In November 1972, just a week before his 18th birthday, John Chryssomallis left the Greek fishing village where he had grown up and boarded a plane bound for the United States.
Some 5,500 miles away from home, Chryssomallis learned to adapt to the foreign culture, language and climate that was Minnesota. He studied psychology at the main U, lifeguarded at the Northfield municipal pool and played keyboard for local rock band Chameleon.
"At that time, I thought I was going to become a psychologist, a psychiatrist," he said in a phone interview. "So I got a BA from the University of Minnesota in psychology. And then, at 21, I decided maybe I should become a musician."
Little did the Land of 10,000 Lakes know it was nurturing a future global superstar. Today, the 57-year-old is among the revered few who are known simply by one name: Yanni.
Yanni will return to Minnesota Friday, May 4 to play a sold-out show at Mystic Lake Casino.