Many great musicians and composers in Earth’s history had issues standing in their way. Beethoven, for example, became deaf by his thirties, but today his music is widely remembered. Today these musicians still exist, and Yanni is by far the most well-known of them.
Yanni was born on November 15, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece. Throughout his childhood he enjoyed listening to Bach and began to play the piano at age six. His parents encouraged him to learn at his own pace, and as a result he developed a shorthand which he still uses today instead of using musical notation. Yanni was also a good swimmer, setting a national record in the 50-meter freestyle when he was 14. In 1972 he moved to the United States and attended the University of Minnesota and, for a while, earned money by washing dishes. When in college, he had good grades through hard and frustrating work, despite his trouble with learning English. In 1984 he released his first album, Optimystique, which gained popularity among the rising fan base for contemporary instrumental music. By 1993 he had performed at the ancient Heodes Atticus Theater next to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, which was broadcast on PBS to over 500 million people in 65 countries. Yanni Live at the Acropolis is the second best-selling music video of all time and became an instant hit, which was good for Yanni, since he risked $2 million of his personal fortune in able to perform at the landmark. In 1997 Yanni was allowed to perform at the Taj Mahal in India and at the Forbidden City in China, both of which were successful. After a long world tour the next year, Yanni halted his career and stayed with his parents for three months before touring the world for another two years. Afterwards Yanni continued his career and had a new studio built. Yanni focused on studio albums rather than live albums from 2000 to 2010, and did a collaborative work, Yanni Voices, with Ric Wake. In the 2010s Yanni began to travel around the world again and travelled to new areas such as Tunisia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. Yanni’s performances, especially in Tunisia, where he performed after a terrorist attack, were welcomed with great success.
So how is Yanni so successful? Well, there are a few things that helped Yanni succeed. For one, his entry with instrumental music during the 1980s was timed perfectly due to the growing audience for contemporary instrumental music. In addition, Yanni performs at famous landmarks, which also boosts popularity. Plus, Yanni’s peaceful message allows for him to be able to travel to anywhere without being censored. However, the most important key to Yanni’s success comes in his ability to focus, which goes down all the way to making the music itself. Yanni has a three step process in which he makes music. First, he must identify the mood he wants for his piece. This can be joy, sadness, nostalgia, anger, or any other emotion. Then, the music, notes, rests, the tempo (speed), everything comes to him as he puts the piece together, and then he assembles the specific parts of the song until it is just right. However this is not easy and takes a very long time to produce one song. His latest album (released in March of 2014), Inspirato, took four years to produce. The most important thing for the process to be complete is to remain focused, and to not judge the work. Yanni made the ability to focus very clear as to how he produces his music. The level and intensity of the focus that Yanni attains is very difficult, he says, since all distractions must be cancelled out. Yanni also stated at his Q&A at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California, that “Judgment and creativity are opposites. They cannot exist together.” An example of the same three-step process in another profession is the design of Lego® sets. Step one would be like thinking of what the designer wishes to build, whether it’s a hospital, a tow truck, or a spaceship. Step two would be building the model, best seen when the designer figures out a way to create a certain function, such as an elevator, but the whole model counts. The last step would be creating a new part, if that was needed, finishing touches, and then packaging. All people who follow this three-step process must be able to focus in able to complete their model.
Yanni is a very popular artist, in fact, one in seven people on Earth is a fan of Yanni’s work. That’s the equivalent of every person in India being a fan of Yanni’s work, or better yet, every person on the continent of Africa being a fan of Yanni.Although he only reaches 500 million by broadcasting, the albums, are often burnt onto bank CDs and distributed with the name “Yanni” written on them. Also, YouTube is another way of Yanni reaching fans. In Tunisia, the fans knew Yanni’s songs by watching YouTube videos of them. In addition (as mentioned before), Yanni Live at the Acropolis, is the second best-selling music video of all time. Venues for Yanni’s concerts include the Taj Mahal in India, the Forbidden City in China, the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, El Morro in Puerto Rico, the Acropolis in Greece, along with many others. Yanni has also played the Star Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, at the World Series. Yanni has even received a panda bear from China that he named Santorini. Yanni noted that the Greek word irini means “peace”. This privilege is usually reserved for countries and not celebrities, but Yanni is the exception. Yanni has also over 35 platinum and gold records.
In conclusion, Yanni is an extremely successful musician (particularly a pianist) who has around 1 billion fans. By the age of six Yanni began playing the piano and developed a shorthand, which he uses instead of written musical notation. When he was 18 he moved to the United States and in 1984 (12 years later) he released his first album, Optimystique. Yanni’s album was timed perfectly with the rising fan base for contemporary instrumental music. By 1993 he had performed at the Heodes Atticus Theater next to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, and the video Yanni Live at the Acropolis became the second best-selling music video of all time. He later went to the Taj Mahal in India and the Forbidden City in China in 1997 only to halt his career the next year. In 2000 he resumed his career and focused on studio albums for a decade before going back to live tours in 2010. Yanni describes the process of making his music in three steps. First he has to find the mood, or emotion that he wants projected into the song. Secondly, the music (notes, rests, everything) comes to him nd then he assembles the parts together and creates a song. This process, however, takes a long time, and his latest album, Inspirato, took four years to complete. Yanni is extremely popular, with 1 in 7 people on Earth being a fan, and broadcasting his concerts (which are at famous landmarks) to over 500 million people. Yanni also received a panda from China, which he named Santorini. Yanni has also won over 35 platinum and gold records. In the end, it’s pretty easy to say that Yanni is the world’s most popular musician.