In Kalamata, on the shores of the Mediterranean, Yanni was born in 1954 to Sotiri and Felitsa Chryssomallis. The second of three children, Yanni has an older brother and a younger sister. Sharing a deep-rooted love of music, the family spent much of their time playing and singing together.
In 1972, with the encouragement of his parents, Yanni left his homeland to attend the University of Minnesota. Between his studies, he played in local rock and roll bands and began to develop his personal musical style using both piano and electronic keyboards to create new sounds.
Yanni played keyboards for Chameleon, a rock and roll band that became well known in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Spurred by their success, Chameleon began to tour regionally - across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago, Iowa, and the Dakotas. They also produced 2 albums independently during this time.
Yanni single-mindedly continued to pursue his passion for creating music. He explored the worlds of electronic music, new sounds and instruments, and composition. This was a very productive and busy time for Yanni. He released 2 albums and worked on a third before moving to Hollywood, the film industry capital, where he recorded 4 film scores and released 3 more albums. He also re-released 'Optimystique'.
In 1990, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra accompanied Yanni in concert, adding a new dimension to his unique style and a prelude of things to come.