I am Grammy Award-Nominated Composer, Producer, Performer, and Instrumentalist Yanni - AMA!
Hello! I’m Yanni, Grammy Award-nominated composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and performer. I’ve had 15 albums reach #1 on Billboard’s “Top New Age Albums” chart – more than any other artist ever – with 1994’s Live at the Acropolis also reaching the top 5 on the overall “Billboard 200” on its way to 4x platinum certification from the RIAA and total worldwide sales in excess of 7 million. I’ve played in more than 35 countries to a worldwide audience of more than 5 million, and have performed at such iconic landmarks as India’s Taj Mahal and China’s Forbidden City. I’m just about to release my latest album, Sensuous Chill, on Friday January 29, and my upcoming PBS special – The Dream Concert: Live from the Great Pyramids of Egypt - will air in the US nationwide in March. A DVD and Blu-Ray of the special will be available as well. I also have a Panda named Santorini! Ask me anything!
Volunteer moderator /u/courtiebabe420 is here with me in person today assisting with this AMA.
Edit: Thank you all for joining me today. I have truly enjoyed feeling you and connecting with you. And I cannot thank you enough for all the love and support you have given me through the years.
Editor's Note: It's time for this AMA to wrap up, but thank you guys for stopping by!
Very nice question, Victoria. That would be fun!
YANNI ,I'm one from your fans from Syria ..I have 16 years old and I listen to your music since I was born and I want to meet you one a day ..please when you will come to Syria? I love you solo much
Remember what I always say - dreams do come true. Hang on to your dream, it will become reality. You will meet me some day. And I will be coming to Syria, also.
Is there any style of music you enjoy that you think would surprise people/fans?
Yes, Led Zepplin, Genesis, Jethro Tull, etc. etc.
Yanni! I'm Mostafa from Egypt, I had the privilege and honour to attend the dream concert at the great pyramids, you and your music are a great source of inspiration and strength for me as a human being and a young pianist. I admire and respect your great cause, humanity without borders and that humanity expresses itself throughout music. What would be your advice to young musicians? Can't wait for you to be back in Egypt soon. Lots of love.
First of all you must love what you do. And you need to be passionate with it. Do not forget that passion is the fuel.
I'm very happy to hear that you enjoyed the concert at the Great Pyramids of Giza. We certainly will not forget it. I think it's the best audio and video release we have ever made. And I hope when you see it later this year on DVD (it's coming out March 8th), I hope that you will enjoy it as much as you enjoyed the concert.
Yanni! Hello from a fellow Greek! Your concert was my first back in the 90s (I wasn't even 10 years old but I remember it so well)! I am wondering, what is your favorite thing about the Greek culture?
This is a very difficult question to answer because I am so connected with the Greek culture. There are a myriad of things that I am proud and enjoy about us.
Hi Yanni! Where do you draw inspiration from when you have conflicting feelings about your work? I'm sure as an artist you have the common tendency to really question yourself, how do you combat that?
Creativity and judgment are opposites. They are both valid, but they cannot both exist at the same place at the same time. Creativity is a form of surrender. It is a frame of mind. As soon as you use judgment, you terminate the creative process - walk outside it, observe it and ask thus you're not creative anymore.
My main inspiration is life itself. I live life with an open mind, and open heart. And as I'm affected by my experiences, I am changed by all of them and that change is reflected in the music that I write.
Dear Yanni! I have been following you, your journey, your music since I was a toddler. I have learned countless songs throughout the years and play them even today. I am an avid music enthusiast with an appreciation for everything from blues, soul, heavy metal, classical, new age...but your music is the ONLY kind that I don't get tired of...ever. How do you do it?? :)
Love always, Natalie <3 PS can't wait to see you this year in LA for my birthday!! :))
First of all, this is one of the kindest compliments anyone could give me. It makes me very happy that you relate to my music that much. I hope it helps you in your life.
What pisses you off in music?
Nothing. Music is the expression of someone's soul. It could never be wrong.
You're known for highly-complicated, multi-instrumental pieces that incorporate a lot of technology. What would an "unplugged" setup look like for you?
I have already used "unplugged" setups in the earliest years of my career. The most unplugged setup I can think of is the piano. However, my first band was my drummer and about 10 keyboards that I was using simultaneously.
Hi Yanni! I'm a huge lover of your music and you have inspired me to pursue a career in music. I was lucky to get on a record label by pursuing this passion. I'd like to ask you - what are some of your favorite plug ins to use to create the sounds you use on your albums? Your mixes are always amazing. Thank you! A fan from the US :)
Thank you so much for the great compliment.
The plug ins that I use are so numerous, I could not even being to explain. And they are so complicated in and of themselves, I could a half a book for each and every one of them. Please keep in mind that plug ins do not make music; your soul makes music. Plug ins are but a brush for a painter. Use as many as you like, they help. But remember they do not write music.
It seems in the last 5 years your set list for touring hasn't changed much, which seems fairly long in any standards. Is there any explanation for that?
Don't worry because the new concert is going to be completely different! It will have songs from my new release Sensuous Chill and of course, I will perform a lot of the old favorites that everyone is expecting me to do. However, this concert is the best concert I have ever done. It has an incredible flow and it is completely different than what I have done in the past. It will also include a couple of pieces that have never been released and they are a lot of fun to play! The show is powerful and it will get you. This show will get you. I hope you enjoy it.
So far, who is the one person who has inspired you more than you could ever have imagined?
Oh wow, there's a lot of them.
You will be surprised to know it's not only musicians that have inspired me, like Bach or Beethoven, Stravinsky, etc. I am extremely inspired by people who accomplish the impossible, like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander, etc. They are not afraid, they are fearless, they go after their dream, they get it done - and against all odds. They manage to persevere and accomplish their goals.
Hi Yanni! First let me say, my Dad loves going to see you when you come to Red Rocks in Colorado, and your music has made some awesome memories when my Dad and I drive through the Rocky Mountains together.
So I have a couple questions, who are some of your favorite musicians to listen to?
Also, where is somewhere you still haven't performed that you would love to play at?
Thanks again for doing this ama, and for helping create some awesome memories for my Dad and I! You're amazing!
This is a tough one. I've played 35 countries, and many more cities inside those countries, around the world in the last 5 years, including 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Each place has had it's own unique experience. I am constantly being asked to perform at the important sites of many countries. I will do my best as humanly possible to accommodate all my friends around the world. However, it is not only sites that make the concert great. It is the reason why the concert took place that is extremely important.
Hi, Yanni, I am Marcia, from Brazil. I get a question for you.You are an artist who goes beyond the music and, in your talk, you invites all people to see each other like true brothers, with no artificial borders or bounderies keeping us apart. Some of you fans, including myself, would like to have your name indicated for the Nobel Peace Prize. What do you think of this?
That touches me beyond belief. It is one of the greatest honors that any artist could receive. It is not up to me to decide such an honor; I'm too humble for that. I will keep doing what I do without fear and with never losing my faith in our world.
Hello Yanni, hope you're doing well, I'd like to say that I'm a fan of your work and I really appreciate the emotions that convey in your compositions.
Among others I love "The End of August" So I'd like to ask what was your inspiration to compose such wonderful melody.
Also I learned that when you were younger you "created" your own musical language; How difficult was for you to achieve such milestone?
Do you still using it or you eventually learnt the conventional musical language?
And how was your childhood like?
Thank you for doing this AMA. My best wishes!
I was in Greece at the time, and towards the end of August everyone leaves, finishing up their vacation. And it usually means that my vacation is over, so I was a bit moody at the time. However, there isa lot of positiveness to that piece, because it also means the beginning of a new era.
It was not very difficult because it was not developed instantaneously. It took many years to create the entire shorthand which nowadays is extremely accurate and very helpful.
What instrument do you wish you could record more with?
First, I experience the emotion. Then it's very simple to pick a sound, the rhythm and melody that describes that emotion. Instrumentation has nothing to do with it. I will use any instrument known to man in any combination at any time, as long as it expresses the emotion that I am feeling at the time.
If I must answer your question, I love playing the piano.
Why did you shorten your orchestra? Will it ever include Pedro Eustache again?
Traveling with 45-60 people around the world makes it cost-prohibitive. Therefore, it prevented me from traveling and bring my music around the planet as I always want. Through the process of refinement, carefully so that I would not lose and/or destroy what I had so painstakingly developed, I improved the quality of the performers while I slowly reduced the amount of people on the road. That brought the cost of operating into a reasonable level and it also allowed me to travel all over the world.
And yes you might see Pedro Eustache back in the orchestra very soon.
Hello Yanni , will you come back to Tunisia ?
Absolutely. You can count on me.
I will never forget the last time I was there. It took me 2 weeks to get over the emotion that I felt towards you and your culture. And I have been talking about you ever since, everywhere in the world that I go. You deserve it. You are great, powerful, beautiful people that are very savvy and you will win in the end. And I will always be there with you.
How is it that so few extremely talented instrumentalists become household names and how did you?
That's actually a very good question.
First of all, it is impossible to lie with instrumental music. Anyone can say the words "I love you," but if you are asked to describe it with notes and melody, how could you possibly describe something you are not aware of? I tell the truth with my music. That is a pact I've made with myself since I was a kid.
I think it is one of the singe most important factors in me connecting with the audience. Also, I do believe because I am a positive person by nature, that it is expressed in the music effortlessly. I think that's why people seem to enjoy my music, and use it many, many times for their healing.
Hi Yanni :) You're my inspiration and motivation for me to come to America, and I'm forever grateful for that.
My question: can we see your soundtracks (Hexi Corridor, Seven Billion Dreams, In Celebration of Man, etc.) ever be released in studio albums or compilations? Who owns those soundtracks, and how does the process of releasing soundtracks differ from releasing your typical songs?
You can expect to see all of these songs in a single album. I just do not know when yet. They all deserve to be released. Just be patient - the time will come.
Thank you so much for doing this AMA!
Random question, what do you think about aliens?
They're all over us, they're in between us. RUN!
You're now 1 inch tall. What is the first thing you do?
Ask myself - "Can I be 6' 1"?"!
My heart will stop working when I will meet you.. Do you keep remember your fans during the days?
My fans are the best in the world. They heal me as much as I heal them. And yes I do think of you quite often, and you play an extremely important role in my life.
Hi Yanni, thanks for doing this. You're truly a musical genius. If you never got into music, what would you do for a career? Thank you so much!
I have no idea. laughs I cannot even imagine me doing anything else but music. I am one with it.
You say you performed at many landmarks which is incredible! Which performance was your favorite?
They are all spectacular in their own ways and they all have touched me just as much. My very favorite right now is the one I just finished and that is the concert at the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
You seem to have much admiration for and connection with Scott Kelly. If you lived to see civilization move on to another planet, and you could hold the first concert on that planet, what would your opening song be?
It would be ONE MAN'S DREAM.
Scott Kelly is one of the most amazing men on this Earth. He is so unassuming and so humble. He has nerves of steel and a heart of gold. I love this man. We need more of him around this planet.
I especially enjoyed when he sent a message to the world during my concert at the Pyramids in Egypt.
Hi Yanni! I'm a big fan of people who are so iconic they only have one name. Would you ever want to collaborate with another one-named artist such as Drake or Snoop?
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