Yiannis Chryssomallis, or Yanni, is a musician who was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1954. Embodying a very unique philosophy of unity and coherence in his music, Yanni has mostly favored playing the piano and keyboards in his compositions. Despite being a Psychology major from his university days, music always had a special place in Yanni’s heart, who continued to play the keyboards throughout his youth. Drawing his influences from classic performers like Ludwig Beethoven and Wolfgang Mozart, Yanni was also attracted to the playing styles, musical orientation and subliminal nature of lyrics of contemporary bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
As surprising as it now may be, Yanni had several ups and downs before making it to a prominent world stage. His road to glory was one marred by upsets, failures and disappointments, but what always managed to carry him forward was his passion to unite the world through his music. As far as his musical preferences and styles are concerned, Yanni incorporated a number of genres in to his music, such as New Age, Contemporary Instrumental, Neo-classical and Pop. The 1980s saw him as part of a boyhood rock band called Chameleon, after which he released his self-composed album called Optimiystique in 1980. His success with this resulted in a signing with Atlantic Records, however short it may have been. Not long after, another privately-owned recording company called Private Music aided Yanni with a number of other productions and albums such as Keys to Imagination (1986) and Out of Silence (1987) making the public arena around the same time. Yanni then pursued his first tour, setting the stage for future success.
However, it was only in the 1990s when Yanni earned one of his first Grammy nomination. Some examples such as Dare to Dream (1992) quickly made center-stage. Part of what helped popularize and facilitate Yanni’s music amongst the global population was the airing of his music on Television and Radio shows. The breakthrough came with a live performance in the Herodes Atticus Theater at Acropolis, which was recorded and heard by a total of 500 million people all across the world. This gained him precedence amongst owners of venues such as the London Royal Albert Hall. After a 2-year hiatus caused partly by depression, Yanni returned to the musical stage with two top-charting albums titled If I Could Tell You (2000) and Ethnicity (2003). The distinguishing feature in these albums was a general integration of multiple cultures he had encountered in his travels during the hiatus period a few years earlier. Proving to still possess the finishing touch that was so genuine in his music in his earlier years, albums such as Truth of Touch topped the Billboard charts in 2011, while performing songs such as Echos of a Dream and Vertigo on his world tour in the same year.
Over a three-decade long career, Yanni has defied musical norms and records by becoming the first musician to perform in places like Taj Mahal of India, the Forbidden City in China and the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, he has produced over 35 albums in collaboration with several renowned musicians around the world, with most of these albums reaching platinum and gold status. Approaching the age of 60 this year, not much of the love for performing and recording is lost in Yanni, as a new album called Inspirato is scheduled to be released in 2014, in addition to another recording of his World Tour of places like North America, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Europe in 2014.