Although it is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Enya, her melodies are a popular source of samples for hip-hop and electronic artists. You’ve probably heard about The Fugees and Mario Winans sampling ‘Boadicea’ on their hit singles, but they are by far not the only ones that used Enya’s songs in their work.
A haunting tune without lyrics, ‘Boadicea’ is undoubtedly the song of choice when it comes to sampling Enya’s music. The general public first became aware of ‘Boadicea’ when it was played over the end credits of the 1992 horror movie ‘Sleepwalkers.’ However, the real rise to fame came when The Fugees sampled the song four years later on their album ‘The Score.’
The story became kind of a legend after The Fugees sampled ‘Boadicea’ on ‘Ready or Not,’ their re-interpretation of The Delfonics’ ‘Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love),’ without permission. The song became a huge hit and Enya’s recording company prepared to sue the group for copyright infringement. Because it would mean withdrawing the album from the shelves, Enya decided not to follow through with the suit. The case was settled out of court with The Fugees agreeing to give Enya credit and all royalties from the single. The Fugees later thanked and praised Enya for her understanding of the situation, even mentioning her in the liner notes of ‘The Score.’
I was annoyed that they didn’t ask us, but it worked out ok; we had a choice of making Sony take it off the shelves but what are you going to do that for? They were a young band so we worked something out and it was cool.Nicky Ryan, Warner Music press release, 2008
I would have been flattered had they asked me. But I was completely hurt because on the back of their album, the other people who are sampled are credited and I’m not. Immediately the publisher wanted to pull the song off the album… but when their manager heard about it, he got in touch with me and Nicky and Roma and apologized. I was concerned about my fans because a lot of rap albums have obscene language and I didn’t want people to think I would be involved. But their manager explained the band’s message and that it’s different because it’s hip-hop, not rap. I thought about it and I know what it’s like to work so hard in the studio, so we decided to let them leave the song on, but with a sticker on the back.Enya, The New York Times, 1997
The Fugees: Ready or Not, The Score (1996)
Mario Winans later sampled ‘Boadicea’ on his 2003 song ‘I Don’t Wanna Know.’ Producer P. Diddy personally contacted Enya’s team for permission and agreed to give her 60% of the royalties. She also received name billing ‘Mario Winans featuring Enya and P. Diddy’ for the song, which put her name on the second place of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. (Who would have thought this would ever happen?)
Mario Winans feat. Enya and P. Diddy: I Don’t Wanna Know, Hurt No More (2004)
In 2016, Salvatore sampled ‘Boadicea’ on his song ‘Dive’ and Enya was credited as a featured artist.
Salvatore ft. Enya & Alex Aris: Dive (2016)
German techno band Scooter covered a short part of ‘Exile’ on their single ‘Jigga! Jigga!’ The song used only Exile’s melody; the lyrics were changed and the vocals were sung by Scooter’s occassional vocalist Nikk.
Scooter: Jigga Jigga!, Mind the Gap (2004)
One by One
Rihanna’s song ‘Fading’ starts with a short sped-up sample of ‘One by One.’
Rihanna: Fading, Loud (2010)
If you want to dig deeper into the subject, WhoSampled lists over 60 songs containing Enya samples. To be honest, most of them are not my cup of tea, but if you are into hip-hop and electro you might find something you like.
While not technically a sample, my favourite use of Enya’s music is this unofficial mash-up of ‘Lazy Days’ and ‘Royals.’