The perfect oxymoron: Enya is as famous as she is withdrawn. There is no other musician in the world who has reached the heights that the Irish singer has reached without ever selling a concert – never. As Ireland’s biggest ever solo artist with over 75 million albums sold, Enya is definitely a mystery.
The multi-award-winning singer began participating in music events and festivals at the age of three. She owes her success in large part to her parents, her extended family, and her extremely musical upbringing.
Enya’s early life in Ireland
Enya was born on 17 May 1961 in a predominantly Irish-speaking part of Ireland as Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin (anglicized as Enya Patricia Brennan). Her father and mother, Leo and Máire, both played in an Irish showband called the Slieve Foy Band. While Leo also ran a tavern, Máire was a music teacher at Gweedore Community School in Gweedore, a town where her maternal grandfather was the founder of the local theatre.
At the age of 3, Enya took part in a singing competition at Feis Coecil, an annual music festival. She also sang musical comedies in her grandfather’s theatre and sang in her mother’s choir at St. Mary’s Church in Derryberg. She also began playing the piano and learning English at the age of four. When she was eleven her father sent her to a strict boarding school. Here she developed a passion for classical music and art. She would eventually devote a college year to classical music, hoping to become a piano teacher, as she was never a fan of being on stage.
After college, she joined the family band Clannad at the invitation of band manager Nicky Ryan. She played the keyboard for the band and was a backup singer. Two albums later Nicky began to notice her musical independence. This led to Enya, Nicky, and his wife Roma leaving Clannad in 1982 to help build the singer’s solo career. They scraped together some money to build a recording facility, the Aigle Studio.
Music Career and Private Life
Enya’s first solo performance took place in 1983 at the National Stadium in Dublin as part of an RTE music show called Festival Folk. At that time Enya was still very nervous at public performances and almost never came on stage. In 1984, two of Enya’s piano instrumental pieces were included in a scrapbook of artists from a record label called Touch.
Her portfolio continued to grow as she wrote nine titles for the romantic film comedy The Frog King in 1984. The soundtrack to the film – in which she was first called Enya – was commercially released the following year under Island Visual Arts. She then wrote the entire soundtrack for the BBC2 documentary series The Celts. This was released in 1987 in the UK by BBC Records (and Atlantic Records in the US) as her first solo album, entitled Enya. The album was relatively successful and reached number 69 in the British album charts. She also received a $3 million settlement after threatening to sue The Fugees for trying out her single without permission or recognition.
The success of the album led to her signing a £75,000 deal with Warner Music UK. The label gave her artistic freedom, with minimal interference from the label and no set deadlines. Her first album under the label, Watermark, was released in 1988 with unprecedented success. It reached number 5 on the British charts and number 25 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. This put them under pressure for their second album, Shepherd Moons, which was an even greater success than Watermark, reaching number 5 in the UK and number 17 in the US. She won her first Grammy for her efforts on Shepherd Moons in the category of best new age albums.
In the period up to 1997, the musical icon released several more albums that topped the charts. These included The Memory of Trees and her first compilation album Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya. During this time Enya was also offered a contract to write the soundtrack for the 1997 movie Titanic – she declined the offer.
The Irish singer’s album from 2000, A Day Without Rain, is her best-selling album. His success was fuelled mainly by the attacks of September 11, 2001, as his lead single, Only Time was extensively used for the disaster through a plethora of television and radio broadcasts. The proceeds from the success of the lead single were donated to the International Association of Firefighters.
In the same year, she wrote and recorded two songs for the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In 2002 she played her hit single May It Be with an orchestra at the 74th Academy Awards, where she won an Oscar for best original song. Since then, Enya has released three more solo albums: Amarantine (2005); And Winter Came (2008); and Dark Sky Island (2015).
Enya has traveled around the world throughout her career to promoting her albums. During these travels, she has performed live and lip-synced at talk shows, music shows, and events. However, she has never done a concert tour for any of her albums – never. Not even when fans all over the world longed for it. According to her producer Nicky Ryan, she once refused a fee of almost £500,000 in 1996 to give a single concert in Japan.
The singer explained that the overtime she spends in the studio recording her albums leaves her little or no time to think about another project. She also stated that her hesitation stems from the difficulty of recreating her studio-oriented sound for the stage.
Enya has also performed for world-class personalities such as Pope John Paul II in the Vatican City in December 1995 and the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, at his birthday party in April 1996.
In 1997, the successful musician rewarded herself with a gigantic £2.5 million castle in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland. In 2005 she spent more than £250,000 to improve the security of the castle after two men broke in, attacked one of her maids, and stole some valuables.
Who is Enya’s husband?
Nicky Ryan and his wife, Roma Ryan, have worked very exclusively with Enya since the beginning of her career in the 1980s. Enya talks about how she gets inspiration and encouragement from them, but it seems that one thing that hasn’t rubbed off on Enya is her love life.
The singer once said in an interview that falling madly in love and getting married would be the most terrible thing that ever happened to her. She never considered it a priority and probably never will. It seems that Enya’s private lifestyle is incompatible with love and romance, as a result, the singer remains unmarried and is happy with it.
The closest thing to a daughter figure is the two daughters of Nicky and Roma, for whom she is a surrogate aunt.
What about her Net Worth
In 1997 the successful musician rewarded herself with a gigantic £2.5 million castle in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland. In 2005 she spent about £250,000 to improve the security of the castle after two men broke in, attacked one of her maids, and stole some valuables.
Before the release of her 2015 album Dark Sky Album, the singer had sold millions of albums worldwide.
The Sunday Times published her annual rich list of music millionaires from Britain and Ireland. On the list, Enya was the richest singer on the list at number 28. She is also the richest solo artist of all time from the Irish world. According to the celebrity world, Enya’s net worth is 140 million dollars.
One can only wonder how wealthy she would have been if she had included touring in her career portfolio.