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Nicholas Dominick Ryan (born 1949 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish music producer, recording engineer and manager for the musician Enya. Nicky was also manager of Clannad, a group of Enya's family and the band she first performed with. Nicky is credited with first introducing the layering of Enya's voice, creating Enya's distinctive style.
In the Seventies and Eighties Nicky was highly regarded as a live sound engineer working with artists such as Gary Moore, Planxty and Christy Moore. He also worked as a teacher at St. Mary's School For Deaf Girls, where he experimented with sound engineering, to allow the pupils to feel the bass in the music more.
He worked with the Irish group Clannad as sound engineer from 1975 and then manager from 1976, inviting Eithne (Enya) to join in 1979. Nicky and Eithne left Clannad in 1982, shortly after the completion of the album Fuaim.
Enya and Nicky now have their own studio, Aigle Music, in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland. Nicky Ryan is also married to Enya's lyricist Roma Ryan.
Biography and Career 1970s & 1980s
In his essay for the Collector's Edition of The Very Best of Enya, Nicky mentions having entered a song contest in his youth for which the prize was a visit to meet the Beatles (one of his favourite groups). He won, with a rendition of Glenn Miller's 'In The Mood', but never claimed his prize, since he could not afford the fare to England to see them.
Shortly after finishing school, Nicky worked as a teacher at St. Mary's School For Deaf Girls, near Dublin. He began experimenting with sound engineering, attempting to create a way for the deaf children to 'hear' music. From Hi-Fi sound, 1990:
‘I designed a speaker while I was there, to try and introduce as much bass as I could into the sprung floor of the girls’ dancing room,’ Ryan explained. ‘In order to dance, the children needed to feel as much bass in the floor and in their chests as possible – particularly in their chests because as soon as they can feel that, they know what the rhythm is doing. What I came up with was a speaker design based on the lower end of a pipe organ. 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,’ he said. ‘The floor shook – and the kids danced away, as they were entitled to.’
Clannad band and Enya from 1975
Nicky Ryan was introduced to then folk group Clannad (the band Enya first performed with), by their manager at the time Fachtna O'Kelly. Nicky joined them as a sound engineer in 1975. When O'Kelly left Clannad in 1976 to manage the Boomtown Rats, Nicky Ryan became Clannad's manager. Clannad was a family band and included Enya's siblings and relatives. Nicky invited Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (later known as Enya Brennan, or just Enya) to join in 1979, shortly after she finished school. Nicky and Eithne left Clannad in 1982, following the completion of their album Fuaim.
In the video documentary Enya - A Life in Music, Enya states that it was Nicky who first had the idea of layering Eithne Ní Bhraonáin's voice, thus creating Enya's distinctive style. In 1982, when Nicky Ryan left Clannad, Eithne followed him. Nicky is now producer, recording engineer and manager for Enya. They have their own studio, Aigle Music, in Dún Laoghaire.
Nicky Ryan is the husband of Enya's lyricist Roma Ryan. They currently reside in Killiney, Ireland, and have two daughters, Ebony and Persia. Enya lived with them briefly in the north-side suburb of Artane when she first departed Clannad; she now lives in Manderley Castle in Killiney.
- 1978 — Clannad in Concert - Clannad
- 1978 — Live in Dublin — Christy Moore
- 1985 — The Frog Prince — Enya
- 1987 — Stony Steps — Matt Molloy
- 1987 — Cosa Gan Bhróga - Eithne Ní Uallacháin, Gerry O'Connor & Desi Wilkinson
- 1987 — The Celts — Enya
- 1988 — Watermark — Enya
- 1989 — Lead the Knave — Nollaig Casey
- 1991 — Shepherd Moons — Enya
- 1995 — Take the Air — Sean Ryan
- 1995 — The Memory of Trees — Enya
- 1999 — Across the Bridge of Hope
- 2000 — A Day Without Rain — Enya
- 2000 — Srenga Oir — John Feeley
- 2001 — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
- 2005 — Amarantine — Enya
- 2008 — And Winter Came — Enya
- 2009 — The Very Best of Enya — Enya
- 2015 — Dark Sky Island — Enya
- "Hi-Fi sound interview with Nicky Ryan". Enya Book of Days. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
- Nicky Ryan - The Official Website
- Nicky Ryan's complete discography
- Enya Lyrics site
- Nicky Ryan discography at MusicBrainz