Cat Stevens, Voyage of a Legacy

Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou; 21 July 1948)

Cat Stevens grew from being a teen idol of the 1960s into one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time. In addition to his vast musical achievements, his lifelong spiritual quest has added intrigue and depth to a groundbreaking career. 

In 1968 the heavy work load of touring, media commitments, and the perks of a pop-star lifestyle took its toll and Cat contracted a potentially fatal bout of tuberculosis which hospitalised him for several months. It was during this time that he began a significant process of inner reflection and meditation. Following his recovery, and with a new perspective on the world, Cat underwent a profound musical transformation. He wrote some 40 songs and made fundamental changes to his lifestyle. The songs of this era would also go on to be appreciated by future generations, their timeless quality was shown when a cover of ‘Father & Son’ became a huge hit for the Irish pop band Boyzone in the 1990s.

In 1975 Cat experienced another momentous and life-changing event. Whilst swimming in the Pacific Ocean off Malibu he began to be swept out to sea. Fearing imminent death, he called to God pleading that should he be saved he would dedicate his life to God’s service. At that moment a gentle wave delivered him to the shore and safety. A sequence of events was set in motion and, after receiving a copy of the Koran from his brother, he embraced Islam in 1977. During his Islamic Studies Cat felt a powerful affinity with the story of Joseph and decided to take its Arabic equivalent as his new name, becoming Yusuf Islam in 1978. He then amazed the world by walking away from fame and his career as a music star, to start a family and dedicate himself to charitable work.

In 2003 Yusuf received the ‘World Social Award’ in Germany from an International World Awards Jury for “dedicating his life to aiding the needy and the ill.” And in 2004 he was presented with the Man of Peace award by Mikhail Gorbachev on behalf of a committee of Nobel peace laureates for having worked to “alleviate the suffering of thousands of children and their parents and dedicating himself to promoting peace, reconciling people and the condemnation of terrorism.” 2017 was a wonderfully productive year for Yusuf. He released his fifteenth studio album, The Laughing Apple which earned him his first ever GRAMMY nomination. Yusuf continues to work on an amazing number of creative projects and has recently completed a much anticipated autobiography to be released in 2021. In addition, he is producing super deluxe box sets of his entire catalogue of albums which will serve as the definitive examples of his incredible musical legacy. 

Throughout the course of his incredible career, Yusuf has charmed people’s’ hearts, entertained millions, and brought hope and assistance to those in need. He has had the courage to follow his convictions and the result has been a life of extraordinary adventures which he continues to share through his captivating songs.

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