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The strange, secret life of Enya

The Irish singer with the title of the richest woman in British and Irish music history spends her days a recluse in her castle in Dublin.

Remember the Irish singer Enya and her eerily soothing song Sail Away released in 1988? Have a listen in the video above.

Well, despite the fact she’s sold 75 million albums around the world and has recently been named the richest woman in British and Irish music history, she’s always been a mystery.

She’s worth almost $190 million and lives in a castle – yes, a castle – next to U2's Bono, but she’s never even toured as a solo artist. In fact, she’s only ever been spotted in public twice in 10 years.

The 54-year-old is a complete mystery, and lives with her cats (at one point, she had 12) in her home near Dublin.

Following a split from her family band Clannad at age 21, she started writing music with Nicky Ryan (Clannad’s producer), and his wife Roma, which led to their release of their first album.

But it was their second LP called Watermark that really put them on the map, with Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) that sold 11 million copies worldwide. Their success continued.

Enya won four Grammys and was nominated for an Oscar for her music on the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, but very rarely performs live. She only does rare, intimate gigs on Irish or US TV shows.

Enya's castle.
Enya's castle.

The music she creates with the Ryan’s is unusual and eerie. Vocals (which are often overdubbed more than 500 times) are sung in English and Gaelic, plus made-up languages created by JRR Tolkein and Loxian.

A lot of her success came from good timing – her song Only Time was picked up by CNN in 2001 as a backdrop to 9/11 footage, and when it was released as a charity single, and sold by the bucket loads.

Even her family barely sees her, with her uncle Noel Duggan saying: “We don’t see much of her. She lives like a queen. She is a recluse”.

“Throughout the music business there’s no one else who is so successful about whom so little is known. She doesn’t socialise, she’s barely seen out of the house, there aren’t any clues in her lyrics about her life,” an industry insider revealed.

“Even at her album launches, label bosses will hold a large event rather than ask her to do individual interviews, as they make her so uncomfortable.”

“She’s a huge question mark. With the exception of the Ryans, even people who have worked with her for years know nothing about her.”

Enya made a rare live performance this month at the Echo Awards.
Enya made a rare live performance this month at the Echo Awards.

Enya once commented on her love life, saying that music is her first and present love.

“Falling madly in love and getting married would be the most horrific thing that could happen. My affairs are with melody and words and beautiful sounds,” she said.

“I had partners. But I find long relationships, well, how can I say it without appearing strange?”

“I’m too much devoted to my music. Some people think it sounds sad but believe me, I’m happy. I am my music.”For the first time in seven years, she released a new album in November last year called Dark Sky Island, and made a rare performance this month at the Echo Awards in Berlin.

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