Roma is Enya’s lyricist. She is married to Nicky Ryan.
Roma first met Enya in 1978 through her boyfriend Nicky who was managing Clannad at the time. When Enya left the family group, she moved to Dublin to live with Nicky and Roma.
It was Roma who sent a tape of Enya’s early piano melodies to the British film producer David Puttman. Intrigued, he proposed Enya to compose a romantic soundrack for his next movie. It was back then when Roma wrote words to ‘The Frog Prince’, those being her first lyrics for Enya. Enya often says that she has no desire to write her own lyrics because Roma can sense emotions in her melodies so well and express them so beautifully.
At first we worked on soundtracks, so there was no need for lyrics. So I used to dedicate and focus mainly on melody. And then when it came that we were asked for lyrics to write a song I felt I had given everything I wanted towards the melody, and I had no inclination or desire to try and translate my emotions in lyrics. But at this stage I was living with Nicky and Roma, and Roma got to know me very well, and she’d been working on the project with me, and she felt that she could conjure the feelings that I was feeling through the melody and what I wanted to say in lyrics, and that’s how it came about, how she started to write the lyrics.Enya for ABC, 1992
Roma writes my voice, I sing her heart.
Nicky makes everything happen.Enya
I love knowledge. I love learning. I love the discovery of something new. I love naming things. I love secrets and codes. I love books. I love art. (…) I love being with people who have a good sense of humour. I am all for people who try their best, regardless of outcome. That’s all you can ask.Roma in her book of answers, 2005 (enya.com)
‘Ask me anything’ interview
Watch Roma answer questions about herself submitted by fans.
Inspiration behind lyrics
Roma explains stories and inspiration behind the songs in liner notes that accompany the albums. They can be found in collections, some music books and promotional boxes.
For the most part I find I write about personal experiences which are translated into lyric. Some are experiences, some are hopes or dreams. Occasionally Enya will express a wish for a certain theme, such as when she wanted the song "Smaointe" or "Smaoineamh" (which means "Thoughts") to be dedicated to her grandparents, to be written about her grandparents, to whom she was very close. Or Nicky might suggest or ask for certain sounds or words that he wants in a piece (that’s always the most challenging!) But generally I have a blank canvas, so to speak.Roma in her book of answers, 2005 (enya.com)
Roma is also a visual artist, some examples of her artwork may be viewed on her official website. The image on the right is a represention of the everlasting Amarantine flower created with the song’s lyrics.
Roma sometimes appears at press conferences and was interviewed in both ‘A Life in Music’ documentary and ‘And Winter Came‘ electronic press kit. She also provides the majority of Aigle’s contact with fans on the official Enya website and the Unity forum.
Favourite poets: Pablo Neruda (Chile), Ted Hughes (England) and Octavio Paz (Mexico)