How does it feel to release your first studio album in five years?
The way I work, it’s kind of like I love to forget about the success and the listener and just focus solely on the music. Because of that, that means that it’s like your first album each time [laughs]. The anticipation is there and kind of, “Will anybody want to listen to this?” So far, the reaction has been very, very positive.
Where did you draw the inspiration for the album’s title?
The Irish weather [laughs]. The pace of the album, I really enjoyed it — it’s a very positive feel to the album because of that: I would begin the day by going for a walk in the park which is nearby to me. It has a wooded area overlooking the Irish Sea and it’s very beautiful. So, this one day it wasn’t raining and I went for a walk and then I got to the studio and wrote the title track, which is a piano melody.
Your recording process is very painstaking because you do all the vocals and the instruments.
It takes time, definitely. Especially when I’m writing melodies, which is such a very slow process for me [laughs]. What I have written in the last two years, that is all I have written. I will go in the studio, sit there in front of the piano keyboard, I’ll sing a melody, I’ll play a melody. But even though I might not have written anything that particular day, it’s a day closer to writing a melody. I’m trying to express something. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m gonna sit there and find what that is.
A Day Without Rain seems like a very optimistic album.
It was very positive. I have to say that on finishing the album, I had a very content feeling. I feel I’ve given 100 percent and I’m really happy with the music.
Though you’ve had incredible success in your career, you’ve also managed to maintain a very private life.
I enjoy doing promotional work but there’s a stage where I feel I’ve said it all and I’m very happy to stand back. And it’s been wonderful that I have that choice. Some people enjoy the hype. I’m fine with that, but there’s a stage where it becomes a little bit false and that’s where I have to get back to my roots, get back to my life. So, I go to Donegal [Ireland] and meet with family and friends and they’re gonna treat me as Enya. That’s great — it keeps your feet firmly on the ground.
I understand that you purchased a Victorian castle a few years ago.
Yes, it was in the summer of ’97 and I was looking for property to buy. It’s in the suburbs of Dublin. I have to say that when I walked in, it’s a small castle, the exterior is very much a castle, but the interior is very much of a homely feel. It’s not this castle with huge corridors and huge ballrooms.
Have you moved in yet?
No, it was only the beginning of ’98 that I met with these architects that deal with restoring buildings. I kind of had an idea already what I wanted it to look like because I think that [the previous owners] had kind of mixed a little bit of medieval with Victorian and I found it totally wrong. I felt it would be nice to restore it back to what it should look like. It’s kind of been a hobby of mine during the album, kind of watching this place being changed completely.
Because of time constraints, you’ve never had the chance to tour. Do you have any plans to tour with A Day Without Rain?
I definitely would love to. I haven’t toured as of yet because the priority seems to go to working on an album and the process of putting an album together is quite slow for us. But it’s very possible. It’s not possible to emulate the same sound, but the feeling myself and Nicky have is get the orchestra on stage, a choir and musicians on stage and it’s gonna be a different rendering of the music but I think it’d be very exciting.
Your fans would certainly be happy about that. Do you get a lot of fan mail?
Yes, I do. Some of them can be very emotional. Maybe it’s the way they feel that I am very open with my emotions to them that they feel it’s like confiding in a friend. That is a wonderful feeling and I never get tired of being told about what the music means to the people. There’s a lot of things I’ve learned about myself through writing the music. There’s a lot of questions I’ve been asking myself through the years and I feel I’ve been answering them through writing the music as well. It’s so wonderful to share those moments.
People Magazine: 05 Dec, 2000