Singer Enya eyes concert stage as "Winter" arrives

Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:55pm EST
 
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By Mark Sutherland

LONDON (Billboard) - With her new album off to a strong start, ethereal-voiced Irish singer Enya is considering touring for the first time in her career.

"And Winter Came," released November 11 on Reprise in the United States and a day earlier on Warner Bros. in the United Kingdom, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 92,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Enya's manager/producer Nicky Ryan says the original plan was to use the six songs she recorded for a Christmas EP in 2006 alongside new recordings for a covers-based project. But things changed in the studio, and the finished product has only two traditional songs, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night)." Enya's early-career version of the latter song has proved perennially popular.

"I'm a big fan of Christmas music," Enya says. "I wanted to take what I love about traditional carols and bring it into the 21st century."

Enya's last album, "Amarantine," came out in 2005. Big gaps between albums don't seem to affect the singer's enduring popularity, however. Neither does the fact that she has never toured. Nielsen SoundScan has logged 25.2 million total sales for Enya since it began tracking sales in 1991.

Ryan, who with his lyricist wife, Roma Ryan, has guided Enya's career since recruiting her to the band Clannad in 1980, credits her enduring popularity to that low profile. "She's not always in your face. We're not always trying to sell you something," he says.

"To me, success and fame are two very different things," Enya adds, although she and Ryan both say she may tour for the first time next year.

"We're definitely talking about it," she says. "I'll be promoting until February, and that's when we'll sit down and think, 'What's next?'"

But even if she does take that leap to the concert stage, not much else about her approach to music will change. "For some artists, after 10 years of success, they finally get to make the album they've always wanted to do," Enya says. "But I was able to say that about my first album. I'm very aware that I break all the rules."

Reuters/Billboard