Nicky Ryan

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Nicky Ryan
Birth nameNicholas Dominick Ryan
Born1949 (age 69–70)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation(s)Music producer, recording engineer, manager
Associated actsEnya, Clannad

Nicholas Dominick Ryan (born 1949) is an Irish music producer, recording engineer, and manager. He is best known as the longtime business and recording partner for the singer, songwriter and musician Enya alongside his wife, poet and lyricist Roma Ryan. Born and raised in Dublin, Ryan gained initial recognition in the 1970s and 1980s for his work with several artists including Gary Moore, Planxty, Christy Moore and Clannad.

Early life[edit]

Nicholas Dominick Ryan was born in 1949 in Dublin, Ireland. As a youngster, he won a song contest with a rendition of "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller for which the prize was to meet the Beatles, one of his favourite bands. However, Ryan could not claim the prize as he could not afford the fare to England to see them.[1]

After finishing school, Ryan worked as a teacher at St. Mary's School for Deaf Girls in Dublin, where he experimented with sound engineering to create a way for the deaf children to "hear" music. He designed a speaker system based on the lower end of a pipe organ that allowed for considerable bass to travel across a spring floor in the school's dance room and in their chests, so they can detect the rhythm. "It was an upright speaker consisting of a 14in square box, about six feet tall, and about six inches from the floor – with a 12in speaker facing upwards, and a three inch port below that. And it worked very well. ... The floor shook – and the kids danced away, as they were entitled to."[2]


In the 1970s and 1980s, Ryan gained recognition for his involvement with several artists including Gary Moore, Planxty, and Christy Moore.

Ryan was introduced to the family Celtic band Clannad by their manager Fachtna O'Kelly. In 1975, he became the sound engineer for the family band Clannad and from 1976, their new manager along with his wife Roma Ryan after O'Kelly left to manage The Boomtown Rats. In 1980, Ryan persuaded Enya, the younger sister of siblings Máire, Pól and Ciarán Brennan, to join the band with them and twin uncles, Noel and Pádraig Duggan. During her two-year stint in the group, Ryan and Enya often discussed his idea of recording many vocal tracks and layering them to create a sound effect inspired by the wall of sound technique developed by Phil Spector.

In 1982, the Ryans left Clannad and formed a partnership with Enya after the latter wished to pursue a solo career,with Ryan her producer and arranger and Roma her lyricist. For the next two years, Enya lived with the Ryans who then lived in Artane, a northern Dublin suburb while she practised her music skills and recorded a selection of demos. In September 1983, the three became directors of their music company Aigle Music,[3] with "aigle" being the French word for "eagle". Using a mixing board originally made for Clannad, the three constructed a home recording facility and named it Aigle Studio.



  1. ^ Ryan, Nicky. Liner notes in The Very Best of Enya – Collector's Edition (2009). Warner Music.
  2. ^ "Hi-Fi sound interview with Nicky Ryan". Enya Book of Days. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
  3. ^ "AIGLE MUSIC COMPANY LIMITED". Company Check. Retrieved 25 February 2017.

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