Eithne Ni Bhraonain, better known as Enya, was born 37 years ago today
in Gweedore, Ireland, to musician parents. Enya's lilting New Age albums
have sold millions despite her almost complete lack of self-promotion.
She is one of the biggest-selling musical artists in the world today.
Enya was classically trained on the piano as a youth and used this to
her advantage in Clannad, a band -- composed of some of her siblings -- in
which she was a member in the
early '80s. After two years in the band, Enya departed to compose music
for "The Celts," a BBC-TV
documentary, with producer Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan. The
soundtrack for the series, which was released in 1986 as Enya's debut
album, resulted in her being signed by WEA, where she continued to work
with the Ryans to make 1988's Watermark. That album featured Enya's
folk melodies and classical motifs, highlighted by Celtic-tinged
synthesizers. With its unique music, coupled with Enya's
multi-tracked, hypnotic vocals, Watermark sold 4 million copies
worldwide and made her an international phenomenon. The album's first
Flow"(RealAudio excerpt), hit the top of the U.K. charts and made a
impression in the U.S.
Following this massive success, Enya made an
appearance on Sinead O'Connor's hit album I Do Not Want
What I Haven't Got (1990). Enya's next album, Shepherd
Moons, wasn't released until 1991, but her fans were ready with open
arms. It debuted in the U.S. in the top 20 and went on to sell more
than 10 million copies globally. She then spent four years working on
her next album, Memory of Trees, which was issued at the tail end
of 1995. Though the music hardly changed from her previous efforts,
Enya still continued to be a potent commercial force. In 1997, she released
a best-of compilation, Paint The Sky With Stars. A limited-edition
box set, A Box of Dreams, was also released in 1997 in the U.K.
Other birthdays: Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson/Genesis), 50; George
Johnson (Brothers Johnson), 45; Paul Di'Anno (Iron Maiden), 39; Dave
Abbruzzese (ex-Pearl Jam), 34; and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), 33.