For the past 25 years, Yanni has been known for his sweeping, pan-global instrumental compositions and scenic PBS performance specials. So when his latest album, “Voices,” included ... well, voices, it was certainly newsworthy.
“Well, it was very organic, the process by which we arrived here,” Yanni, 54 — born Yanni Chryssomallis in Greece — says of his first studio album in six years. “Voices,” he explains, was the result of a friendship with producer Ric Wake, who’s worked with singers such as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez and others.
“We just started hanging out, then decided, ‘Let’s try doing some music together,’ ” Yanni recalls. “We did some instrumental music and some vocal music and ... that’s how it started, ‘Let’s just do music.’
“I was a bit nervous about how it would be received, but we recorded an enormous amount of songs and picked well and very carefully, and by the time the album was done, I was fairly confident.”
Rather than go with the “world class talent and singers” that Wake had access to, however, he and Yanni decided to bring in fledgling talents to work on “Voices.” They wound up with four singers — Ender Thomas from Venezuela and three Americans, Leslie Mills, Nathan Pacheco and the single-monikered Chloe — recording both English and Spanish language versions of “Voices” as well as another PBS special that debuted in March.
One person who did not consider singing for it, however, was Yanni himself.
“My voice? The worst!” he says with a laugh. “I hate my voice. I hate my singing. Sometimes in the studio, I have to sing a part for the singers to tell them what I mean ... but nobody else will hear it, I promise you.”
Yanni performs at 8 p.m. Friday (June 5) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $25-$95. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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