He was born in Athens and started his career in 1990 singing rebetika and laika.
His first personal album “INNOCENT GUILTY” was released in 1996 with music by Panayotis Kalantzopoulos and Evanthia Reboutsika and Aris Davarakis’ lyrics.
This first CD was followed by “JUST A KISS” in 1997 (music: Evanthia Reboutsika, lyrics: Eleni Zioga), “GUARDIAN ANGEL” in 1999 (music: Antonis Mitzelos, lyrics: Eleni Zioga), “IT’S OUR LIFE” in 2000 (music: Evanthia Reboutsika, lyrics: Aris Davarakis), the single “IN ONE GO” in 2001 (music: Lavrentis Macheritsas, lyrics: Isaac Sousis), the double album “YIANNIS KOTSIRAS LIVE” in 2002, which within a few months sold 120.000 copies.
Yiannis Kotsiras has participated in recordings with Nikos Portokaloglou, Nikos Antypas, Dimitris Papadimitriou and Haris Alexiou, besides taking part in the albums dedicated to Dionysis Savvopoulos to Yiannis Markopoulos and to Mikis Theodorakis.
He has appeared live with Haris Alexiou, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Eleni Tsaligopoulou, Dimitris Basis, Kostas Makedonas. He has gone on several summer tours. The 2003 personal tour in particular was most impressive since it included 50 stops in Greece and Cyprus.
In 1998/99 he took part in Yiannis Markopoulos’ concerts in the Athens Concert Hall (a.k.a. Megaron), in the Peace and Friendship Stadium and in Patras.
In May 2001 he interpreted as a soloist Angelos Sikelianos’ “SPIRITUAL MARCH” and Odysseas Elytis’ “AXION ESTI”, two works by Mikis Theodorakis, first in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (a.k.a. Herodion) and then, in September, in Thessaloniki and in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.
He is the fifth –and youngest– interpreter of “AXION ESTI”. The Herodion concert was released on a double CD in December 2001. In April 2002, along with Tania Tsanaklidou, he interpreted Mikis Theodorakis’ “EPITAPH” and “ROMIOSYNI” in Cyprus with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Russia. This concert was repeated in June in Moscow, Athens and Salonica. In July 2002 he sang Mikis Theodorakis’ “THE SUN AND THE TIME” and “ARCADIA VIII (I TALK – CHARIS)” at the Herodion.
In November 2002 he sang Mimis Plessas’ and Lefteris Papadopoulos’ “STREET” at the Megaron.
In March 2003 his sixth personal album was released with the title “WOODEN HORSE” with music by Lavrentis Macheritsas and lyrics by Isaac Sousis. The CD sold a record 50000 copies within a month and went instantly platinum.
In October 2003 he was honoured with the Best Selling Greek Artist award within the framework of the World Music Awards held every year in Monaco, a prize covering two years of top sales (2002 and 2003).
In December 2003 his DVD “WHAT SONG CAN I SING YOU / CONCERT AT THE “KATRAKION” ON 8 SEPTEMBER 2003” was released. The DVD includes the concert recorded with a special DVD technology, the World Music Awards event, video clips, photographic material from the summer tour and a bonus CD single with 5 songs.
In March 2004, just a few days after the Flame-Lighting Ceremony in Ancient Olympia, his CD single “PASS THE FLAME”, containing the song of the Athens 2004 Torch Relay, was released internationally. The CD single contains three versions of the song (English lyrics, Greek lyrics, instrumental). Yiannis Kotsiras interprets the song in both languages.
“PASS THE FLAME” was written by Trevor Horn, a composer who has connected his name with great artists internationally (Paul Mc Cartney, Bryan Ferry, Pet Shop Boys, Art of Noise etc), in collaboration with Lol Creme. The Greek lyrics were written by Lina Nikolakopoulou. The CD was recorded in Sarmwest Studios, the studios Trevor Horn uses in London. The vocals are supported by famous singers from all over the world reflecting the international spirit of the torch relay.
In November 2004 his seventh personal disk was released with the title «30 something» with music and lyrics by Manolis Famellos and Kostas Leivadas. In one of the new songs lyrics are written by Haris Alexiou while is included also a song that music and lyrics are written – for the first time – by Yiannis Kotsiras.