Jon Anderson of Yes fame is the top music celebrity we are pleased to present here at NewAgeMusicWorld.com & NewAgeMusic.nu. With a successful music career spanning five decades, John Anderson’s presence as a vocalist and instrumentalist has made an admirable impression on millions of people over the course of many years as a musician.
This can be said regarding his lengthy tenure as lead singer for the Progressive Rock band Yes, during his numerous collaborations with other celebrated artists, and while performing throughout the years as a popular solo artist.
Jon Anderson’s influence and starring role in music over five decades is legendary. It is estimated over 38 million records were sold during his years as the dynamic lead vocalist with Yes, and throughout his successful solo career.
Today, Jon Anderson is preparing for his North American concert tour in support of his new CD release; Survival & Other Stories.
Knowing Jon Anderson’s significant influence in music it is our privilege to present this interview so that everyone can find out more about a fascinating artist with a long and enduring music legacy.
Review publicist John Olsen recently had the opportunity to interview the personable Jon Anderson prior to his tour in 2011. We are pleased to present their conversation to Jon’s fans and our site visitors.
Jon Anderson interview April 2011:
John P. Olsen: Thank You for agreeing to this interview on short notice Jon. We realize our interview request arrives at a time interval just days prior to your opening concert, so we do appreciate your enthusiasm for this interview, and your willingness to take time out of your schedule for us.
You are beginning your concert tour publicized as “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson.” Would you like to give some insight to concert goers about the atmosphere and variety of music they will experience during an evening with Jon Anderson?
Jon Anderson: Well, it’s really like being in my ‘front room’. I’m singing Yes songs as I originally wrote them, singing ‘Jon and Vangelis’ songs, telling stories, how songs came together, the meaning behind the songs, talking about my life so far, and doing new songs from my new album.
JP Olsen: Your new release Survival & Other Stories is due to be released April 2011. Can you provide some details about your new release, and how Survival & Other Stories varies from other albums you have produced?
Jon Anderson: This album is #1 of 3 albums I will release over the next 2 years. I put an ad on my website saying ‘musicians wanted’… I was finding it hard to get the guys in Yes interested in using the Internet to write songs, I put the ad out there, I got so many people sending me their musical ideas, it was like this musical ‘door’ had opened, and I found myself writing so many great ideas, with some very talented peeps…. I still do this every week. Music is endless.
JP Olsen: You have collaborated with other celebrated musicians like yourself, including Vangelis, Kitaro, Rick Wakeman, Mike Oldfield and a host of other talents. Every artist has their own strengths, along with their individual viewpoint about an album production, so when collaborating with other musicians, how does a “meeting of minds” customarily transpire during album composition and production?
Jon Anderson: It’s very simple really, it has to be Fun, an element of Trust and a feeling of Adventure, I sing melodies and find lyrics to the music I hear, it’s a very instant thing, and if it’s working great, we tend to trust ourselves, and let the music take us on the journey.
JP Olsen: Recently you teamed up with Mike Oldfield for a Kanye West sample track titled Dark Fantasy, which topped the Billboard chart as the #1 album in the country. In addition you just produced a great album with colleague and Yes member Rick Wakeman titled The Living Tree. Do you find teaming up with other esteemed musicians just as rewarding as your solo projects?
Jon Anderson: I feel thankful to have these connections, they don’t come all the time, they are rewarding on so many levels. I’m singing on Jonathan Elias’s new ‘Prayer Cycle’ along with Sting and others, released June 1st, that song I sang was right in the middle of my illness in 2008, it was such a gift to sing with that music, very inspiring.
JP Olsen: To me and many others, the voice of Jon Anderson is one of the easiest to identify in an ocean of vocalists. Did you have professional vocal instruction, and what point in your life did you choose to pursue music as a career?
Jon Anderson: No, I just sang since I was a kid, sang as I went to school, sang when I worked on the farm, and just kept singing about the joys of life.
JP Olsen: Early in your career you were leader of Yes, a phenomenal and popular Rock group, yet you also produced music in less mainstream genres, including New Age and Contemporary Christian music. What is the reason you performed in respected but less mainstream music?
What 2011 concert goers can expect to hear during “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” - Well, it’s really like being in my ‘front room’. I’m singing Yes songs as I originally wrote them, singing ‘Jon and Vangelis’ songs, telling stories, how songs came together, the meaning behind the songs, talking about my life so far, and doing new songs from my new album. Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson: Music takes on your Sacred Journey, I have a deep belief that we are changing for the better again, and music can be a sign post to what is happening around the world, people all over the world ‘love’ music, so why not enjoy being a part of the ‘new age’….
JP Olsen: You wrote the song lyrics during your tenure in Yes, and likewise during your solo career. Your lyrical phrasing is beautifully expressive, and positive in nature. Do you have a lyrical theme or message you want to convey to your audience?
Jon Anderson: Like most people I am seeking for Truth to Life, and singing about this helps me, I live to understand the great mystery, and how we are part of Mother Earth, and ‘why’…. so lyrics dance around me every day, I do feel honored to be a musician.
JP Olsen: During the early Yes years some music critics downplayed the influence Yes was achieving as a music act. I believe it would be accurate to say many people didn’t realize at the time that Jon Anderson, and a handful of others, were essentially inventing a music genre we identify today as Progressive Rock. Did you and other band members recognize at the time you were making such a profound impact in the music scene?
Jon Anderson: We hoped that Yes Music would stand the test of time, and it seems to have done, but 40 years, wow!! I meet so many young people who have just bought ‘Close to the Edge’, they find out how exciting the music is, and they will go on the same musical journey as I did, it’s amazing to realize this.
JP Olsen: Your contribution as lead vocalist was an important factor, but why do you believe Yes as a Progressive Rock group so successful?
Jon Anderson: I worked hard within the Yes band as the musical director of sorts. I was surrounded by so much talent, I would come up with plans for the music, sing ideas constantly, and the Music we created is unique. I never dreamed it could become so wonderful, I kept on coming up with ideas, and Yes Music will last forever, Weeeeeee!
Jon’s reply on the major influence Jon Anderson and progressive rock group Yes had in music; We hoped that Yes Music would stand the test of time, and it seems to have done, but 40 years, wow!! I meet so many young people who have just bought ‘Close to the Edge’, they find out how exciting the music is, and they will go on the same musical journey as I did, it’s amazing to realize this. Jon Anderson
JP Olsen: You have been a very successful vocalist and instrumentalist practically your whole life. Do you believe your life achievements are due to your musical talents, hard work, a combination of both, or do you believe in destiny?
Jon Anderson: Practice, Practice. Well I just have fun playing every day, I sing every day, think about the ‘great work’ to be done, as for destiny, hummm, not sure what that means, I believe that I will be part of a great Awakening.
JP Olsen: What do you feel is your greatest achievement or most rewarding experience to date Jon?
Jon Anderson: Still being around, feeling valid in this world music scene, not getting carried away with fame. Singing with the school of rock and youth orchestras, and I enjoying being around ‘young’ musicians while helping to create some very good and interesting music to date.
JP Olsen: Earlier I read on your Facebook page you rarely do endorsements for advocacy groups but are involved with 600million.org, a non-profit organization created by the co-founder of PETA, Alex Pacheco. Would you like to tell us about your contribution and charitable endorsement for the animal protection advocacy group 600million.org?
Jon Anderson: My youngest Daughter Jade introduced me to the project earlier this year. I was really sad about the plight of our fellow creatures, dogs are truly man’s best friend, and they can be so healing and funny to be around, so to see so many millions in distress, made me want to help in any way I could, so I made a short video to help.
JP Olsen: Thank You again for spending time with us by way of our interview Jon. We look forward to the day when we can follow-up by another interview together. In closing, do you have anything you would like to express to the people who will be attending a concert this year, or the many fans that have supported you throughout your career?
Jon Anderson: Have fun!!! And thanks for all the support, and enjoyment I have at the concerts I do, I cannot thank you enough…. Cheers!!!
Again everyone, Jon Anderson is beginning his 2011 North American concert tour billed as “An Evening With Jon Anderson.” We wish Jon and every concert goer an enjoyable evening together during a live concert event that is sure to be memorable.
Concert photos courtesy Robin Kauffman & jonanderson.com.