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Chatting with Jon Anderson of Yes: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (Includes interview)

On the song selection process for this forthcoming solo album, Anderson said, “I was recordings some songs in 1990, and a few ago, Michael Franklin, the producer, sent me the mixes of those seven songs and they sounded really good. I told him that we needed three or four more songs, and I sent him a few more songs, and it turned out to be really good. We did a lot of vocalizations. The single ‘WDMCF’ came from the musical exercise of vocalizations.”

Anderson recently released the music video for his single “WDMCF.” “The song stands for ‘Where Does Music Come From’ but it was such a long title so I condensed it,” he said.

Regarding his songwriting and music inspirations, he said, “It’s a constant adventure in songwriting. I’m a big fan of Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone, one of the greatest songwriters of our time. The Beatles inspired me to become a musician.”

“Music is timeless if it is created from your heart and not from a business point of view. That’s the way I create music,” he said.

On being an artist in the digital age, Anderson said, “I started pretty early. When I started with Yes, I had the original tape machine. I was using early technology at the time so when the computer came I just jumped on it. I was working on so many different things on the computer, and Vangelis (Papathanassiou) gave me a saxophone and when I plugged it in, my saxophone sounded like an orchestra.”

“In some ways, I never know what is going to come up musically each day,” he said. “It is quite an adventure with music.”

In 2017, Anderson was inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the progressive rock band Yes. “That was really really good. It is a blessing to know that you’ve survived. The main thing is survival. Rick Wakeman stole the show, he was fantastic,” he said. “It was a great feeling. It makes you feel like all the work you’ve done is worthwhile.”

On the key to longevity in the music industry, he said, “Don’t worry about record companies and the business. Get on with your music and you will survive if you keep creating. If you rely on getting a hit record, forget about it. I never wanted to be a pop star because there are so many one-hit-wonders, and I didn’t want to be a one-hit-wonder.”

For young and aspiring musicians and bands, he said, “The door is wide open. One of the great new musicians is Jacob Collier. He connected with Quincy Jones and the right manager at the right place. He is unbelievable. He can write all different kinds of music. He also writes unbelievable orchestration. He is young and very gifted.”

The iconic progressive rocker defined the word success as “being able to survive and to understand why you are here.” “To be successful, you are here to find the truth and spiritual awakening within you. I’m still working on it,” he said.

Anderson concluded about his album 1000 Hands, “It took 30 years to make it but it only takes 30 minutes to listen and enjoy it.”

To learn more about Jon Anderson and his new music, check out his official website and his Facebook page.

Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 17,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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