and his future wife Roma Ryan assisting with the tour management and administrative duties.[17][19] In 1980, after her year at college, Enya decided not to study music at university and instead accepted Ryan's invitation to join the group with the aim of expanding their sound by incorporating keyboards and another backup vocalist.[17][20] She toured across Europe and played an uncredited role on their sixth album, Crann Úll (1980), with a line-up of siblings Máire, Pól and Ciarán Brennan and twin uncles, Noel and Pádraig Duggan. Enya became an official and credited member by the time of their next album Fuaim (1981), which features a front cover photograph of her with the band.[10] Nicky maintains it was never his intention to make Enya a permanent member, and realised she was "fiercely independent ... intent on playing her own music. She was just not sure of how to go about it". This sparked discussions between the two on the idea of using Enya's voice to form a "choir of one", a concept based on the "wall of sound" technique by Phil Spector that interested them both.[17]

In 1982, during a Clannad tour of Switzerland, Nicky called for a band meeting as several issues had arisen and felt they needed to be addressed. He added, "It was short and only required a vote, I was a minority of one and lost. Roma and I were out. This left the question of what happened with Enya. I decided to stand back and say nothing".[17] Enya chose to leave to pursue a solo career with the Ryans, which initially caused some friction between the three and her family but she preferred being independent and disliked being confined in the group as "somebody in the background".[19] Nicky then suggested to Enya that either she return to Gweedore "with no particular definite future", or live with him and Roma in their home, then located in the northern Dublin suburb of Artane, "and see what happens, musically".[18] After their bank denied them a loan, Enya sold her saxophone and gave piano lessons and the Ryans used what they could afford from their savings to build a recording facility named Aigle Studio, named after the French word for "eagle", in a shed in their back garden,[20][17] and rented it out to other artists to cover its costs.[21] They formed a musical partnership in the process with Nicky as Enya's producer and arranger and Roma her lyricist,[19] and became directors of their music company, Aigle Music.[22] In the following two years, Enya developed her playing and composing by recording herself recite classical pieces on the piano and listening back to them. The process was repeated until she started to improvise sections and develop her own piano arrangements.[23] Her first composition was "An Taibhse Uaighneach", Gaelic for "The Lonely Ghost".[17] During this time, Enya played the synthesiser on Ceol Aduaidh (1983) by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy[24] and performed with the duo and Mhaonaigh's brother Gearóid in their short lived group, Ragairne.

Enya's first solo endeavour arrived in 1983 when she recorded two piano instrumentals, "An Ghaoth Ón Ghrian", Gaelic for "The Solar Wind", and "Miss Clare Remembers", at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin which were released on Touch Travel (1984), a limited release audio cassette of music from various artists on the Touch label. She is credited as "Eithne Ní Bhraonáin" on its liner notes.[25] After several months of preparation, Enya's debut solo performance took place on 23 September 1983 at the National Stadium in Dublin that was televised for RTÉ's music show Festival Folk.[26] Nial Morris, a musician who worked with her during this time, recalled she "was so nervous she could barely get on stage, and she cowered behind the piano until the gig was over."[27]

At the suggestion of Roma, who thought Enya's music would suit accompanying visual images, a demo tape of her compositions with Morris on additional keyboards[27][28] was made and sent to various film producers. Among them was David Puttnam, who liked the tape and chose Enya to compose the soundtrack to the romantic comedy film The Frog Prince (1984), of which he served as executive producer.[18] Enya wrote nine tracks for the film but found her songs were rearranged and orchestrated against her wishes by Richard Myhill except two tracks she sang on, "The Frog Prince" and "Dreams", with the latter's lyrics penned by Charlie McGettigan.[29] Film editor Jim Clark later claimed the rearrangements were necessary as Enya found it difficult to compose to picture.[30] Released in 1985 by Island Visual Arts, the album is the first commercial release that credits her as "Enya".[29] The change from Eithne to Enya originated from Nicky Ryan, who thought her name would be too difficult for people outside of Ireland to pronounce correctly, and suggested the phonetic spelling of her name.[20] Enya looked back on the project as a good career move, but a disappointing one as "we weren't part of it at the end".[15][18] She then sang on three tracks on Ordinary Man (1985) by Christy Moore.[31] Mike Oldfield invited Enya to record harmony vocals on his 1985 single "Pictures in the Dark", but she declined.[32]

1985–1989: The Celts and Watermark[edit]

In 1985, producer Tony McAuley commissioned Enya to write a song for the six-part BBC2 television documentary series The Celts.[33] She already had written a Celtic-influenced song named "The March of the Celts" and submitted it to the project. Each episode was to feature a different composer at first, but director David Richardson liked the track so much, he selected her to compose the entire soundtrack.[23][34] Enya recorded 72 minutes of music in 1986 at Aigle Studio and the BBC studios in Wood Lane, London without recording to picture, though she was required to portray certain themes and ideas that the producers wanted. Unlike The Frog Prince, she worked with little interference which granted her freedom to establish her sound[15] that she adopted throughout her career, using multi-tracked vocals, keyboards, and percussion with elements of Celtic, classical, church and folk music.[35]

In March 1987, two months before the series aired on television, a 40-minute selection of the soundtrack was released as Enya's first solo album, titled Enya, by BBC Records in the United Kingdom[18] and by Atlantic Records in the United States. The latter promoted it with a new age imprint on the packaging which Nicky later thought was "a cowardly thing for them to do".[36] The album gained enough public attention to reach number 8 on the Irish Albums Chart and number 69 on the UK Albums Chart.[37] "I Want Tomorrow" was released as Enya's first single.[18] "Boadicea" was sampled by The Fugees on their 1996 song "Ready or Not"; the group neither sought permission nor gave her credit, causing Enya to threaten legal action. The group subsequently gave her credit and paid a fee worth around $3 million.[38] Later in 1987, she appeared on Sinéad O'Connor's debut album The Lion and the Cobra, reciting Psalm 91 in Gaelic on the song "Never Get Old".[39]

Several weeks after the release of her debut album, Enya secured a recording contract with Warner Music UK after Rob Dickins, the label's chairman and a fan of Clannad, took a liking to Enya and found himself playing it "every night before I went to bed".[40] He then met Enya and the Ryans at a chance meeting at the Irish Recorded Music Association award ceremony in Dublin, and learned Enya was thinking about signing with a rival label. Dickins seized the opportunity and signed her to Warner Music with a deal worth £75,000,[41] granting her wish to write and record with artistic freedom, minimal interference from the label, and without set deadlines to finish albums.[42][36] Dickins said: "Sometimes you sign an act to make money, and sometimes you sign an act to make music. This was clearly the latter ... I just wanted to be involved with this music."[43] Enya then left Atlantic and signed with the Warner-led Geffen Records to handle her American distribution.[36]

With the green-light to produce a new studio album, Enya recorded Watermark from June 1987 to April 1988.[23] It was initially recorded in analogue at Aigle Studio before Dickins requested to have it re-recorded digitally at Orinoco Studios in Bermondsey, London.[44] Watermark was released in September 1988 and became an unexpected hit, reaching number 5 in the United Kingdom[37] and number 25 on the Billboard 200 in the United States following its release there in January 1989.[45][36] Its lead single, "Orinoco Flow", was the last song written for the album. It was not intended to be a single at first, but Enya and the Ryans chose it after Dickins asked for a single from them several times as a joke, knowing Enya's music was not made for the Top 40 chart. Dickins and engineer Ross Cullum are referenced in the songs' lyrics.[46] "Orinoco Flow" became an international top 10 hit and was number one in the United Kingdom for three weeks,[37] the first from Warner to reach the top spot in six years.[41] The new-found success propelled Enya to international fame, who received endorsement deals and offers to use her music in television commercials.[47] She spent one year travelling worldwide to promote the album which increased her exposure through interviews, appearances, and live performances.[48] By 1996, Watermark had sold in excess of 1.2 million copies in the United Kingdom and 4 million in the United States.

1989–1997: Shepherd Moons and The Memory of Trees[edit]

After promoting Watermark, Enya purchased new recording equipment and started work on her next album, Shepherd Moons.[49] She found the success of Watermark caused a considerable amount of pressure when it came to writing new songs, adding: "I kept thinking "Would this have gone on Watermark? Is it as good?" Eventually I had to forget about this and start on a blank canvas and just really go with what felt right."[50] Enya wrote songs based on several ideas, including entries from her diary, The Blitz in London, and her grandparents.[51] Shepherd Moons was released in November 1991, her first album released under Warner-led Reprise Records in the United States.[49] It became a greater commercial success than Watermark, reaching number one at home for one week[37] and number 17 in the United States.[45] "Caribbean Blue", its lead single, charted at number thirteen in the United Kingdom.[37] By 1997, the album had reached multi-platinum certification for selling in excess of 1.2 million copies in the United Kingdom and 5 million in the United States.

In 1991, Warner Music released a collection of five Enya music videos as Moonshadows for home video.[52] In 1993, Enya won her first Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for Shepherd Moons. Soon after, Enya and Nicky entered discussions with Industrial Light & Magic, founded by George Lucas, regarding an elaborate stage lighting system for a proposed concert tour, but nothing came out of the meetings.[53] In November 1992, Warner had obtained the rights to Enya and re-released the album as The Celts with new artwork. It surpassed its initial sale performance, reaching number 10 in the United Kingdom[37] and reached platinum certification in the United States in 1996 for one million copies shipped.

After travelling worldwide to promote Shepherd Moons, Enya started to write and record her fourth album, The Memory of Trees. The album was released in November 1995. It peaked at number five in the United Kingdom[37] and number nine in the United States,[45] where it sold over 3 million copies. Its lead single, "Anywhere Is", reached number seven in the United Kingdom. The second, "On My Way Home", reached number twenty-six in the same country.[37] In late 1994, Enya put out an extended play of Christmas music titled The Christmas EP.[54] Enya was offered to compose the score for Titanic, but declined. A recording of her singing "Oíche Chiúin", an Irish language version of "Silent Night", appeared on the charity album A Very Special Christmas 3, released in benefit of the Special Olympics in October 1997.[55]

In early 1997, Enya began to select tracks for her first compilation album, "trying to select the obvious ones, the hits, and others."[56] She chose to work on the collection following the promotional tour for The Memory of Trees as she felt it was the right time in her career, and that her contract with WEA required her to release a "best of" album. The set, named Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya, features two new tracks, "Paint the Sky with Stars" and "Only If...".[57] Released in November 1997, the album was a worldwide commercial success, reaching No. 4 in the UK[37] and No. 30 in the US,[45] where it went on to sell over 4 million copies. "Only If..." was released as a single in 1997. Enya described the album as "like a musical diary ... each melody has a little story and I live through that whole story from the beginning ... your mind goes back to that day and what you were thinking."[58]

1998–2007: A Day Without Rain and Amarantine[edit]

Enya started work on her fifth studio album, titled A Day Without Rain, in mid-1998. In a departure from her previous albums she incorporated the use of a string section into her compositions, something that was not a conscious decision at first, but Enya and Nicky Ryan agreed it complemented the songs that were being written. The album was released in November 2000, and reached number 6 in the United Kingdom[37] and an initial peak of number 17 in the United States.[59] In the aftermath of the 11 September attacks, sales of the album and its lead single, "Only Time", surged after the song was widely used during radio and television coverage of the events,[60] leading to its description as "a post-September 11 anthem".[61] The exposure caused A Day Without Rain to outperform its original chart performance to peak at number 2 on the Billboard 200,[60] and the release of a maxi single containing the original and a pop remix of "Only Time" in November 2001. Enya donated its proceeds in aid of the International Association of Firefighters. The song topped the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and went to number 10 on the Hot 100 singles, Enya's highest charting US single to date.[62] A second single, "Wild Child", was released in December 2001. A Day Without Rain remains Enya's biggest seller, with 7 million copies sold in the US and the most sold new-age album of all time with an estimated 13 million copies sold worldwide.

In 2001, Enya agreed to write and perform on two tracks for soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) at the request of director Peter Jackson.[63] Its composer Howard Shore "imagined her voice" as he wrote the film's score, making an uncommon exception to include another artist in one of his soundtracks.[64] After flying to New Zealand to observe the filming and to watch a rough cut of the film,[60] Enya returned to Ireland and composed "Aníron (Theme for Aragon and Arwen)" with lyrics by Roma in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Elvish language Sindarin, and "May It Be", sung in English and another Tolkien language, Quenya. Shore then based his orchestrations around Enya's recorded vocals and themes to create "a seamless sound".[64] In 2002, Enya released "May It Be" as a single which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. She performed the song live at the 74th Academy Awards ceremony with an orchestra in March 2002,[65] and later cited the moment as a career highlight.[66]

Enya undertook additional studio projects in 2001 and 2002. The first was work on the soundtrack to the Japanese romantic film Calmi Cuori Appassionati (2001) which was subsequently released as Themes from Calmi Cuori Appassionati (2001). The album is formed of tracks spanning her career from Enya to A Day Without Rain with two B-sides. The album went to number 2 in Japan, and became Enya's second to sell one million copies in the country.[67] November 2002 saw the release of Only Time – The Collection, a box set of 51 tracks recorded through her career which received a limited release of 200,000 copies.

In September 2003, Enya returned to Aigle Studio to start work on her sixth studio album, Amarantine.[68] Roma said the title means "everlasting".[61] The album marks the first instance of Enya singing in Loxian, a fictional language created by Roma that came about when Enya was working on "Water Shows the Hidden Heart". After numerous attempts to sing the song in English, Gaelic and Latin, Roma suggested a new language based on some of the sounds Enya would sing along to when developing her songs. It was a success, and Enya sung "Less Than a Pearl" and "The River Sings" in the same way. Roma worked on the language further, creating a "culture and history" behind it surrounding the Loxian people who are of another planet, questioning the existence of life on another.[61] "Sumiregusa (Wild Violet)" is sung in Japanese.[61] Amarantine was a global success, reaching number 6 on the Billboard 200[45] and number 8 in the UK.[37] It has sold over 1 million certified copies in the US, a considerable drop in sales in comparison to her previous albums. Enya dedicated the album to BBC producer Tony McAuley who commissioned Enya to write the soundtrack to The Celts, following his death in 2003.[69] The lead single, "Amarantine", was released in December 2005.[61] A Christmas Special Edition was released in 2006, followed by a Deluxe Edition.

In 2006, Enya released Sounds of the Season: The Enya Holiday Collection, a Christmas-themed EP released exclusively in the US following an exclusive partnership with the NBC network and the Target department store chain. It includes two new songs, "Christmas Secrets" and "The Magic of the Night".

In June 2007, Enya received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland, Galway.[70] A month later, she received her second from the University of Ulster.[71][72]

2008–present: And Winter Came... and Dark Sky Island[edit]

Enya continued to write music with a winter and Christmas theme for her seventh studio album, And Winter Came.... Initially she intended to make an album of seasonal songs and hymns set for a release in late 2007, but decided to produce a winter-themed album instead. The track "My! My! Time Flies!", a tribute to the late Irish guitarist Jimmy Faulkner, incorporates a guitar solo performed by Pat Farrell,[73] the first use of a guitar on an Enya album since "I Want Tomorrow" from Enya. Upon its release in November 2008, And Winter Came... reached No. 6 in the UK[37] and No. 8 in the US[45] and sold almost 3.5 million copies worldwide by 2011.[74]

After promoting And Winter Came..., Enya took an extended break from writing and recording music. She spent her time resting, visiting family in Australia, and renovating her new home in the south of France. In March 2009, her first four studio albums were reissued in Japan in the Super High Material CD format with bonus tracks.[46][75][76][77] Her second compilation album and DVD, The Very Best of Enya, was released in November 2009 and features songs from 1987 to 2008, including a previously unreleased version of "Aníron". In 2013, "Only Time" was used in an advertisement by Volvo Trucks starring Jean-Claude Van Damme who does the splits while suspended between two lorries.[78] The video went viral, leading to numerous parodies of the commercial uploaded to YouTube also using "Only Time". The attention resulted in the song peaking at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

In 2012, Enya returned to the studio to record her eighth album, Dark Sky Island. Its name references the island of Sark, where it became the first island to be designated a dark-sky preserve, and a series of poems on islands by Roma Ryan. The new album was promoted with the premiere in October 2015 of its lead single, "Echoes in Rain", on Ken Bruce's radio show and with the release in the same month of the single as a digital download.[79] Upon its release on 20 November 2015, Dark Sky Island went to No. 4 in the UK, Enya's highest charting studio album there since Shepherd Moons went to No. 1,[37] and to No. 8 in the US.[45] A Deluxe Edition features three additional songs.[80] Enya completed a promotional tour of the UK and Europe, the US and Japan.[81][82][83][84][85][86] During her visit to Japan, Enya performed "Orinoco Flow" and "Echoes in Rain" at the Universal Studios Japan Christmas show in Osaka.[87] In December 2016, Enya appeared on the Raidió Teilifís Éireann Christmas special Christmas Carols from Cork, marking her first appearance on Irish television in a decade. She sang "Adeste Fideles" and "Oiche Chiúin"[88] as well as her own carol composition "The Spirit of Christmas Past".

Musical style[edit]

"Enya is more than just me. It's also Nicky, who arranges my melodies, and his wife Roma, who writes the lyrics. They believed in my music from day one."
— Enya[89]

Enya's vocal range is mezzo-soprano.[90] She has cited her musical foundations as "the classics", church music, and "Irish reels and jigs"[58] with a particular interest in Sergei Rachmaninoff,[91] a favourite composer of hers. She has an autographed picture of him in her home.[92] Since 1982, she has recorded her music with Nicky Ryan as producer and arranger and his wife Roma Ryan as lyricist.[93] While in Clannad, Enya chose to work with Nicky as the two shared an interest in vocal harmonies, and Ryan, influenced by The Beach Boys and the "Wall of Sound" technique that Phil Spector pioneered, wanted to explore the idea of "the multivocals" for which her music became known.[94] According to Enya, "Angeles" from Shepherd Moons has roughly 500 vocals recorded individually and layered.[95] Enya performs all vocals and the majority of instruments in her songs apart from several outside musicians to play percussion, guitar, uilleann pipes, cornet, and double bass.[93] Her early works including Watermark feature numerous keyboards, including the Yamaha KX88 Master, Yamaha DX7, Oberheim Matrix, Akai S900, Roland D-50, and Roland Juno-60, the latter a particular favourite of hers.[96]

Numerous critics and reviewers classify Enya's albums as new age music and she has won four Grammy Awards in the category. However, Enya does not classify her music as part of the genre. When asked what genre she would classify her music, her reply was "Enya".[93] Nicky Ryan commented on the new age comments: "Initially it was fine, but it's really not new age. Enya plays a whole lot of instruments, not just keyboards. Her melodies are strong and she sings a lot. So I can't see a comparison."[97] The music video to "Caribbean Blue" and the art work to The Memory of Trees feature adapted works from artist Maxfield Parrish.[98]

Enya's logotype, first used in 1988 on the front cover of Watermark

Enya has sung in ten languages in her career, including English, Irish, Latin, Welsh, Spanish, French and Japanese.[99] She has recorded music influenced by works from fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien, including the instrumental "Lothlórien" from Shepherd Moons. She sung "May It Be" in English and Tolkien's fictional language Quenya, and "Aníron", sung in Tolkien's other language Sindarin, for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Her albums Amarantine and Dark Sky Island include songs sung in Loxian, a fictional language created by Roma of which there is no official syntax. Its vocabulary was formed by Enya singing the song's notes to which Roma wrote their phonetic spelling.[100]

Enya adopted a composing and songwriting method that has deviated little throughout her career. At the start of the recording process for an album she enters the studio, forgetting about her previous success, fame, and songs of hers that became hits. "If I did that", she said, "I'd have to call it a day".[101] She then develops ideas on the piano, keeping note of any arrangement that can be worked on further. During her time writing, Enya works a five-day week, takes weekends off, and does not work on her music at home.[102] With Irish as her first language, Enya initially records her songs in Irish as she can express "feeling much more directly" than English.[103] After a period of time, Enya presents her ideas to Nicky to discuss what pieces work best, while Roma works in parallel to inspire a lyric to the songs. Enya considered "Fallen Embers" from A Day Without Rain a perfect time when the lyrics reflect as to how she felt while writing the song.[101] In 2008, she newly discovered her tendency to write "two or three songs" during the winter months, work on the arrangements and lyrics the following spring and summer, and then work on the next couple of songs when autumn arrives.[102]

Live performances[edit]

Enya has yet to undertake a concert tour, despite hinting about the idea since the late 1980s and numerous requests from around the world. She claimed that Warner Music and herself "did not see eye to eye" initially as the label imagined her performing on stage "with a piano ... maybe two or three synthesiser players and that's it".[20] Enya also explained that the time put into her studio albums cause her to "run overtime", leaving little time to plan for other such projects.[104] She also expressed the difficulty in recreating her studio-oriented sound for the stage. In 1996, Nicky Ryan said Enya received an offer worth almost £500,000 to perform a single concert in Japan.[105] In 2016, Enya spoke about the prospect of a live concert when she revealed talks with the Ryans during her three-year break after And Winter Came... (2008) to perform a single show at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City that would be simulcast to cinemas worldwide. Before such an event could happen, Nicky suggested that she enters a studio and record "all the hits" live with an orchestra and choir to see how they would sound.[20]

Enya has sung with live and lip synching vocals on various talk and music shows, events, and ceremonies throughout her career, usually during her worldwide press tours for each album.[106] In December 1995, she performed "Anywhere Is" at a Christmas concert at Vatican City with Pope John Paul II in attendance, who met and thanked her for performing.[104] In April 1996, Enya performed the same song during her surprise appearance at the fiftieth birthday celebration for Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden and a fan of Enya's.[56] In 1997, Enya participated in a live Christmas Eve broadcast in London and flew to County Donegal afterwards to join her family for their annual midnight Mass choral performance,[104] in which she partakes each year.[107] In March 2002, she performed "May It Be" with an orchestra at the year's Academy Awards ceremony. Enya and her sisters performed as part of the local choir Cor Mhuire in July 2005 at St. Mary's church in Gweedore during the annual Earagail Arts Festival.[108]

Personal life[edit]

Enya's home in Killiney, County Dublin.

In 1997, Enya bought Manderley Castle, a Victorian Grade A listed castle home in Killiney, County Dublin for £2.5 million at auction.[109] Formerly known as Victoria and Ayesha Castle, she renamed the castle after the house from the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.[110] In 2009, during her three-year break from music, Enya purchased a home in southern France.[111]

Since the 1980s, Enya has attracted the attention of several stalkers. In 1996, an Italian man who was seen in Dublin wearing a photograph of Enya around his neck, stabbed himself outside her parents' pub after being ejected from the premises.[112] In 2005, two people broke into her home; one attacked one of her maids and left with several of Enya's items. Enya raised the alarm in her safe room.[113] The incident led Enya to spend roughly £250,000 on security improvements, covering gaps in the castle's outer wall and installing bollards and iron railings.[109]

Enya is known for keeping a low profile and very private lifestyle, saying: "The music is what sells. Not me, or what I stand for ... that's the way I've always wanted it".[104][114] She is not married and is a surrogate aunt to the Ryans' two daughters.[115] In 1991, she said: "I'm afraid of marriage because I'm afraid someone might want me because of who I am instead of because they loved me ... I wouldn't go rushing into anything unexpected, but I do think a great deal about this".[116] Her relationship with a Spanish man ended in 1997,[56] around the time when she considered taking time out of music to have a family, but found she was putting pressure on herself over the matter and "gone the route I wanted to go".[101] She declares herself as "more spiritual than religious ... I derive from religion what I enjoy."[97]

In 2006, Enya ranked third in a list of the wealthiest Irish entertainers with an estimated fortune of £75 million, and No. 95 in the Sunday Times Rich List of the richest 250 Irish people.[117] The 2016 edition, which listed its top 50 "Music Millionaires of Britain and Ireland", she emerged as the richest female singer with a fortune of £91 million for a place at No. 28.[118]

In 2017 a new species of fish, Leporinus enyae, found in the Orinoco River drainage area was named after Enya.[119]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1989 Enya Brit Award for Best International Artist[120] Nominated
Brit Award for Best International Female[120] Nominated
IRMA Award for Best Female Irish Artist[120] Won
1990 "Orinoco Flow" Grammy Award for Best New Age Performance[121] Nominated
Grammy Award for Best Music Video[122] Nominated
1990 BMI Award for Citation of Achievement[120] Won
1992 Enya Brit Award for Best International Solo Artist[120] Nominated
1993 Nominated
IRMA Award for Best Female Irish Artist[120] Won
1993 Shepherd Moons Grammy Award for Best New Age Album[123] Won
1997 The Memory of Trees Grammy Award for Best New Age Album[124] Won
1998 Enya, Nicky Ryan, and Roma Ryan Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement[120] Won
2001 Enya World Music Award for Best Solo Irish Artist[120] Won
World Music Award for Best New Age Artist[120] Won
2001 A Day Without Rain Japan Gold Disc Award for Best International Pop Albums of the Year[125] Won
2001 "May It Be" Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Song[120] Won
2001 Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Original Song[120] Won
2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song[120] Nominated
2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song[120] Nominated
2002 A Day Without Rain Grammy Award for Best New Age Album[126] Won
2002 Enya World Music Award for Best-selling Female Artist[120] Won
World Music Award for Best-selling New Age Artist[120] Won
World Music Award for Best-selling Irish Artist[120] Won
American Music Award for Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist[120] Nominated
Billboard Music Award for Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year[120] Nominated
"Only Time" ECHO Award for Best Single of the Year (International)[120] Won
2003 "May It Be" Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media[120] Nominated
2003 Enya World Music Award for Best Irish Female Artist[120] Won
"Only Time" BMI Award for Citation of Achievement[120] Won
2005 "I Don't Wanna Know" Won
2006 Enya World Music Award for Best Selling Irish Artist[120] Won
2007 Amarantine Grammy Award for Best New Age Album[127] Won
"Drifting" Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance[128] Nominated
2016 Dark Sky Island ECHO Award for Best Female of the Year (International)[120] Nominated
2017 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album[129] Nominated

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Sources

External links[edit]