Cat Stevens Biography
Cat Stevens (born Steven Demetre Georgiou on July 21, 1948), now known as Yusuf Islam, is a well-known British musician, singer-songwriter and a prominent convert to Islam.
At the outset of his musical career, Georgiou adopted the stage name Cat Stevens; under this moniker, he sold over 60 million albums, mostly in the 1970s. His most notable songs include "Morning Has Broken", "Peace Train", "Moonshadow", "Wild World", "Father and Son", "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out", "The First Cut Is the Deepest", and "Trouble".
Stevens became a convert to Islam in 1977, after a near-death experience. He adopted the name Yusuf Islam in 1979, and became a pious advocate for the religion, devoting himself to educational and philanthropic causes in his community. A decade later, controversy arose when he was reported to have made comments supporting a fatwa calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie, but he later claimed to have been misinterpreted. He publicly and vehemently condemned the September 11 attacks, saying they were not consonant with the teachings of their religion, and mourned the loss of life. In 2004, he returned to the public eye when he was denied entry into the United States after his name appeared on a no-fly list. He successfully sued British newspapers for libel because of their reports on this incident.
Yusuf Islam currently lives with his wife and children in London, where he is an active member of the Muslim community. He founded, and is chairman of, the Small Kindness charity, which initially assisted famine victims in Africa and now supports thousands of orphans and families in the Balkans, Indonesia, and Iraq. Islam also founded the charity Muslim Aid, in 2004 he was given the Man of Peace award for his great accomplishments to the international social justice and peace.
Yusuf Islam is scheduled to release a new pop album in November 2006 entitled "An Other Cup". This would be his first pop album of new songs in 28 years.
Steven Georgiou was the third child of a Greek-Cypriot father (Stavros Georgiou) and a Swedish mother (Ingrid Wickman). The family lived above the restaurant that his parents operated on Shaftesbury Avenue, a few steps from Piccadilly Circus and Soho.
Although his father was Greek Orthodox, Georgiou was sent to a Catholic school, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School in Macklin Street.
When Georgiou was about eight years old, his parents divorced, although they both continued to live above the restaurant. Later, his mother moved back to Gävle, Sweden and took him with her. It was there that he started developing his drawing skills, due to the influence of his uncle Hugo (a painter).
At age 16, he left high school and was accepted, then later dismissed from, Hammersmith Art School. It was during this period he was first influenced by folk music.
Cat Stevens was nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, but not voted in.
On 10 November 2004, Yusuf Islam was presented with a Man of Peace award by the private foundation of former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, for his 'dedication to promote peace, the reconciliation of people and to condemn terrorism'; the ceremony was held in Rome, Italy and attended by five Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Almost a year later, on 4 November 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief.
On 20 October 2005, Yusuf Islam was named ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year, and also received Song of the Year honors for "The First Cut Is The Deepest", at a special presentation in London. At the ceremony, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored the top British writer and publisher members of the UK's Performing Rights Society.
On 11 October 2006, Yusuf Islam was named Songwriter of the Year for the second year running, and also received another award for the same song "The First Cut Is The Deepest", at a special presentation in London. At the ceremony, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored the top British writer and publisher members of the UK's Performing Rights Society..