Enya, also known as Enya Patricia Brennan, is a famous producer, musician, singer, and songwriter from Gwedorne in Country Donegal. Now she is known as one of the most popular Irish artists, inferior in popularity only to U2, the Cranberries, and maybe just a few other bands and singers.
She was born on May 17th, 1961, in a family of Irish-speaking musicians who were Roman Catholics and had in total of nine children. Enya was the fifth, but even when she speaks about her childhood, she never mentions it as very bad or unhappy. The father of the family, Leo Brennan, owned a small tavern and had a band named “Slieve Foy Band.” And her mom, Maire Brennan, was a school music teacher and performed with her father’s band.
Enya participated in her first competition that was organized during the Feis Ceoli music festival when she was only three years old. In childhood, she played in pantomimes and sang with her siblings in her mother’s choir. When she was four years old, Enya started to learn piano in the neighboring town. It was a pretty challenging period of her life. She often says in different interviews that she frequently was upset when watching her brothers and sisters play games while she had to practice piano.
When Enya was eleven, she got an opportunity to study at the convent school, which was situated in Milford. Her grandfather paid for this education. While studying there, she developed a strong understanding and love for classical music. Her main aim was to become a music teacher, and she never thought about being on stage.
Beginning of Her Career
After the first year of college, Enya decided not to continue to study music academically. In 1980 She became part of Clannad, the band formed by several members of her family. Enya took tours, played gigs, and recorded albums with them as the keyboard player and back vocalist until 1983.
In 1983 she recorded a few of her instrumentals: “Miss Clare Remembers” and “The Solar Wind.” Her first solo performance happened on the 23rd of September 1983, just a few months after recording, and was filmed for the Festival Folk’s TV show. A year later, she was chosen to be the film composer for The Frog Prince.
In 1985 she became a composer for a series of BBS documentary films named The Celts. At first, Devid Richardson, the director of films, wanted to hire a new composer for each episode. Still, when he heard Enya`s track, he decided to make her the only composer for the whole series. She used a lot of traditional Celtic, church, folk, and Irish musical elements in each composition. Several compositions from the future series were released as an album named Enya in 1987.
After that, she decided to produce a studio album, which got the name Watermark. Suddenly, after release in 1988, it became a hit in England and reached number 25 on Billboard 200. This success inspired her to compose a new album named Shepherd Moons, which had even more success than the previous one. It was released in 1991. In 1993 she wined her first Grammy Award for this album. After that, she worked on and released many soundtracks and four albums. These albums are:
● The Memory of Trees (1995).
● A Day Without Rain (2000).
● Amarantine (2005).
● And Winter Came… (2008).
The last album mainly consists of different Christmas and New Year songs written and arranged by Enya. And Winter Came… was also incredibly successful and reached number 8 in the United States. The total amount of copies sold reached 3 million in 2011.
As her album And Winter Came was released and promoted, Enya decided to take a break and rest a little. She visited her family in Australia, relaxed, and settled home in France in 2009. But like any true artist, she came back to the creative process.
She recorded her next album, called Dark Sky Island, in 2012. Like her previous albums, it was excellent and warmly accepted by the listeners and become number one in the United Kingdom. After promoting this album, Enya appeared on TV in 2016 for the first time in over seven years with one of her Christmas-related songs.
In 2021, her brother Leon died. Leon was a tour and production manager for Clannad. Enya wrote, ‘It is with deep and terrible sadness that I must announce the death of my beloved brother, Leon. Not only was he my brother, but he was my dearest and closest friend. My love for him will remain forever in my heart. I would ask for privacy at this time, not only for me but for all my family.’