The other day I read an article about Enya, a 54-year-old songwriter and singer who had some success in the U.S. in the 1990s (I was a fan), and how she has surprisingly done what all creative artists long for: become a wildly popular seller, been able to avoid touring and promoting her work, and is able to seclude herself so she can privately – and without disruption – work 24/7 on her craft. A part of me was jealous and a part was sad.
Enya apparently is UK’s biggest success story for a female singer. She has sold 75 million albums and is worth a reported 167 million bucks. However, it sounds like she doesn’t get to spend her fortune because she’s too busy hiding in her castle. Yes, a castle!
The report says she long ago swore off having a long-term relationship with men because she didn’t believe she could dedicate enough time to him or deal with his needs. She is extremely focused on her work.
Though it’s admirable that she wants to pour herself into producing a quantity of quality work, doesn’t she want a life of her own? What’s the point of wealth and success if you don’t share it and join the living?
You have to wonder how informed her music is if it’s based on living a monk-like existence. She’s writing and singing for the masses. How far removed is she from those she seeks to touch?
On the other hand, with no spouse or kids, no financial worries, and no other obligations, burdens or distractions, she is able to zone in on her passion. She’s able to plunge the depths of her creativity unobstructed. She can tune in to her inner-self and actually hear just her voice. But as much as writers crave such an opportunity, I think most would need a balance. Yes to occasional solitude and spontaneous writing without having to reschedule a day, but also yes to family, friends, love, and fresh air. Yes to life and all of its wonder and foibles, to its beauty and hatred, to sex and violence, to nature and pollution. Bring it all on!
Is Enya happy or some kind of social misfit or mentally disturbed individual? Who knows? For those who just love her music, they may ask, “Who cares?”
It is hard to feel bad for someone who chooses to live life on her terms, especially for a successful person who has the resources to choose many different paths. But maybe she is making a sacrifice for us. Is she giving up parts of her life so that she can produce music that millions can live by? Is she a victim of her talent?
It takes self-discipline to be a productive writer, artist, or musician. It requires thousands of hours of research, practice, experimentation, and execution. Enya has found the way to do what most dream of. Hopefully it’s not her nightmare.
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