Greek composer and musician Yanni Goudelis joined the Jagermeister Country Tour 2011 featuring Dierks Bentley. Yanni performs in 26 states with an opening act of the very talented and upcoming singer named Miss Willie Brown.
The Greek artist has composed music for CBS Radio Los Angeles, short and feature films, documentaries, commercials and online media. Recently, he scored the feature film “The Church Office”, directed by Nancy Bellany. Additionally he performs as a pianist at festivals, clubs and concert halls throughout the world from Greece and Europe to Africa and the United States. He has recorded more than twenty albums as a sideman on the piano and accordion, and also his debut album with original music “Life Goes On…”.
Yanni Goudelis talked to us about the tour, his career, and his musical journey.
Tell us about the tour.
The tour is the Jagermeister Country Tour featuring Dierks Bentley. I perform with Miss Willie Brown. The two very talented female lead singers of the group are Amanda Watkins and Kasey Buckley based in Nashville, TN. They are a powerful and dynamic duo, very energetic, putting on a great show. They recently got signed with the A&M/Octone Records based in NY.
What was your best experience until now?
Best experience so far are traveling around the country seeing beautiful places and performing in large audiences with great musicians. My favorite venues was Joe’s Pub in NYC which was with Miss Willie Brown as headliner and House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ with the Jagermeister tour.
Are you traveling in a bus? How is crossing the country with a band?
We are traveling mostly with the bus and some flying. Great experience with the bus cause you get to see beautiful parts of the country. We are seven of us in a bus of twelve so is not too bad, plus the bus has beds, TV’s, a kitchen, bathroom and a couple of lounge rooms. Great experience overall!
How did you get the job?
I got the job through a friend and great bass player named Brian Allen. We did a few jazz gigs in LA about a year ago. He is now the musical director for Miss Willie Brown and he called me when the position became available. I got to audition and got the gig. Then I went to Nashville, TN. for rehearsals and started the tour.
What other cities will you visit?
After Los Angeles we are off to Las Vegas, Houston and some other towns in Texas, Knoxville and Nashville, Chicago, Indianapolis, Miami, and quite a few more. The tour started March 15th and goes till May 14th. We are going to visit 26 U.S. States total.
What part of Greece are you from?
I am from the island of Corfu.
In what ways has your Greek heritage influence your music?
Growing up in Greece and playing Greek music was a beautiful gift which at that time I wasn’t able to appreciate it as much as I do now. It helped me in so many ways musically, being performance or composition. Also, the Greek rhythms and the overall feel of music that I inherited from our music culture are both very important elements that I implement in many other styles of music, such as latin, jazz, classical, gospel, rock, e.t.c.
Greece is not know for “jazz” music , however this seems to be your niche. How did this happen?
I got introduced to jazz relatively late (24yrs old) from a friend of mine in Corfu, considering that I started music lessons when I was 11. This is the reason I came to the U.S., I got a full scholarship at Arizona State University in Jazz Performance. Jazz is a great music art-form which I respect and love. It challenges me and I like it! Of course, I love many other styles of music and I always look out for new sounds to explore.
Tell us a few words about your album “Life Goes On”?
“Life Goes On” came to me when I was finishing with ASU. At that time I wasn’t sure if I was gonna go back to Greece or stay in the States and I said to myself it would be nice to have an album with some original music performed with friends that I used to perform together in AZ. It feels to me like my graduation present! It consists of thirteen original compositions performed by a total of twelve musicians. It is a blend of jazz, Latin, European, Mediterranean tone.
What are your future projects?
Since I arrived in Los Angeles, about a year and a half ago, I studied at UCLA film scoring program. FIlm music is another art-form that I have a lot of respect and love as well. It is definitely a field that I am very interested. I’ve been exploring and studying a lot of orchestral music and I look forward to record more with live orchestras in the near future. Recently, I am working on a new original album which is going to be a blend of orchestral and traditional instruments with compositions influenced by the Greek/Mediterranean and Latin worlds. Last but not least, I would like to share with you that I have the pleasure and honor to collaborate with my good friend and marvelous Greek Cypriot singer and performer Alexia Vassiliou! Her marvelous voice and talent inspires me to compose new music that I am very excited for!
You can visit Yanni’s personal page at: http://www.goudelis.com