Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin (anglicised as Enya Patricia Brennan (ə/); born 17 May 1961), known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer, songwriter and musician. Born into a musical family and raised in the Irish-speaking area of Gweedore in County Donegal, Enya began her music career when she joined her family's Celtic band Clannad in 1980 on keyboards and backing vocals. She left in 1982 with their manager and producer Nicky Ryan to pursue a solo career, with Ryan's wife Roma Ryan as her lyricist. Enya developed her sound over the following four years with multitracked vocals and keyboards with elements of new age, Celtic, classical, church, and folk music. She has sung in ten languages.
Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin was born on 17 May 1961 in Dore, within the area of the parish Gaoth Dobhair, in the northwestern country of Donegal, Ireland. It is a Gaeltacht region where Irish is the primary language. Her name is anglicised as Enya Patricia Brennan, where Enya is the phonetic spelling of how Eithne is pronounced in her native Ulster dialect of Irish; "Ní Bhraonáin" translates to "daughter of Brennan". The fifth of nine children, Enya was born into a Roman Catholic family of musicians. Her father Leo Brennan was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band, an Irish showband, and ran Leo's Tavern in Meenaleck; her mother Máire Brennan (née Duggan), whose ancestors settled on Tory Island and had distant Spanish roots, was an amateur musician who played in Leo's band and taught music at Gweedore Community School. Enya's maternal grandfather Aodh was the headmaster of the primary school in Dore, and her grandmother was a teacher there. Aodh was also the founder of the Gweedore Theatre company.
Enya described her upbringing as "very quiet and happy." At age three, she took part in her first singing competition at the annual Feis Ceoil music festival. She took part in pantomimes at Gweedore Theatre and sang with her siblings in her mother's choir at St Mary's church in Derrybeg. She learned English at primary school and began piano lessons at age four. "I had to do school work and then travel to a neighbouring town for piano lessons, and then more school work. I ... remember my brothers and sisters playing outside ... and I would be inside playing the piano. This one big book of scales, practising them over and over." At eleven, Enya's grandfather paid for her education at a strict convent boarding school in Milford run by nuns of the Loreto order, where she developed a taste for classical music, art, Latin and watercolour painting. "It was devastating to be torn away from such a large family, but it was good for my music." Enya left the school at 17 and studied classical music in college for one year with the aim of becoming "a piano teacher sort of person. I never thought of myself composing or being on stage."