Yusuf Islam plans first pop album in 28 years
Yusuf Islam, the singer-songwriter who became a devout Muslim and changed his name fromCat Stevens nearly three decades ago, plans to return to the pop charts this fall.
Thelast pop album by Cat Stevens, Back to Earth, was released in 1978.
On Thursday, Islamannounced that he has struck a deal with Atlantic Records to release a new album,to be called An Other Cup.
"I feel right about making music and singing about life in this fragile world again," Islam, 58, said in a statement.
"It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross."
Since his conversion and name change in 1977 after nearly drowning off the coast of California, Islam has released10 albums of drum-and-vocal performances on his own U.K.-based label Mountain of Light andperformed religious music.
AMuslim scholar and noted humanitarian, the singer said he would like to build links between Islam and the West.
"Much has changed, but today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the West and the West can see Islam," he said.
Atlantic chairman and CEO Craig Kallman lauded Islam's spiritual quest as "one of the most extraordinary stories of our time, a life journey marked by courage, devotion and transformation."
In 2004, the U.S. barred him from entering the country after his name turned up on a no-fly list. At the time, he called the inclusion of his name "ridiculous."
The new album includes a cover of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood which was a hit for the Animals, as well as new songs. It will be released in November.
Islam was born Steven Georgiou in London in 1947. He had hits as Cat Stevens with Morning Has Broken, Lady D'Arbanville, Wild World, The First Cut is the Deepest and Moon Shadow.
Since then he has been involvedwith humanitarian causes, including creating Small Kindness, a charity that helps orphans and families in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
His first secular recording since 1977 came in early 2005 with Indian Ocean, a download-only trackhe recorded to raise funds for victims of the 2004 tsunami.