Earlier this year I had the chance to speak with world renowned composer Yanni who was releasing his new album Inspirato and heading out on his world tour within days. Four months have passed, Inspirato peaked at number one on Billboard’s Top New Age Album for 2014, he’s back from performing in India, London, North Africa (among other beautiful places throughout the world) and he is now embarking on his U.S. and Canada tour. Yanni was kind enough to join me for an interview this week to discuss his world tour, his amazing new album, and what he’s looking forward to most on his upcoming U.S. and Canada tour which kicks off on Thursday, August 7th in Brooklyn, New York.
Candace Rose: When we spoke in April you were leaving to India on your World Tour. How has it been touring around the world for the last few months?
Yanni: “It’s been amazing. We started in India, went to Sri Lanka, then we went to London Royal Albert Hall, then we went to three or four cities in Germany (forgive me if I’m not going in order), we went Poland, we went to the Czech Republic, to Prague. We went to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov, Krasnodar, Bulgaria, Istanbul. It’s been amazing. We came back from North Africa about 10 days ago, it was just stunning.”
Candace Rose: Inspirato peaked at number one on Billboard’s Top New Age album category for 2014. Is this something you could have ever imagined when you were composing the album?
Yanni: “Not really. I had high hopes for it, I love the album. I think it’s one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever recorded, and I think it has staying power like the Acropolis. It’s going to be around for a long, long time. I think it belongs in everybody’s library. Of course I’m biased but it’s very listenable, it’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s one of a kind. There hasn’t been an album before it, like it and highly unlikely I’ll be able to do another one. It took me four years to make this album.”
Candace Rose: Inspirato is the first album you’ve ever done that includes words. What’s it like performing these songs on this album versus your other albums?
Yanni: “It’s a different type of an exercise. You have to take into account who you’re writing for, what the voice is like. But I had 30 years of music to pick from. I could pick up a theme of a song, rearrange it, rerecord it, expand it, change it. Music is liquid – if the theme is strong, you can play it 100 different ways and it’ll work, it’s fine. We see it in the movies all the time. One theme can be played 20/30 different ways in the same picture in a matter of two hours. It’s the same thing with pieces of music. The instrumental version of the songs, but they’ve been recorded and I play them live and they exist in that form. It doesn’t bother me to play around with them a little bit, see how else I can express this piece of music. Sometimes you use a whole orchestra and the same song is playable on one piano. You can just play it on a single piano, and the song can be just as powerful with the piano or the whole orchestra. I like the exercise, it became as an exercise and it was challenging, but then I fell in love with it.
As you start with Placido Domingo, the best voice in the world, and then you go to Renee Fleming and she opens the album (that’s the best female voice in the world), I think I got a little hooked on it so I kept going.”
Candace Rose: What has been your favorite song to perform on the world tour?
Yanni: “I don’t have favorites. I love them all. I’m not avoiding your question, it just depends on where we’re playing. There’s certain songs I can’t wait to play depending on what audience I’m playing for or what circumstances or where we’re playing. I try to keep a balance of the music from the old to the new and the middle because I know my audiences want to hear certain songs. There’s no way I can go to a Yanni concert and not hear ‘this song, that song, that song.’ I know what they want, but I can’t play everything that they want me to play, but I try to do a good balance…a good mixture. There are time constraints, I can’t play for four hours (for example).
This new concert is phenomenal, I think it’s the most powerful concert that I’ve ever done. It’s the best concert that I’ve ever done – the best sound, the best musicians. I’ve learned a lot the last few years.”
Candace Rose: Your U.S. and Canada Tour kicks off on Thursday, August 7th in Brooklyn, New York. What are you looking forward to most with this tour?
Yanni: “I’m just happy to be back in the good ole U.S.A. It’s home, it’s nice to be back, and I love Canada too. It’s quite extensive, but if we don’t go to every city, I don’t want people to be disappointed because as I know from past experience these tours never end. It’s like do you mind doing a few more cities? It kind of grows a little bit on you. I know after I finish 25 cities or 30 cities we’re going to go to China for a little while, I have a project that I’m working on there. I’ll come back and may continue the U.S. tour after that. It really never ends for me.”
Candace Rose: Where can fans go for more information and to buy tickets to see you on tour?
Yanni: “Go to Candace! They can start with Yanni.com, I think that’s a good starting place. The site is very easy to use, that’ll take you into Facebook, tickets – everything. It’s easy and it’s a beautiful site.”