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Famous Like Me > Singer > E > Enya

Profile of Enya on Famous Like Me

Name: Enya  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 17th May 1961
Place of Birth: Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, Ireland
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Enya at a late-1980s television interview

Enya (born 17 May 1961), birth name Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (sometimes seen as the Anglicized Enya Brennan), is Ireland's best-selling solo musician. As a musical group, Enya is really three people: Enya herself, who composes and performs the music; Nicky Ryan, who produces the records; and Roma Ryan, who writes the lyrics in various languages. Enya is a phonetic approximation of how Eithne is pronounced in her native Irish.


Musical upbringing

Eithne was born in Gweedore, County Donegal, in Ireland in 1961 to a musical family. Her grandparents were in a band that played throughout Ireland; her father was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band before opening a pub; and her mother played in a dance band and later taught music at the Gweedore Comprehensive School. Eithne has four brothers and four sisters, several of whom formed the band An Clann As Dobhair in 1968. (They renamed the band Clannad in the 1970s.)

In 1980, Eithne joined Clannad, the band composed of her siblings Máire, Pól, and Ciarán and twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Eithne played the keyboard and provided backing vocals on their albums Crann Úll (1980) and Fuaim (1982). In 1982 (shortly before Clannad became famous for "Theme From Harry's Game"), producer and manager Nicky Ryan left Clannad and Eithne joined him to start her own solo career.

Solo career

Eithne, working with Nicky and his wife Roma, recorded two solo instrumental songs called "An Ghaoth Ón Ghrian" ("The Solar Wind") and "Miss Clare Remembers" that were released on the 1984 album Touch Travel. Eithne was first credited as Enya for writing some of the music for the 1984 movie The Frog Prince. She was contracted to provide music for the soundtrack of the 1986 television documentary The Celts. The music she produced was featured on her first solo album, Enya (1987), but it attracted little attention at the time. The song "Boadicea" from this album would later be sampled by The Fugees (1996), causing a brief stir because the group neither sought permission from Enya nor gave her credit initially, and by Mario Winans, who did give her credit. (Ironically the Winans track, "I Don't Wanna Know," which features a rap by P. Diddy and is officially credited to all three artists, became Enya's highest charting single in the US, when it peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 2004.)

Enya achieved a breakthrough in her career in 1988 with the album Watermark, which featured the hit song "Orinoco Flow" (sometimes known as "Sail Away"). "Orinoco Flow" topped the charts in Britain, and the album sold eight million copies. Three years later she followed with another hit album: Shepherd Moons, which sold ten million copies and earned Enya her first Grammy Award. Despite winning Grammys for "Best New Age Album", Enya does not personally classify her music as belonging to that genre. Four years later she released the Grammy-winning The Memory of Trees (1995).

In 1997, Enya released her greatest hits collection Paint The Sky With Stars: The Best of Enya, which featured two new songs. She was offered the chance to compose the score for James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, but she declined. Cameron subsequently asked composer James Horner to adapt Enya's style for his score. The eventual choice of Norwegian vocalist Sissel resulted in work that some sources erroneously credited to Enya.

Following a five year wait, she released A Day Without Rain in 2000 featuring 34 minutes of new material. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, her song "Only Time" (from A Day Without Rain) was used as a backdrop in many radio and TV reports about the attacks. She initially frowned upon this use, especially when many bootlegged versions of "Only Time" mixed with sound effects from the attack began to appear. She agreed to release a special edition of the song with funds going to the families of victims. Many Enya fans, however, are resentful that her music has been linked with the attacks; an example of this occurred on a 2002 appearance on CNN's Larry King Live when images of battle in Afghanistan were shown on screen as she performed "May It Be", a song with no war connection. This sparked some complaints within Enya's fan community.

Enya is self-admittedly a slow worker when it comes to composing music. As a result, fans have had to wait as long as five years between albums. In 2004, Enya was reputedly working on her next album, but no release date has been set. In September 2004, a new song, set to words from a Japanese poem and called "Sumiregusa" ("Wild Violet") was unveiled in Japan as part of an advertising campaign for Panasonic. In announcing the new recording, Warner Music Japan stated that Enya's next album was scheduled for release (in Japan at least) in mid-November. After a brief flurry of excitement among fans, Enya issued a press release on her official Web site on 19 September stating that this was a mistake and no new album is immediately forthcoming.

Enya's official website in Germany ( has indicated that a new album may be released in November 2005 in Germany.

On September 23, 2005, Roma Ryan on behalf of Enya announced through the official Enya Forum that the new album, Amarantine, will be released in November, although Warner Music has yet to announce an official date.

On September 29 and October 3, 2005, there were two separate security breaches at Enya's castle, which has already had an estimated €250,000 spent on security measures.


A number of Enya's songs are sung entirely in Irish or Latin, with others containing the hitherto-mentioned mixed with English or English by itself. Roma Ryan has written lyrics in Welsh, Irish, Latin, Spanish, and even languages created by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Enya has performed songs relating to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, including 1991's "Lothlórien" (instrumental) and 2001's "May It Be" (sung in English and Quenya) and "Aníron" (in Sindarin)—the last two appearing on the soundtrack of Peter Jackson's movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. "May It Be" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song at the 2002 ceremonies, but it lost to Randy Newman's "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc.

Enya has given several live performances on various television shows, events and ceremonies (her most recent appearance was at a tribute to the Brennan family which took place in Letterkenny), but she has yet to do a concert. She has said, though, that she would love to do it some day, and considers it to be a great possible challenge.

Meanwhile, Enya's official online presence is abuzz as her fans await her new album Amarantine. The site's forum has proven to be a very popular and frequently visited area.


Watermark, Enya's breakthrough album.
Main article: Enya discography


  • Enya (1987)
    • Two versions of this album were released. When reissued by Warner Music under the title The Celts, the original-release track entitled "Portrait" was replaced with a nearly identical (but longer) piece of music entitled "Portrait (Out of the Blue)."
  • Watermark (1988)
    • Some versions of this album include an extra track, "Storms in Africa II."
  • Shepherd Moons (1991, won 1992 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
    • There are at least two versions of Shepherd Moons. The first release featured a chant version of the song "Book of Days". An English-language version of this song was subsequently used in the soundtrack of the movie Far and Away. Coinciding with that, all pressings of the album, single, and collections since mid-1992 include the English-language version in lieu of the original.
  • The Celts (1992) (remastered re-release of the 1987 album Enya)
  • The Memory of Trees (1995, won 1996 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
  • Paint The Sky With Stars (1997) (greatest hits collection with two new tracks)
  • A Day Without Rain (2000, won 2001 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
    • Three versions of A Day Without Rain were released. Aside from the general release in the US and UK, the Canadian release included an additional track, while the Japanese one had two additional tracks.
  • Amarantine (2005). Release date November 22, 2005 according to Aigle Music, Enya's personal music company in Ireland.

In addition, a 1985 soundtrack album The Frog Prince (a.k.a. French Lesson) contains music composed by Enya, but not performed by her; a later CD release (1995) added two previously unreleased vocal tracks by her.


Over the years, Enya has released a large number of CD singles, many of which included bonus tracks that were not included on any of the albums:

  • "I Want Tomorrow" (1987)
  • "Evening Falls..." (1988)
  • "Orinoco Flow" (1988)
  • "Storms In Africa" (1989)
  • "6 Tracks" (1989)
  • "Oíche Chiún (Silent Night)" (1989)
  • "3 Tracks EP" (1990)
  • "Exile" (1991)
  • "Caribbean Blue" (1991)
  • "How Can I Keep From Singing?" (1991)
  • "Book Of Days" (1992)
  • "The Celts" (1992)
  • "Marble Halls" (1994)
  • "The Christmas EP" (1994)
  • "Anywhere Is" (1995)
  • "On My Way Home" (1996)
  • "Only If..." (1997)
  • "Only Time" (2000)
  • "Wild Child" (2001)
  • "Only Time (Remix)" (2001)
  • "May It Be" (2002)
  • "Amarantine" (2005) (to be released in mid-November)

It is a common misconception that Enya recorded the song "Adiemus". Rather, it was recorded by musicians of the group Adiemus. Similarly, recordings by Loreena McKennitt, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Moya Brennan (Enya's sister) have also often been mistakenly identified as Enya recordings (particularly music that Sissel recorded for the Enya-like soundtrack to Titanic). Similarly, Ronan Hardiman (who is responsible for the Riverdance soundtrack) recorded an album, Solas, which features similar vocal recording techniques to Enya; as a result, the music has often been mistaken for hers as well.

DVD release

In 2000, Warner Music released Enya: The Video Collection on DVD in Europe and Asia, collecting all her videos from "Orinoco Flow" up to and including "Wild Child", except for the video from "Book of Days" which was replaced by a live TV performance due to licensing complications relating to the video's use of footage from the film Far and Away. A North American (Region 1) release was announced but did not occur, the reason for which has never been officially stated. As of 2005, The Video Collection is still considered to be "coming soon" by some North American online retailers although bootleg copies from Asia have circulated at the retail level in some parts of Region 1. It is now expected that a DVD video release for Region 1 is unlikely until Enya releases her next album.


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK
1988 "Orinoco Flow" - #6 - #1 Watermark
1988 "Evening Falls..." - - - #20 Watermark
1989 "Storms In Africa (Part II)" - - - #41 Watermark
1991 "Caribbean Blue" - - - #13 Shepherd Moons
1991 "How Can I Keep From Singing" - - - #32 Shepherd Moons
1992 "Book Of Days" - - - #10 Shepherd Moons
1992 "The Celts" - - - #29 The Celts
1995 "Anywhere Is" - - - #7 The Memory of Trees
1996 "On My Way Home" - - - #26 The Memory of Trees
1997 "Only If..." - - - #43 Paint the Sky with Stars
2000 "Only Time" - - - #32 A Day Without Rain

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Enya