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Enya on the "Late Late Show "

Transcript by: only-time (Enya Fan Studio)
Aired: RTÉ (Ireland) (March 24, 2006)




[ Pat Kenny is the host of the show ]

Pat

Welcome back. It's been quite a time since my next guest came into the studio for a chat. It must have been 9 or 10 years ago. She is one of the biggest selling female artists in history at 69 million albums and counting. She is bigger worldwide than Madonna. Yet, for most of the time, she lives a quiet life in Dublin. Originally from Gweedore, in County Donegal, a big welcome, please for Enya.

[ The audience applauds as Enya performs "Amarantine".... ]

[ The audience applauds again after the performance ]

Pat

[ To the audience ] That's Enya there and "Amarantine". A very unusual word. It's the title of the album, and of course, the title of the track. Where does it come from? Well, we'll find out now.

[ Enya walks over to be interviewed ]

[ To Enya ] Enya, you're very welcome to the show.

Enya

Thank you.

Pat

Thank you very much for being here. Now, it is an awful long time, isn't it, since you had a chat here?

Enya

It's quite a few years.

Pat

Quite a few years.

Enya

We won't go into the date, but um....

Pat

But it's in the 90s....

Enya

[ laughs ] Yes it was.

Pat

Not even in the naughties.

Enya

No, it was.

Pat

Amarantine: Where does that come from? Where does that word come from?

Enya

It's actually an old English word that means everlasting. And the song I'd written, it's very much a love song. And when I was working with Roma on the words, Roma Ryan, who's the lyricist for the album, she thought it would be so beautiful to use the word, amarantine, because it's again, an old English word, but it means everlasting. So, the song was about love. So, the song is everlasting love.

Pat

The album's already very successful, some 4 million copies gone platinum in all the usual territories where you work. Do you find it a pressure? The last album sold, what, 13 million? And it's still selling, cause your albums sell forever and forever and forever. Do you find it a pressure then to kind of match the success of the previous one?

Enya

I find, when I go to the studio, I try not to think about the sales aspect of how the albums had done previously. I try to focus a lot on the music. So, we have our own studio, myself, and the producer, Nicky Ryan, and we tend to kind of walk in and kind of focus on what are we going to do, and what are we going to work on. So, in that way, I can actually separate, the successes from the albums. When you release the album, you're very anxious. Then you think, "Oh, is there anybody going to listen to the music? Will they still want to hear?" Because the last time, it's like 5 years since my last album. So that's quite a big gap.

Pat

Have they forgotten it?

Enya

Well, yes that can happen. That can happen.

Pat

But, clearly, they haven't forgotten it?

Enya

Not so far.

Pat

And makes you what, 69 million albums. America's very good to you. What other places are you sort of absolutely huge?

Enya

It's worldwide, really. Because....

Pat

But Japan though....

Enya

Yeah. Japan and Europe and, I'm still on the promotional trip, you know....

Pat

You are the number one female artist in Japan, I....

Enya

[ laughs ] Yes.

Pat

Yeah.

Enya

Yes.

Pat

Which is kind of funny because when you are at home you kind of lead a very quiet life, don't you?

Enya

Yes, I do. Because I find, I'm, you know, I work a lot on the music. And then when I'm promoting, it's like, you're in every city. You know, you're in Tokyo. You're in New York. You're in L.A. And it's a lot of time and I enjoy it, my work, but then I'm very guarded to my own time, as they say. So....

Pat

Yeah. You know you have a reputation for being a recluse. You know that, don't you?

Enya

[ laughs ] Yes.

Pat

Now, are you a recluse?

Enya

Um....Well, what do you think? [ laughs ]

Pat

Well....I don't see you in the queens in Dalkey very often for a pint. Let's put it that way.

[ audience laughs ]

Enya

I'd be more likely in a restaurant with friends and....

Pat

So, you're not a recluse.

Enya

No. No. I mean, the word recluse, depends on how you define it, but, like the fact some people see me as locking doors and staying....

Pat

I want to be alone.

Enya

Like how would I get the albums done? Because everyday I'm working, or, so far I've been just travelling abroad. So, sometimes I don't spend a lot of time in Ireland when I'm travelling.

Pat

Yeah. And but because of your reputation and you mention that you're big in virtually all the major territories in the world. You're going to get people taking an unhealthy interest in you. I mean, recently, you had that scare where your housekeeper was actually, was, held hostage?

Enya

Yeah. It's something that has happned since the success of my first album. I have to say that there are pros and cons to success. And one of the con aspect is that I've had stalkers from day one and it's something that, when it happens, it is quite traumatic. But, I tend not to give it a lot of space and I try to move on with what I'm doing. I mean, I just went back into the studio. Not to give it a lot of space, because if it's an ongoing problem, I don't want to be so scared that I won't walk the street, and become then, a recluse.

Pat

Yeah, and then you would....

Enya

[ laughs ] Yes.

Pat

As I said you would become then a recluse. But in terms of stalking, is it more than one? Or do you know?

Enya

Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Pat

You've lots?

Enya

There's quite a few of them. Yeah.

Pat

Yeah. And what is it, do you think that attracts them to do that kind of....? Is it the mystical nature of the music? You know, there are people who kind of think that they're on the same planet as you are and therefore, that you and....they belong together and something like that?

Enya

Yeah. It can be an obession to me as a person or just the music. So the music, they say is, giving them this message and they want to kind of talk to me about this message to get them in the music. And then, so it can be either me or the music.

Pat

Yeah. Now you have recorded in Irish, of course, being from Gweedore.

Enya

Mmhmm.

Pat

You've recorded in English. You've recorded, I believe, in Japanese?

Enya

Yes, I have. Yeah.

Pat

Other languages?

Enya

This new language.

Pat

There's a new language? I just thought of that. But besides the world languages that you've recorded in, this new language, what's it called, Loxian?

Enya

It's Loxian.

Pat

Now, where does that language come from?

Enya

It's a language that Roma has created for the album. And, I suppose if we go back to work in the soundtrack for Lord of the Rings, Roma had sort of studied Tolkien's, fictional language for the lyrics to "Aniron" and "May It Be", the two songs on the soundtrack. And we enjoyed it so much, working the fictional language, and, therefore, when we came to one song, and the lyrics were written, and I went to sing it.

Pat

In English?

Enya

Yes. I went to sing it: "Water Shows the Hidden Heart", and it didn't work. It actually didn't work. And this is one of the reasons we do try other languages, because we always feel that we're trying to get across what the song is about. I'm going to try and sort of capture an emotion, what the song is about. So, if the language is wrong, then we feel, that we have to loop further. So Roma then, came in with the first line, which is, "Syoombraya", and I went to sing it, and that's how it started.

Pat

It just sounded right.

Enya

It did sound right.

Pat

Is there a Loxian dictionary now, so they can actually translate....

Enya

Well, what had happened was, it was one song firstly. And then two other songs now are sung in Loxian. But again, it was a case of, we thought, you know, one of the songs, "The River Sings". I was sure it was going to be in Gaelic when I'd written it. But then I'd sung it in Gaelic and I thought, "This is not working with the melody." And at this stage Roma was expanding the language. So, for each song she actually would expand more and more.

Pat

So there is a lexicon of Loxian now.

Enya

Well, what she has done now, she's written a book about it and she's giving them their own history and their own culture: the Loxian people. So, it was so inspiring for me. It was so beautiful to work with.

Pat

Now you mentioned Roma, and you mentioned, Nicky, your producer. What is the creative process between the three of you. How does it work?

Enya

Well, basically, I would go to the studio and I would put together a melody, and that can take me awhile. I still find the success doesn't make it any easier to write a melody. But once I have the melody and I'll play it to Nicky and to Roma and we feel, "Yes. This is a song we want to work on." Then I start to arrange the music with Nicky, and then Roma starts to write the lyrics.

Pat

And in terms of instrumentation, I mean, do you have.. bring in live orchestras, or do you use keyboards again and again and layer things, or how does it work?

Enya

There's a lot of layers of sound that we put together to create what kind of sounds, like an orchestra. So, it's a case of, not only does Nicky sort of get me to layer my voice and harmonize, but also with the sounds, that we sort of discover and that I would actually play, like on the piano or on the strings.

Pat

And ultimately, we end up with an album like Amarantine.

Enya

Umhmm.

Pat

And I mentioned that people think you are a recluse, but a recluse wouldn't go to the Oscars, would she?

Enya

[ laughs ] Probably not.

Pat

You went to the Oscars?

Enya

Yes. Yes. Yes, I did.

Pat

How was that experience?

Enya

That was so exciting. It was so exciting because I started with soundtrack with the BBC and with David Puttnam. So, it's something that I've kept sort of working with the visual with doing a song when we could for a film. So, to work with again, as I mentioned Lord of the Rings, which is a book I read many years ago, and I loved it.

Pat

Which been nominated. I know you didn't really expect to win did you?

Enya

Uhhh...

Pat

You hoped to win? But....

Enya

It was again, it was so overwhelming for me that I enjoyed it. But, I suppose for everyone who was standing there, and I'm standing next to Paul McCartney and Sting and Randy Newman. And you kind of feel, well the competition is kind of tough here.

Pat

Kind of tough.

Enya

But, yeah. It was very exciting.

Pat

But, also because of the kind of feeling there is, abroad in America at the moment. You know, they were going to go in a particular direction. They....

Enya

Well, it's difficult to know. It's difficult to know. But....

Pat

Have you met Sir Paul before? Were you a fan of Paul and the Beatles?

Enya

Of course. Of course, because, like, I always talk about the influences musically and I would sort of lean towards my classical and my Irish traditional roots. But, Nicky always brings the Beatles influence to the albums. So, it's there. So to actually meet him was.... It's quite exciting.

Pat

Now, I heard that you were asked to write the music for Titanic? Is that right?

Enya

I had been sort of one of the names of sort of one of the composers of possibly to sort of collaborate in the song.

Pat

Not interested really?

Enya

Then it just didn't happen. So yeah.

Pat

Yeah. And what do you think of what did emerge the end? I mean, do you think I could've done better than that.

Enya

Uhh. [ laughs ]

Pat

Or you don't like to criticize fellow composers.

Enya

No, because it's difficult to work with certain directors. You know, you have to kind of, you have to sort of come up to their expectations and they can change their mind just overnight. So, it's, you know, it can be very tough.

Pat

Now another thing. It was accidental most, but you became part of the soundtrack to the post- 9/11 situtation.

Enya

Mmm. Hmm.

Pat

How did that happen?

Enya

Well, basically, we got news from people in America who saw footage, where CNN were using the song, "Only Time", which had been.... I was out there promoting it that year. And when I saw the footage it was absolutely so moving. But, in a way, I think everybody in the world felt that if there was any way that we could help them in New York, because it was so traumatized. And they felt there was going to be no more normality ever in the city. And they leaned toward certain songs and one of them was "Only Time" because the song is about time will heal. "Only Time" can tell, and this is what their hope was. So, what we did then was we released the single, the single had never been released there, so we released the single, and then gave all the proceeds then to the fire department.

Pat

To the fire department, who lost so many people.

Enya

Yes they did. Yeah.

Pat

But, it must be uncanny in a way or maybe an uneasy feeling when a song you wrote about, love and time will heal, and to see the horrible imagery of 9/11 superimposed on your music or vice versa? It must have been strange.

Enya

It was strange. But, I'd hoped that the song meant a lot to me as well about how time can heal, and I'd hoped that this was the message that we're getting into a lot of people. That is what the message they were getting because when I went there to perform it and to sing it, it was nice to be able to give them back some healing because they were so desparate you know, to get any help at that time.

Pat

And it became the iconic song of that period.

Enya

Mmhmm.

Pat

You're in the middle of the world tour, is that right?

Enya

Mmhmm. Yeah. Promoting.

Pat

So where to next?

Enya

Back to America...Asia...Europe. So it would be a few more months.

Pat

And do you actually get to see these places or is in a straight in 5-star hotel? Perform. Onto the plane. Off 5-star hotel. Or do you actually get to see places?

Enya

I try to see when I'm in a city. I was just there in Taiwan and they have the tallest building in the world, the 101, and I got to get a tour in the 101 and I went to the fastest lift in the world. So I try to incorporate few days before and after my work.

Pat

Yeah. Because it would be a shame to be going to all these places and not to enjoy the fruits of your success. You know, if you get access to places

Enya

That is important to actually experience the different cultural aspects of these countries and yet to enjoy the cities. Yeah.

Pat

Everyone knows... You know, the expression, "My home is my castle."?

[ both laugh ]

In your case, it's literally true. Isn't it?

Enya

Yes it is. Yeah.

Pat

No plans to share your castle with anybody?

Enya

You always ask me this question.

Pat

I do everytime. [ Enya laughs ] But, I mean, come on give me a break. I haven't asked you for eight years.

Enya

Well, that where its kind of uh...where I....

Pat

At the moment.

Enya

Yeah. I kind of don't interfere into that side, you know. What's happening in my private lifestyle....

Pat

But you can't blame me for asking.

Enya

[ laughs ] It's fine. It's fine.

Pat

Alright, Enya. The current album is beautiful. Absolutely.

Enya

Thank you.

Pat

And thank you very much for coming in and cheering with us tonight.

[ Audience applauds. ]

Enya

You're very welcome. Thank you.

Pat

Enya thank you so much.

Enya

Thank you.

Pat
Thank you so much.

Enya

Thank you very much.

[ The audience applauds ]



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