Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has recorded his first album of modern pop songs in 28 years. The album will be released by Atlantic and the artist’s Ya Records label in November 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Cat Stevens record.
Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman said, “He is one of the greatest singers and songwriters in history. Yusuf’s new songs are as moving and timeless as the classics that inspired a generation. His spiritual quest is one of the most extraordinary stories of our time – a life journey marked by courage, devotion, and transformation. We are all truly fortunate that Yusuf has chosen this moment to return to contemporary music, delivering a deeply heartfelt album that addresses peace, love, and the higher self.”
Stevens became a British pop star in the mid-1960s, while also writing hits for other artists, including “Here Comes My Baby” and “First Cut Is The Deepest.” In 1968, his blossoming career was suddenly derailed when he contracted tuberculosis. He spent a year recovering from his illness, and when he returned to recording, it was with new introspection and sensitivity.
Stevens reemerged in 1970, and the following year he made his US chart debut with the acclaimed “Tea for the Tillerman”. Over the next seven years, he had seven top ten albums, including such classics as “Teaser and the Firecat,” “Catch Bull at Four” and “Buddha and the Chocolate Box.” Having reinvented his music, he wrote and performed such personal and reflective songs as “Wild World,” “Father And Son,” “Peace Train,” “Moonshadow,” “Morning Has Broken” and “Oh Very Young”.
In the midst of his career, Stevens nearly drowned in the Pacific Ocean off Malibu, and experienced a spiritual turning point. Shortly thereafter, his brother gave him a copy of the Qur’an, and he was inspired to remake his life. Converting to Islam, in 1978 he left the music world entirely, changed his name and devoted his life to charitable and educational work.
Yusuf has received a series of awards for his life’s work, including the 2004 “Man for Peace,” given by a committee of Nobel peace laureates. Most recently, he has been invited to attend the upcoming PeaceJam 10th Anniversary Youth Conference in Denver in September 2007. The goal of this historic event, to be attended by three thousand teenagers from thirty-one countries, is to inspire a new generation of peacemakers to transform their local communities, themselves and the world.
Of his return to the pop music world, Yusuf says, “I feel right about making music and singing about life in this fragile world again. It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross.”