Enya Patricia Brennan (born May 17, 1961) is an Irish singer, songwriter and musician, known for pioneering modern Celtic and New-age music. Regarded as the “Queen of New Age”, Enya is the best-selling Irish solo artist in history, and second-best-selling overall behind U2. Born into a musical family and raised in the Irish-speaking area of Gweedore, County Donegal, Enya began her music career when she joined her family’s Celtic folk band Clannad in 1980 on keyboards and backing vocals. She left the group in 1982 with their manager and producer Nicky Ryan to pursue a solo career, with Ryan’s wife Roma Ryan as her lyricist. Enya developed her sound over the following four years with multitracked vocals and keyboards with elements of new age, Celtic, classical, church, world, pop, and Irish folk. Thus far, she has sung in ten languages, most notably English, Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge), Latin, and Welsh.
Enya’s first projects as a solo artist included soundtrack work for The Frog Prince (1984) and the 1987 BBC documentary series The Celts, which was released as her debut album, Enya (1987). She signed with Warner Music UK, which granted her artistic freedom and minimal interference from the label. The commercial and critical success of Watermark (1988) propelled her to worldwide fame, helped by the UK number one and international hit single “Orinoco Flow”. This was followed by the multi-million-selling albums Shepherd Moons (1991), The Memory of Trees (1995), and A Day Without Rain (2000). Sales of the latter and its lead single, “Only Time”, surged in the United States following its use in the media coverage of the September 11 attacks. Following Amarantine (2005) and And Winter Came… (2008), Enya took a four-year career hiatus before she resumed in 2012 and released her eighth studio album, Dark Sky Island (2015).
Enya’s discography has sold 26.5 million certified albums in the United States and an estimated 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. A Day Without Rain (2000) remains the best-selling new-age album, with an estimated 16 million copies sold worldwide. Enya has won numerous awards, including seven World Music Awards, four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, and an Ivor Novello Award. She was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for “May It Be”, written for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).