What it takes

The music that YANNI produces has this amazing quality of moving me to tears, getting me pumped, making me melancholic and inspiring me. I have been listening to his music since the 90s and it still has the same effect on me.

Just recently I came across a Q&A with Yanni at The Grammy Museum with journalist Steve Hochman at the Los Angeles, USA dated September 18, 2014. Here are a few things that stood out and spoke to me on personal level for different reasons. I do recommend that you watch the whole session. I have edited the responses for brevity down to the specifics that caught my attention.

On creativity and judgement. How the two don’t go together.

Question: “Being a creative soul, is your mind constantly working? Are you able to quiet your mind and if so, how?”

“You must not judge it. Judgement and creativity are opposites. They cannot exist together. Because as soon as you judge what’s coming in, you are outside looking at yourself and the creative moment has just ended.”

On the importance of technology being accessible. How something as “primitive” as a short wave radio has technological merit and can be empowering as long as freedom of expression exists and there is no centralised control.

Question: “You came from a place that was a fairly small town and you didn’t speak any english when you came here. I am curious what music you were exposed to there?”

“We didn’t have a turntable or a tape recorder so the only music I could hear was on the radio. […] At night I would stay, I have a short wave radio and since I was living in southern Greece, I had access to all of the music from Italy, Rome I could hear all the stuff, all the way to north Africa, Morocco, Middle East and I would sit there and I would listen to all types of music.”

On depression, the importance and significance to feel worthy as a human above all of your titles and achievements. His depression kicked in having reached new heights at the time. Performing live at the Acropolis and being the only westerner to perform at the Taj Mahal and the Forbidden City at the time.

“There was a time in my life that I got lost. I went through a depression. […] I run home to Greece, stayed with my mom and dad and didn’t play the piano for a whole year. I did not touch it. I just wanted to know that I could be a normal human being. That there was a Yanni without the music.”

On what every artist strives for and how time is the ultimate judge.

“I was thinking, when I started writing music. What could I possibly do that could last more than a week. Maybe a year. People are going to hear a song then a year later they can go ok, next one, I can’t hear this one anymore. Every artist strives for that. We all strive to create things that stand the test of time. […] Ultimately, I will never know. I can’t decide that. You have to decide that and the ultimate judge is time and I have nothing to do with it.”

I feel tired. Tired and lost.

  • Yanni - No borders, no boundaries - “A 60-min documentary from PBS show, narrated by Christopher Plummer. This is a unique film journal describing the extraordinary effort, purpose and achievement of Yanni’s groundbreaking performances at Taj Mahal, India and Forbidden City, China, 1997.”
  • Coding - “It’s like the 80s all over again, where you plug in a machine, and you can instantly start coding. I for one miss that.”
  • Coding challenges as part of an interview - “Nobody is watching me type and judging.”
  • Over a year since Apple gave me an ultimatum on Windmill - “I got especially emotional hearing an audio clip of a book seller pleading to Jeff Bezos to restore their business operations so that they could earn their livelihood.”
  • An Apple Developer for 10 years - “On a personal level, Windmill allows me to have freedom of expression, be creative and pursue excellence.”

What is this website?

This is a personal website, at the outskirts of the web, away from social media and publishing platforms. This website surfaces social, racial, economic traits and explores human relationships. It highlights the conditions that contribute to one's personal success or downfall. It shares stories that act as a reminder that life is messy, complex, nuanced, diverse. It aims to bring the world closer together. It reaches out to those that feel lost, lonely, inadequate and outcasts. I am with you.