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Enya on "Breakfast with the Arts "

Transcript by: only-time (Enya Fan Studio)
Aired: A&E (USA) (February 12, 2006)




[ Karina Huber is the host of the show ]

Karina

A two time Grammy winner, Acadamey Award nominee, and one of the top selling female vocalists of all time, Enya, is known for her blend of sublime melodies, symphonic caverns of sound, and classical motifs. Now she is back with her latest album, Amarantine, which features songs in a variety of different languages, including one that is invented. Please welcome, Enya.

[ A videoclip of "Orinoco Flow" plays ]

Karine

Thank you for stopping by, first of all.

Enya

You're welcome.

Karina

The first thing obviously that we notice when listening to your album is that there's a language that we've never heard of before called Loxian.

Enya

Mm-hmm.

Karina

Tell us what prompted you to record in a brand new language?

Enya

Well, it's to do with working on Lord of the Rings, firstly, because when I was asked to work on that project by Peter Jackson, the director, the lyricist, who works with me, Roma Ryan, we thought it would be really nice to sing in the fictional language that Tolkien had created: Elvish language. And we enjoyed it so much, and when we began working on this album, I'm kind of known for singing in quite a few languages on the albums. But it's a case of sort of looking for what is the right language for the song, the melody that I've written. And it was a song called" Water Shows the Hidden Heart", and we had written the lyrics in English, but the English was very obtrusive to the melody to perform. So Roma had suggested to write a fictional language called Loxian.

Karina

Now, every language has its distinct personality. How would you describe that of Loxian?

Enya

I think it's the first language she brought to me to sing, um," Water Shows the Hidden Heart", "Syoombraya", and it was perfect, because when I actually write a melody, I actually sing, I would sing sounds. You know, the emotional sort of feeling of the song would be inherent in how I perform, which is sounds. So she based it on some of the sounds that I was making, and vowels that suited the song. So, trying to work around sort of having story and then to adapt it to this new fictional language. It was so interesting. And for us, it was, "Why not?!" It sounded right, and to us, in the studio, that is very very important. When we're working, we never question, "Why?". It's more to do with, "That sounds right. That's what we'll do."

Karina

And you carried it on beyond, because I understand there's almost a back story to the Loxians.

Enya

Hmm-hmm.

Karina

And I notice that in the three songs that are sung in Loxian, that there's a sort of thread that ties them together, the theme of journey.

Enya

Hmm-hmm.

Karina

So, can you tell us who are the Loxians, and....what do they think about?

Enya

Well, it was so nice to watch Roma sort of put together not just the language, but the people, the Loxian people. Because the more involved we got with the language, she felt it would be nice to create their own culture, their own history, what they were about. So, basically they live in their own world, on a planet, Loxian planet. And she said there are astronomers who are looking towards to see, "Does anybody else exist?' They have their maps. They have, you know, they're looking out into space wondering, "Who is there?". And that's one of the songs, "Less Than a Pearl" - that's them looking to Earth, because it looks like less than a pearl to them. That's how they refer to the planet. So, it was so interesting to not only sort of create the language, but to create a history with the Loxian language, the Loxian people.

Karina

And does having that imagery help you in the creative process?

Enya

Oh, of course it does. Because to begin with, when the lyric had been written firstly. I mean, it's important, even though that people won't understand what I'm singing, it's the same as if I were to sing in my first language, Gaelic. A lot of people do not speak Gaelic. But it's important for me, to know the song - what it's about, what I am trying to get across in my performance. So I have to really sort of think about what I am singing, who I am singing about, and what the story is about.

[ Videoclip of "Caribbean Blue" plays ]

Karina

Of course, also what you're most known for is this incredible ethereal voice. And I read that it was while you were at boarding school, at the age of 12, that you first found your voice. And I....I can't quite understand what you mean by "found your voice"?

Enya

That's more to do with being brought up in a big family, and having older brothers and sisters, and people making decisions for you. It was more to do with my independence, because I'm right in the middle of the family. And then when I went to boarding school everything is my own choice. And I've always had a great love of music, though, and I was singing at a very young age. My first recollection would be on stage, it's four years of age. So....

Karina

On stage.

Enya

Yes! Yeah. So....

Karina

But, your first professional experience was working with a group, that consisted of some of your family members. But I've heard you say that you found that almost a lonely experience for you. What, you felt....alienated? Is that true?

Enya

Well, I have to say that how I got involved with my own family was, it was the manager, Nicky Ryan, who I work with now. And he.... I had just left school and he wanted to bring another texture, vocal texture, to the group, and also to play the piano and the keyboards. And I find this a great challenge coming from boarding school and then to be performing on stage. But, what I find was they had found their own music, and what they were working on, and I find it musically not as challenging, that's what it was. I enjoyed the touring aspect of it, but when I got talking to Nicky and to Roma, Nicky himself, he had a lot of ideas, musically. And one of them was to use the voice as a lead vocal, but then to use it also as an instrument. And he had this idea to layer the voices, and he knew I had a great love of harmony. So, we do this, where it's very....a lot of people think we know how to achieve that sound, but it's always experimental for us in the studio. Each song is a totally different story, and we're not really sure on what the end result is going to be like. So it's always kind of a trial and error for me in the studio.

Karina

I'd like to go back to some of the early days, though, when you first were starting your career, and, you know, you decided to put out an album. What sort of risks did you take, recording this first album?

Enya

Umm....

Karina

With, with your team?

Enya

It was important when we signed with the record company. It was important that we had the freedom to record the music as we saw it. Arrange it as we saw it, and also it was kind of unusual to sing in, you know, Gaelic, or in Latin....

Karina

Latin.

Enya

....Or in Welsh. And also to have instrumentals, because I have a great love of piano. So, I found just sometimes, like at the beginning when I started to write music, I wrote instrumental music. So, it can happen when I'm writing music that it's not all songs. So I feel I have the freedom to incorporate an instrumental where, you know, it suits the album. So, we made sure that we had the freedom to put together an album, and not to seek too many opinions. So that's, in itself, is kind of a risk factor, because you're not really sure how people are going to receive the music.

Karina

I know it's very hard to speak about one's self....but the music is not the obvious for mainstream audience....yet you've sold somewhere in the realm of 65 million copies worldwide, so, in your opinion, what do you think it is that obviously so many people resonate with your music?

Enya

It's very hard to know what the music means to the individual person, but I think, for me, and for Nicky and Roma, it's very personal, and a lot of people sort of can pick up on that side of it. It's also, you know, doesn't restrict in any way. It's quite diverse, to me, because like I said, there's an instrumental, there's a song in Gaelic, there's a song in Latin, there's an up-tempo song, classical feel. There's, you know, the influences that I have musically would be classical, but Nicky's influences musically would be, you know, Beach Boys, the Beatles. So, there's a combination there that I think a lot of people in some way, that there is something for everyone, you know.

Karina

There really is, and the music is very unique, and I really enjoy it.

Enya

Thank you.

Karina

There is a mystique about you. And I wonder when you are the object of "mystique", do you see yourself as mysterious?

Enya

I've just always done, you know, what I'm comfortable....to do. And I just feel, at the beginning with the success of the music, I felt that the music came first, which for some artists, that is quite unusual, so a lot of people didn't know who I was. But a lot of people were listening to Watermark, and I love that, because my first love is of music, and I always feel it's more important to me what happens musically. Then, you know, trying to sort of work out where the career is going. And, I kind of..once I go into the studio, that's all I think about, you know. And it's kind....it's good because it makes for being quite creative in the studio, rather than trying to reproduce something I've done, you know, previously.

Karina

Right.

Enya

So, it's important for me never to lose sight of that.

Karina

And lastly, I wanted to get your take on just the way the Irish are so prolific with their writing, their singing....their playwrights....you know. Why do you think it is that the Irish are so good at conveying different emotions and storytelling?

Enya

I think that the Irish are very passionate [ giggles ] and it comes through in their work, you know. And the poetry, and music, and it's always been there. And it's so lovely to get the recognition now in the country, because for a while, a lot of people, you know, would go to Europe, and Ireland was a place that people would sort of visit, as such. But now, there's quite a big recognition to the country, and it's good for the country.

Karina

And you're definitely a part of that.

Enya

Thank you.

Karina

So, thank you very much, for....

Enya

You're welcome.

Karina

....stopping in today.

[ Videoclip of "Only Time" plays ]

Karina

Enya's new release, Amarantine, is available in stores now.



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