Enya: chin on hands, full face.


MuchMusic TV interview
(Canada) Autumn1991

Description provided by transcriber Robin Glover:

Enya's dressed in a black turtleneck, black jacket, and either black slacks or black skirt and stockings. She also wore the identical long seahorse/star earrings that she wears in the 'Caribbean Blue' video that the station would play later.

Erica Ehm is the VJ doing the interview. Seems appropriate as she's also the host of the Sunday afternoon world-beat show Clip Trip.

MuchMusic plays video for 'Orinoco Flow'.

Now the 8 minutes, 20 seconds interview...

Erica Ehm:... I came in and they said "Oh, guess what?, Enya's come on and talk about your latest album. The album is called Shepherds Moon [sic] and I was very curious about what that title refers to?

Enya: Well it's from the title track of the album which is an instrumental Shepherd Moons. It's um the planet Saturn has a lot of rings around it and on the last ring there are two little moons that protect the rings around Saturn and I love the title because of they protect, and then the association with the moon is quite dramatic. So in the end we titled the album Shepherd Moons.

Erica Ehm: It took you three years to have this next album. A lot of people have been waiting for it. When I'm listening to the album, much like the first album, I feel that you are more of a classical composer than you are a pop singer/songwriter. What is your background in music?

Enya: Well you are right. I had classical training for about six, seven years. But I feel the influences are combined classically with ah Irish culture because I was brought up in an area where um you speak Gaelic as your first language and Gaelic is a very old Irish language and uh I enjoyed being able to sing and express myself in Gaelic.

Erica Ehm: Now the way it works is you don't actually write the lyrics as far as I understand, you have a team that you work with?

Enya: Mm hmm.

Erica Ehm: How does it work?

Enya: I have uh producer Nicky Ryan who arranges the music with me as well and then Roma Ryan the lyrics.

Erica Ehm: A married couple? Or brother and sister?

Enya: No, a married couple.

Erica Ehm: Married couple. And how did you find these two people?

Enya: I met them uh about ten years ago and uh I remember Nicky talking about a lot of ideas he had musically and one of them being to layer one voice for hundreds of times to see what would happen and I was curious enough to want to try it. This idea.

Erica Ehm: Are you, I guess you'd call it a technocrat, someone who loves technology and loves the recording studio?

Enya: Well I do use a lot of technic..technical uh instruments but um I like to play them like instruments. If myself and Nicky will combine a lot of keyboard sounds, I then try to play it like it's an instrument and try to incorporate as much feeling as possible and with the voices I sing it all in real time and uh emotionally this can be quite draining to uh feel for each vocal if you'll going to sing maybe five hundred vocals which I've done on a track...

Erica Ehm: For one song?!

Enya: For 'Angeles'. But it's something, it's a process that I enjoy and you get very very involved with it. And so it doesn't feel like you've sung five hundred vocals; it feels like you've become a part of a song.

Erica Ehm: I'm interested, in the five hundred vocals that you do, are they all the exact same melody?

Enya Well I would sing to the main melody of the song. I would sing a harmony to this and then I would continue building up a harmony until myself and Nicky are happy with an overall sound. But sometimes we can't tell how many voices we need to establish this sound.

Erica Ehm: And is it only your voice that appears on the album? Are there any other voices that you use?

Enya No. Just my voice! [Big smile]

Erica Ehm: That's incredible. I was going to ask you how you write songs but I think I'd rather ask you how you compose them?

Enya Yes, because I compose the melody and this is quite a trying time for me. It takes me a long time to find a melody that I feel is strong and is saying something to me. And I usually work in a studio and, I spend quite a while recording ideas and eventually I come across an idea where I feel this could say something to me.

Erica Ehm: Do you play the piano?

Enya I usually play the piano or a synthesiser but I usually sing the melody.

Erica Ehm: What's so interesting is that you use several Gaelic instruments I guess or old Irish instruments on the album and at the same time you use so much synthesiser. It's a very interesting combination.

Enya Well it um, I think you are able to with again the technology side of it, you are able to incorporate a lot of feeling with it and uh I don't like to computerise the music or play it 'in time'. I like to play it in 'free time'...

Erica Ehm: What does that mean?

Enya Well it means that when I play it the first time that's the way I'll perform that song. Over and over, it's up to my emotions to dictate how to perform it rather than with a metronome.

Erica Ehm: So there's no 'click track'? It's not perfect?

Enya It usually goes with the feeling of the song.

Erica Ehm: That's interesting; to make machines imperfect in a sense is what you're doing.

Enya Well no. It's usually me who will perform. I usually take the sounds from the digital and the analog keyboards but usually I'll just perform them and layer them each time playing it in my time.

Erica Ehm: I see. OK. Another thing that's very interesting is the fact that you sing in Gaelic. When I was travelling all around Europe. I found out that no matter what country and what language they spoke, pop music is sung in English.

Enya [Laughs] I know. I feel in the studio when we decide it should be in Gaelic or in Latin or whatever language it suited to the melody's more important than the fact that it should be in English. If the song suits to be in English, then that's fine, but we're more concerned with the overall affect and to be able to enhance the melody is very important to me.

Erica Ehm: Is it also a bit of a political statement to sing in your native tongue?

Enya If it's your first language it wouldn't be, it's more from the love of the language and when I go home to Gweedore in County Donegal, I will only speak to everyone in Gaelic.

Erica Ehm: Will you say a few words for us so I can hear the cadence of it?

Enya (speaks in Gaelic)Toronto(Gaelic)

Erica Ehm: What was that?

Enya "Hi this is Enya and I'm in Toronto today". [Big smile]

Erica Ehm: So where did you grow up?

Enya It's in County Donegal. It's a small area called Gweedore.

Erica Ehm: And are you a local hero there now?

Enya Well that's the nice thing. I'll be going home for Christmas and when I go home, they're very proud of my success and especially singing in Gaelic. But then they just treat me like Enya growing up in the area and that's very special to me.

Erica Ehm: Well it's a pleasure having you here. And your music is just very magical, it's really special...

Enya Thank you.

Erica Ehm: ... keep it up. Best of luck on the new album. And we have your latest video 'Caribbean Blue' for you. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the making of the video?

Enya It was uh again very enjoyable. I enjoy uh the visual side because I know it suits the music very much. And uh the song itself is about a journey through very beautiful paradise land, and uh I spent two days filming, with quite a big crew, and afterwards, there were ten artists who had worked three weeks painting every second frame to give this effect of paintings coming alive.

Erica Ehm: Oh, that's great. Very artistic. We like that. Good! This is Enya, live on 'Much' and this is 'Caribbean Blue' from the album called Shepherd Moons. On 'Much'. Thanks again.

Enya Thank you.

MuchMusic plays video for 'Caribbean Blue'

Note:Transcribed years ago by Robin Glover.