Talk about the perfect oxymoron, Enya is as famous as she is reclusive. There is no other musician in the world who has reached the heights of the Irish singer 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 above all 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. At the age of eleven, her father sent her to a strict convent boarding school. Here she developed a passion for classical music and art. She would eventually devote a year to classical music in the hope of becoming a piano teacher, as she was never a fan of the stage.
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After college, she joined the family band Clannad at the invitation of band manager Nicky Ryan. She played 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 appearance came in 1983 at the National Stadium in Dublin for an RTE music show called Festival Folk. At that time Enya was still very nervous at public appearances and almost never came on stage. In 1984 two of Enya’s piano instrumental pieces were included in a scrapbook of artists under the Touch label.
Her portfolio continued to grow as she wrote nine titles for the 1984 romantic film comedy The Frog King. The film soundtrack – where she first became known as Enya – was released commercially 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 UK album charts. She also received a $3 million settlement after threatening a lawsuit against The Fugees for sampling her single without permission and without her 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 in 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 the top of the UK charts and No. 17 in the US. She won her first Grammy for her efforts on Shepherd Moons in the Best New Age Album category.
In the period up to 1997, the musical icon released several others that stormed 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 2000 album, A Day Without Rain, is her best-selling album. The success was mainly spurred by the 9/11 attacks in 2001, as her lead single Only Time was extensively used by a host of television and radio broadcasts for the disaster. She donated the proceeds from the success of the lead single to the International Association of Firefighters.
In the same year, she wrote and recorded two songs on 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 during her career to promoting her albums. During these trips, she has performed live and lip-synced at the talk and 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 play a single concert in Japan.
The singer explained that the overtime she worked in the studio to record her albums left her little or no time to think about another project. She also stated that her reluctance was due to the difficulty of recreating her studio-oriented sound for the stage.
Enya has also performed for global personalities such as Pope John Paul II in 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 was the most horrible 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.
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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 around £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 Dark Sky album in 2015, the singer had sold millions of albums worldwide.
The Sunday Times published her annual list of music millionaires from Britain and Ireland. On the list, Enya was the richest singer, finishing in 28th place. 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.