Yusuf Islam was born on the 21st of July in 1948 in London with the name Steven Demetre Georgiou. He is a singer, songwriter and can play various instruments. He became famous with the artist name Cat Stevens and his parents come from England and Cyper. Since his convertation to islam in 1978 he is named Yusuf Islam and he changed his artist name in Yusuf. He is said to be the most important, popular and wellknown moslem. He can play guitar, drums and keyboard. His style can be called anywhere between Softrock and Folkrock. His most famous songs are Wild Wold (1970), Father and Son (1971) and his cover of the british church-song Morning has Broken (originally by Eleanor Farjeon, by Cat Stevens in 1971).
Steven Demetre Georgiou was born on the 21st of July 1948 in London. He was the son of a greek from cyper and a swedin (Ingrid Wickman). He lived his childhood in the english capital where his father had the restaurant „Moulin Rouge“ in the district „Soho“. Today Yusuf lives together with his wife and 5 children in the north of London where he founded some coran-schools. He tries to educate his children very strict islamic together with his wife.
Carreer as Cat Stevens
He started to write his first songs a the end of the 1960s and performed with the artists name Cat Stevens but with a very advantage success. He made tournees trough the country but the big populariy didn't arrived. At the very first, he gigged in coffes houses and pubs. He said later that he accepted very soon, that nobody would go into a music store and ask for a CD by Steven Demetre Georgiou. The result was, that he changed his name into Cat Stevens because of two reasons: on the one hand a friend of him told him, that he had eyes like a cat, and on the other hand he knew that american and european people liked animals. 1968 at the age of 20 he became ill; tuberculose. Because of this he had to go to hopsital for a longer time. After a successful comeback with the lable Island records in the 1970s he rised from local musican to worldstar; during 1967 and 1977 he sold more than 41.000.000 albums. In 1971 Cat Stevens wrote the filmmusic for the film „Harold and Maude“
In 1975 he almost drowned in Malibu (California) and he called it was the help of god, that a wave brought him back to the coast. He became very thinkful afterwards and some years after, on the 30th of december 1977 he decided to play no longer with his artist name Cat Stevens. The reason for this was, that shortly before his brother gave a coran to him that he read intensively. He told that this book has changed his whole life and in fact, it did. Still in december 1977 he converted to the islam and on the 4th of july 1978 he changed his name into Yusuf Islam and stopped to make any music. Before this change in his life music was the most important thing; but the honor and popularity he never liked. He said sometimes: „I never wanted to be a star...“. But as he had still an open record deal with Island records he published in 1978 still one album with the synonye Cat Stevens. The album was called Back to Earth, his last gig as a star he played in december 1979 on the benefiz concert Year of the Child. Afterwards he married the turkish woman Fauzia and together they had 6 children; 4 dauthers and 2 sons. One of the sons died with only 13 days because of a heart illness.
Career as Yusuf Islam
Long times nothing was heard from Yusuf and only recently, in 1995 he started again to make some music, but only on a very small base; he tried to get through as an islamic singer without guitar accomplishment. It was only voice and percussion. This music was for sure very different from the music he made as Cat Stevens. At this point of time he refused to play the guitar in any way, because after his conviction at this time, the guitar would be a western instrument, that didnt fit into his believes. It's said that it was his son, who brought him back to the guitar (or maybe gmc ? ) His first concert took place 17 years after his „break“ in 1997 in Sarajevo. This benefiz gig helped to rebuild Bosnia-Herzegowina. In 2000 he published an album for children called „A Is for Allah“. 2003 he took part of a mixture-album together with Peter Gabriel and sang the song Peace Train a cappella. 2004 you could find Yusuf again in the Pop-Charts when the Stevens-Song Father and Son was republished as a duett together with the irish singer Ronan Keating. In may 2005 he performed on a benefiz concert that fought versus landmines together with Paul McCartney in Neuss. Besides others, they sang together „Let it Be“. After as good as 28 years of not making music or playing for benefiz concerts only, on the 10th of november he published the album „Another Cup“ with the synonyme „Yusuf“. Islam says, he wants to give a part of the money he earns with this album to charity. On the 25th of march 2007 he was honored with an „Echo“ prize for his life as musican and ambassador between nations. In 2007 Yusuf told not to publish any further albums. This can be seen as the (definite) end of his career but – who knows?
He is the son of Yusuf and his album „Buy my Heart at Wounded Knee“ appeard in 2007. His music is in the style of the 1960s folk musicans and his father. There are also some indian themes in there.
Yusuf Islam is involved in some projectios of the united nations in Kosovo, in Irak and also in his home-town London. He founded in 1988 the first islamic school in Great-Britain that was supported from the gouvernment. After the bomb attacks on London in 2005 Yusuf helped the gouvernment as a advisor to fight the islamic extremism.
Critic on his religious position
In an interview where he was asked to his position to homosexuality he said it would be a sin. In September 2004 he wasn't allowed to travel to the USA because they thought he might be dangerous. He was named on a list of terror suspects. The US gouvernment questioned him after his landing in Washington, D.C. And afterwards he was said to leave straight. In an Interview with Larry King (CNN) he said, in his opinion, it was a missunderstanding because his name was spelled wrong by the americans and the terror suspect would be someone completely different. He said the american administration made a mistake and did not want to declare that. Besides that on the Echo awards in 2007 he didn't wanted to talk with the hostess women. His manager decleared that Yusuf would not talk to any woman who did not wear a shawl. Later on he took distance to this interview because he was accused to be woman-hating.
Studio albums / Cat Stevens:
1966: Matthew & Son (UK-Charts # 7)
1967: New Masters
1970: Mona Bone Jakon (UK # 63)
1970: Tea for the Tillerman (UK # 20, US # 8)
1971: Teaser and the Firecat (UK # 3, US # 2)
1972: Catch Bull At Four (UK # 2, US # 1) (Re-Release 1985 as 18th Avenue)
1973: Foreigner (UK # 3, US # 3)
1974: Buddha And The Chocolate Box (UK # 3, US # 2)
1975: Numbers (US # 13)
1977: Izitso (UK # 18, US # 7)
1978: Back To Earth (US # 33)
Studio albums / Yusuf Islam
1995: The Life Of The Last Prophet
1996: Welcome To The Qur'an: Gateway To Faith
1998: Prayers Of The Last Prophet
1998: I Have No Cannons That Roar
2000: A Is For Allah
2002: I Look, I See
2006: An Other Cup