There are figures in the Irish music industry as unique and distinctive as Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, better known as simply "Enya."

Enya, who was born in the Gaeltacht region of Gweedore, Co Donegal on May 17, 1961, enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence, both in Ireland and internationally, during the 1980s before going on to become the biggest-selling Irish solo artist of all time and one of the best selling music artists of all time, with more than 51 million albums sold.

After a nine-year stint with famed Irish music group Clannad, Enya departed for a solo career that would spawn four Grammy awards, an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, and tens of millions of album sales around the world.

Enya released her self-titled debut album "Enya" in 1987, which performed moderately well in the charts, cracking the top ten in Ireland but only peaking at 69 in the English charts.

It was Enya's next album that would drive her to international fame, however. In fact, it was one single on that album that would sure the Irish songstress would become a household name around the world.

Her sophomore album "Watermark," the first album she released for Warner Music, rocketed to number five in the English charts and broke the top 25 in the United States, exceeding all expectations.

The majority of the album's success can be attributed to "Orinoco Flow," by far the biggest-selling single off the album and the song that Enya remains best known for to this day.

Those less familiar with Enya's work may recognize the song's chorus, which repeats "sail away, sail away, sail away" in an infuriatingly catchy manner.

That catchy refrain helped "Orinoco Flow" to the top of the UK singles charts for three successive weeks, not bad for a singer who supposedly didn't churn out singles.

After "Watermark's" release in 1988, Enya's career reached new heights and her follow-up album "Shepherd Moons" in 1991 managed to outsell the hugely popular sophomore album while her fourth album, "The Memory of Trees," released in 1995, proved more popular still and broke the top ten in the US Billboard Charts.

At the turn of the millennium, Enya found even further international recognition in tragic circumstances.

Her single "Only Time" surged up the Billboard charts after it was used in television coverage of the September 11 attacks in the United States. The song, initially released on the album "A Day Without Rain" a year before the attacks, became revered as a 9/11 anthem.

The song reached number two on the US Billboard charts and the album "A Day Without Rain" has sold a staggering 15 million copies around the world, making it by far her biggest-selling album.

Enya released a pop remix of "Only Time" which charted at the top of the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Charts. The Irish singer also donated proceeds from the remixed track to the International Association of Firefighters.

The same year, Enya recorded two songs for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," the first film in the massively popular trilogy.

"May it Be", one of the songs Enya recorded for the movie, garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, although she was beaten by Randy Newman's "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters Inc."

Enya did perform the song at the Academy Awards ceremony though, later describing the performance as a career highlight.

The Irish singer has released just three albums since that Academy Awards performance - "Amarantine," "And Winter Came," and "Dark Sky Island." All three albums have achieved widespread commercial success, helping to propel Enya to a reported 80 million album sales across her glittering career.

She is one of the staple names in the Irish music industry and her relatively closed persona has created something of an enigma around her.

Enya has never sought the public eye, preferring to shelter herself from the ever-present glare of the media and safeguard her privacy.

Keeping her public appearances to the minimum, she has taken a humble approach to her huge fame, something that is often misconstrued as rudeness or arrogance.

The truth couldn't be more different.

She is simply a normal person who found fame and didn't allow it to go to her head.