A Greek Pianist, Keyboardist, and Producer
Chryssomalis was born on November 14, 1954, in Acroyali, Kalamata, Greece. His professional name is Yanni. He is a Greek composer, keyboardist, pianist, and music producer who has resided in the United States during his adult life. He displayed a musical talent for playing piano at a young age of six.
His parents inspired him to learn music and instruments at his own pace and without formal musical training.
At age 14, Yanni broke the national men freestyle swimming record as a member of the Greece National swimming team.
In November 1972, at age of 18, Yanni moved from Greece to the United States to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in psychology at The University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1976.
During his college life, he went on learning instruments. After graduating, Yanni quickly dropped psychology as a career path to have enough time for his music.
Yanni worked with various bands in his early career, and he was a co-founder of Chameleon rock band based in Minneapolis.
He played with drummer Charlie Adams, in 1980, in Chameleon rock band, and then composed his first solo album, Optimystique. This album has his complex musical sound that comes from the self-taught music short-hands he developed in his youth.
Together with Charlie Adams and other Chameleon band members, they regionally toured in a bid to promote his album.
Yanni’s Music and Career
In 1984 Yanni agreed on a deal with Records Atlantic who re-released Optimystique privately, but they shortly parted ways. The album attracted a big audience along with Independent Label Private Music, who produced Yanni’s second album Key to Imagination. In 1986, they re-released Optimystique.
Yanni relocated to Los Angeles from Minnesota permanently where he pursued his composition of movies and theater as well as establishing himself as a solo artist.
Yanni then released album Out of Silence in 1987. He staged his first large concert tour with the band including John Tesh the keyboardist and former Chameleon drummer Charlie Adams.
In 1990, he released his album Reflections of Passion and went on to perform a special concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This was just the beginning of big events he would perform in the future.
In 1992, his album Dare to Dream earned him his first Grammy nomination.
His music started to appear in the Oprah Winfrey show, television commercials, and the course of sports event coverage. He also appeared in People’s magazine. This created a large audience cutting across his peers to the elderly in the world.
His album In My Time was nominated second the following year. This placed him in front of the New Age movement that spread through the 1990s.
In 1993, Yanni reached a new height of his career with his album Acropolis. He performed what has been termed as a one–in–lifetime live concert. He composed and performed his album Acropolis without his audience realizing. This was done in the Herod Atticus Theater, Acropolis, Greece.
Yanni has sold 7million albums and over a million videos of the Acropolis album which has made it the second best-selling video concert of all time right after Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Acropolis was his first live concert album. It opened opportunities for Yanni to perform in other prestigious halls in the world.
In 1997, Yanni performed in The Royal Albert Hall in London, Taj Mahal in India, and The Forbidden City in China, and in November 1997 he released the song The Tribute.
After breaking up with Linda Evans, Yanni suffered depression and went on hiatus for two years. During this period, he explored the world with tours. In 2000, he came back and produced the If I Could Tell You album which sold 55,000 copies in a week and was voted number 20 on Billboard charts.
In 2003, Yanni deeply looked at the world’s multi-culture, and beauty and released Ethnicity.
In 2009, he changed from his solo-style music and started collaborating with young artists who have provided vocals in his music. This lead to Yanni’s Voices. He took his new team on a roadshow tour dubbed ‘Yanni Voices Concert Tour.’
In 2010, he collaborated with Mexican artists Pepe Aguilar and Lucero and produced a Latin music Mexicanisimo. Yanni then brought on board renown artists like Domingo, Russell Watson, and others to provide back-up in his album Inspirato in 2014.
He has gone on to produce the Chinese movie Hexi corridor in March 2015.
On October 30 and 31, Yanni performed two concerts in Egypt. One at the Pyramid and the other at the Great Sphinx in Gaza.
In December 2015, he released the Seven Million Dallas, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the International Space Station (NASA). He also produced a Sensuous Chill album featuring synthesizers and other complex electronic sounds.