Enya : biography
Enya (born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin; , anglicised as Enya Brennan; 17 May 1961) is an Irish singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter.
Enya began her musical career in 1980, when she briefly joined her family band Clannad before leaving to perform solo. She gained wider recognition for her music in the 1986 BBC series The Celts. Shortly afterwards, her 1988 album Watermark propelled her to further international fame and she became known for her distinctive sound, characterised by voice-layering, folk melodies, synthesised backdrops and ethereal reverberations. She has performed in 10 languages.
Enya continued to enjoy steady success during the 1990s and 2000s; her 2000 album A Day Without Rain sold 15 million copies, and became the top selling new age album of the 2000s in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She received the world’s best-selling female award at the World Music Awards in 2001. She is Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. Her record sales stand at more than 75 million worldwide, including over 26.5 million in album sales in the US, making her one of world’s best-selling artists of all time. Her work has earned her four Grammy Awards and an Academy Award nomination.
- Grammy Awards of 1993, Best New Age Album for Shepherd Moons
- Grammy Awards of 1997, Best New Age Album for The Memory of Trees
- Grammy Awards of 2002, Best New Age Album for A Day Without Rain
- Grammy Awards of 2007, Best New Age Album for Amarantine
- Academy Award nomination (2002) for Best Original Song for "May It Be".
- Golden Globe Award nomination (2001) for Best Original Song for "May It Be".
Beginning with Watermark, Enya began to attract the attention of stalkers, several of whom succeeded in breaking into her castle and attacking some of the staff. As a result, Enya spent an estimated £250,000 on security measures for her home. In 1996, a man who had been seen in Dublin wearing her photograph around his neck, stabbed himself after being ejected from her parents’ pub in Co. Donegal.
In 2006, Enya made it to the number three spot in the ranks of wealthy Irish entertainers with an estimated fortune of €109 million (i.e., £75 million or US$165 million), and number 95 in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 of the 250 Wealthiest Irish People.
"My influences are with Irish music, church music and classical music," she said in a 1997 interview.
In addition to performing for the Pope, the singer participated in a live broadcast on British television for Christmas Eve in 1997, before she flew home to County Donegal to join her family at midnight Mass. She still sings in her mother’s choir every Christmas at midnight Mass, at St. Mary’s Church.
The asteroid 6433 Enya, discovered on 18 November 1978 by Antonín Mrkos at Kleť Observatory, is named after her.
Enya was the subject in the song "Pumping Iron for Enya" by Atom and His Package on their 1999 album Making Love.
Life and career
1961–83: Musical upbringing and Clannad
Enya was born and brought up in Gweedore, County Donegal, in the northwest corner of Ireland. She is part of an Irish-speaking and musical family, the sixth of nine children. Enya is an approximate transliteration of how Eithne is pronounced in the Donegal dialect of the Irish language, her native tongue. Her grandparents were in a band that played throughout Ireland, her father was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band before opening Leo’s Tavern, and her mother played in a dance band and later taught music at Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair. From a young age, Enya appeared in many pantomimes onstage at Gweedore’s local theatre and sang with her siblings in her mother’s choir at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Derrybeg. She attended Loreto Community School in Milford, County Donegal and then moved away to attend college wanting to become a classical pianist, continuing her studies in music and also studying watercolour painting.