Enya Expands Lyrical Language

Billboard Magazine (USA), 21 November 2005

LOS ANGELES/LONDON (Billboard) - Irish chanteuse Enya has a proven track record, having sold 65 million albums world-wide, according to her label. But she is not afraid to take risks on her first new studio release in five years.

Enya's forthcoming Reprise/Warner Bros. album, the 12-track set "Amarantine," reaches a new level of ethereality. Filled with Enya's signature celestial vocals and haunting arrangements, the project -- due November 22 in the United States and a day earlier internationally -- showcases her voice, and her linguistic talents, like never before.

Past albums have featured Enya singing in English and Gaelic, and occasionally in Latin, Welsh or Spanish. On "Amarantine," she performs three tracks in Loxian, a language created by her long-time lyricist, Roma Ryan.

The new project also includes one track in Japanese, with the remaining songs in English.

In the Moment

"When you are in the studio, your past success doesn't help you," Enya says. "I leave that outside the door so I can capture 12 diverse little stories. I don't focus on being commercial."

Her last album, "A Day Without Rain," sold 13 million copies world-wide to become her best seller, according to Reprise/Warner Bros.

That album was the fourth-biggest seller in the United States in 2001, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, where it spent 103 weeks. The project earned Enya her third Grammy Award for best New Age album.

It also featured the single "Only Time," which became a post-September 11 anthem (although it was recorded before the attacks) and a No. 1 adult contemporary and adult top 40 hit.

Enya says the recording of "Amarantine" proceeded the same way as her previous studio albums, taking nearly two years to complete.

For each track, Enya writes a melody and then brings it to producer/arranger Nicky Ryan and his lyricist wife.

The Ryans have worked with the artist since her 1987 self-titled Atlantic debut. Previously, Nicky Ryan managed the band Clannad, featuring Enya and members of her family.

"The melody comes first," Enya says. "Nicky will create an arrangement, and Roma will write lyrics. We always felt, why not sing in other languages if it suited the song?"

'Ring's Resonance'

The impetus for the Loxian language was Enya's presentation of the new melodies and influences from her work on the soundtrack to 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

"When I came in with a song, I would sing sounds along with it to capture its feeling," Enya recalls. "Roma used some of these sounds to create this language. We had used the fictional language Elvish on 'Lord of the Rings,' and it was very lovely."

Enya says that as she collaborated with Roma Ryan on the new album track "Water Shows the Hidden Heart," they realised the lyric was not working in English, Gaelic or Latin.

"Roma suggested a fictional language for singing and tried to create a culture and history behind it," Enya says. "The Loxians live on another planet and are looking out, wondering, 'Are we the only ones who exist?' It's a beautiful idea."

She performs two other tracks in Loxian -- "Less Than a Pearl" and "The River Sings."

The title track, which is in English and focuses on everlasting love, is the album's first single. It will be released December 5 internationally.

Note: Transcribed by Book of Days.