A Biography: Enya

Enya is a very popular New Age artist. Here's a bit about her background and her musical style.

Enya is a New Age artist who's known throughout the world for her flowing melodies, floating chorus, serene orchestration, and beautiful voice. She's won a Grammy for her talents and has five popular albums that are loved the world over.

This Irish singer was born into a family of musicians thirty-nine years ago. One of nine siblings, she performed with her family regularly throughout Europe as a child. At that time, she still used her Gaelic name, Eithne Ni Bhraonain. In the 80's, she took the name Enya and began a solo career. Her very first album, Watermark, released in 1988, was a fast success.

This CD was followed by two other top-selling ones, Shepherd Moon, released in 1991, and The Memory of Trees, released in 1995. These CDs (as with all of her music) were borne out of her desire to create and her commitment to her music. Her music is produced entirely through real instruments and voices, not synthesized ones. In fact, Enya sings and plays nearly all of the parts heard in each of her songs (which are then professionally mixed in a recording studio). For this reason, she hasn't done a major concert since she sang with her family years ago.

Touring, then, at first, seemed entirely impossible, because she could not play all of the instruments at the same time, nor could she leave out important parts. Hiring a professional orchestra or choir wasn't an option when she had no idea how long her career would last. Because of this, she recorded only in the studio, satisfied to create her beautiful music and share it on albums. However, it gave her the reputation of a recluse, since she rarely made public appearances (she did, but not in concert).

Recently, she's spent two years being reclusive in order to produce her latest album, A Day Without Rain (even though hiring an orchestra and chorus is now possible). Her album was released recently and has become an instant success.

Her popularity is shown even more by the fact that she's been featured on the Pure Moods CDs - collections of New Age favorites. She's had "Return to Innocence," "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)," and "Only If" featured on these CDs. "Return to Innocence" is possibly the most well-known CD on the entire Pure Moods album. "Only If" was featured on the most recently released one, Pure Moods III.

Enya's music is light and flowing, with a lot of choral parts in it. It's produced by a real orchestra and a real chorus, which help her out when she does infrequent, small concerts in Japan, Ireland, and the UK. She's also done CD signing appearances throughout these countries. To her, they are a time to connect with her fans. And her fans do connect with her. Many feel a true emotional connection with her music. People write her letters about how they connect her music with tough emotional situations in their own lives. They also go to her website and post their feelings there. This is one of the biggest reasons that Enya produces her music: because of the emotion it carries for others.

The other big reason she does it is because of the emotion it carries to her. She seems to be something of a perfectionist: she wants to give one hundred percent all of the time when she's recording. Because the music itself is so important to her, she's been content to record in the studio most of her career, focusing on creating the lilting melodies and flowing choral voices. She's been working with her producer, Nicky Ryan, and her lyricist, Roma Ryan, for quite a long time. As her friends as well as business associates, they help her to get her music "perfect."

Now, however, she's gearing up for a big concert tour of the U.S., beginning sometime in the summer of 2001. Dates for this tour are not yet set, but Enya says she looks forward to doing some traveling. She's also said that she misses the big stage, because it gives her the chance to really connect with her fans, and see people react to her music. She is being given the chance to get back to her stage roots and connect with people who love her and her music.

Enya's flowing melodies and streaming chorus lines are known throughout the world for the beauty, simple complexity, and emotional tie-ins. She's a New Age artist whose music is geared to today's audience, and was created because of her need to share her music with the public. And share she does - her fans continue to connect with her on many levels, and share their personal experiences with her. Their connection with her is based solely on the raw emotion and serenity they feel within her music, which they can turn to when they need consolation. She is an artist for today and for always.

Source: Breznican, Anthony. Originally published in the Associated Press, secondary publication, the Akron Beacon Journal. Sunday, April 8th, 2001.

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