If you were born before the sixties you may have wondered what became of then popular singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. What happened to his music career and where is he today?
The pop singer goes his own way
In the end of the sixties Cat Stevens who lives in England–born from a Greek father and a Swedish mother–pursued what we could call a “regular” pop musician career. The songs were of high quality but the arrangement were not much different from other typical pop songs in that period. It seems that this was not a life style which he could stomach because he caught ill with tuberculosis and ended up on a hospital.
After this experience he must have decided to change something in his life. He somehow got his record company to drop him. And then started to work with a new approach on his songs–in a more folk-rock direction.
The following albums with that new sound became extremely popular in the beginning of the seventies–many songs have the qualities of a strong melody and complex arrangements while they still can be played on a single guitar at the camp fire. It was as if the earlier person he had been before was forgotten–this was the real Cat Stevens.
The transformation to “Yusuf Islam”
If you listen carefully to the lyrics of the albums you will find a rich layer of search for spirituality and religion. So in the rear view mirror it is perhaps not so surprising that when the artist known as Cat Stevens finally finds some long searched answers in the Islam religion, he practically abandons his music career. He simply stopped making records at all in the end of the Seventies, and put his attention on the religion not to mention the understandable goal of having a life and a family of his own.
He changed his name to Yusuf Islam at the same time. Of course, as the productive artist he was, the creative process does not stop just like that. Now the output went into becoming one of the most respected spokesmen for the religion of Islam itself, always communicating the basic good intentions and values his newly found religion represents.
The music never stops
Actually, Yusuf did continue to make music but now he played music that would communicate the teaching of Islam. Of course, if you listen to some of this musical output which is obviously not meant for the broad public, the quality is sky-high as usual for everything this charismatic singer-songwriter does.
Now, he begins to realize that making a song is actually the best way to communicate something-instead of lecturing, and thus creating a debate where opinions can be questioned-as Yusuf said, “You cannot argue against a good song, and I have some really good songs”. And if you want to come out with messages of peace and understanding what is a faster way of spreading the words than pop music? So Yusuf is recording and singing live again – returning much to the old sound of Cat Stevens and not closing the door to that part of his life and career.
Where to start?
To listen to samples of the music of Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens, and get all your questions answered about this phenomenal artist, go to his own Cat Stevens-website and see for yourself.