Yusuf / Cat Stevens

The son of a Greek Cypriot restaurateur father and a Swedish mother, Steven Demetre Georgiou (born July 21st, 1948) grew up in London's West End, surrounded by the glitz and glamour of theatre and show business. He learned piano but, inspired by The Beatles, took up guitar and started playing on the Soho folk scene. He created the stage persona of Cat Stevens and released his debut single “I Love My Dog” which was a minor hit. but the bright, poppy follow-up “Matthew & Son” was what made him a teen star. Musically ambitious, he soon outgrew the shallow demands of pop stardom, reinventing himself as a more spiritual singer-songwriter. Acclaim for his 1970s albums Teaser and the Firecat and Catch Bull at Four along with hit singles “Peace Train”, “Morning Has Broken” and “Moon Shadow” followed. A near-death experience while swimming in California changed his life; he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, quit music to devote himself to teaching, and renounced his past life as Cat Stevens. By 2000, however, his life had balanced out and he agreed to promote some Cat Stevens re-issues, tentatively returning to recording, notably with a 2005 single “Indian Ocean” about the 2004 tsunami. In 2006 he released his first album of secular music in almost 30 years. The album, An Other Cup, was followed up by Yusef's first live performance in London in as many years, at Porchester Hall. Since then he has played an active role in many charitable organisations, performing live and recording singles in aid and awareness. He has also continued to write and release solo work including the 2009 album Roadsinger, 2014's Tell 'Em I'm Gone and The Laughing Apple, released in 2017. In 2020, he revisited his classic 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman on its fiftieth anniversary, billing the re-recorded edition as Tea for the Tillerman2 and dueting with his 22-year-old self on a new version of his hit single “Father and Son”.

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