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Cat Stevens

Yusuf Cat Stevens - FUV Live - 2014

by Eric Holland
Eric Holland and Yusuf/Cat Stevens photo by Jeremy Rainer

The dramatic view of Manhattan from the 35th floor of the Sony Building at 550 Madison was immediately forgotten when Yusuf walked into the room. He is magnetic. He smiled when I showed him my original copy of Teaser and the Firecat – the 1971 Cat Stevens album that belonged to my parents which, as it was one of the albums that made me fall in love with music, I had commandeered from their collection decades before.

It was good to have an ice breaker as Yusuf has reason to be distrustful of the press: his beliefs have been misrepresented. In our conversation, he set the record straight on his new album, Tell 'Em I'm Gone, but that's only part of what he discussed. Yusuf spoke thoughtfully. He described how, like Joni Mitchell, he was an artist before he was a musician. He painted a picture of London in the sixties and how the music he heard then - particularly the blues and blues-based rock - is the foundation of his new songs.

He spoke about two near death experiences that caused him to reconsider first, the kind of music he wanted to make and second, his faith. Get to know this generous man of peace and music in this FUV Live session.

Yusuf - Words and Music - 2007

by Claudia Marshall
Photo By Peter Sanders
Retiring from music and his Cat Stevens persona in 1978 looked to be the last we'd hear from Yusuf Islam, but now he's back with the new album 'An Other Cup,' and recently spoke with Claudia Marshall about the path that's led him this far.