During the aching expanses of time between one Enya record and the next, the Irish singer quietly disappears, not only from the public eye, but also right off the radarscreen of modern life. One minute she is there, a pale, willowy presence in clinging velvet-the next she is gone. How does she manage it? Where does she go? What lies at the core of this elusive, enigmatic woman’s phenomenal success?
Now Enya Emerges From the Shadows
The Daily Mail (London, England), 16 December 2005
SHE WOULD much rather spend time in the recording studio than sashay down the red carpet at a celebrity bash.
And the thought that she might one day appear in a gossip column fills her with horror.
But secretive Irish superstar Enya, who has sold an astonishing 65million albums, is finally thinking about taking her soothing songs on tour for the first time.
"There is talk about putting on a proper performance," says the 43-year-old musician, who hasn't played live since she left Clannad, the family folk band, in 1982.
"There's interest in me doing something, maybe starting off with a TV special."
It's no surprise that Enya has taken so long to come round to the notion of playing live. A workaholic, she is also a perfectionist, and her latest album, Amarantine, is only the seventh in a solo career which began in 1986 when she provided the soundtrack to TV documentary The Celts.
"I'm a slow writer," she admits, "and success hasn't changed that."
"When I'm in the studio, I never have any idea when I'm going to finish a song, so I have to set myself deadlines. I don't make too many albums, so all this is still relatively new and exciting."
Amarantine, out now, sticks to a winning formula honed over the past two decades. Made in conjunction with the husband and wife team of Nicky and Roma Ryan (lyricist and producer respectively), it marries Enya's ethereal voice to pizzicato strings and softly-layered keyboards.1
Like previous efforts, it will be dismissed by some critics as New Age gobbledegook.
ENYA has never been particularly fashionable and Amarantine even features three numbers sung in a fictional language, Loxian, which was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and devised by Roma.
Scoff if you will (there's even a made-up Loxian history to go with the songs) but the album's haunting, hypnotic melodies are impossible to ignore.
Enya says: "I'm never going to change the way that I work, so it's inevitable that some people will say the new album is just another Enya record. To me, though, every song is different. There are 12 different tunes and 12 different stories on Amarantine." The reluctant star did come briefly out of her shell three years ago, when she performed with a full orchestra at the Oscars in Los Angeles.
Having been nominated for an award for May It Be (a song written for a The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack at the request of director Peter Jackson), she had the chance to mingle with the ultimate cast of Hollywood A-listers. But when I press her for some gossip, Enya replies only that the whole thing was 'incredibly well run'.
The singer's inner calm was temporarily ruffled in September, however, when an obsessive fan broke into her six-bedroom home, Manderley Castle near Dublin2, and tied up a maid, forcing Enya to hide for two hours until the alarm was finally raised. A second stalker had been arrested just a few days earlier in the grounds of the house.(2)
Many stars would have been traumatised by such intrusions.
Enya's reaction was to go straight back to the studio.
"Given what happened, I'm lucky to be here," she says. "I have to be careful. People can become fixated, but I don't like to dwell on it."
"'The only way to deal with that sort of thing is to get back to work."
"If you think about it too much, it makes your life unnatural."
Note: 1. Nicky Ryan is the producer; Roma Ryan is the lyricist. 2. The break-ins at Manderley (we repeat for the 1,000th time), occurred in mid-August 2005, and broke to the news at the end of September.