Cat Stevens to embark on first North American tour since 1976

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People under the age of 40 may have never heard about Cat Stevens, who goes by the name Yusuf Islam these days. But a legend he was, especially in the 1970s when he released such classics as ‘Wild World’, ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Peace Train’.

Releasing his first R&B album ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Gone’, out October 27th, as well as his autobiography ‘Why I Still Carry A Guitar’, out September 16th, the singer announced on Monday that he will be back in a six-stop concert tour in North America in December.

“I’ve been a bit slow in coming around to the United States, but there were so many people asking me to do that, that I just felt an obligation,” Stevens said in a telephone interview from Dubai, where he spends most of his time, UK newspaper The Guardian reports.

Though it might be slightly challenging making such a major return to the music industry since he disappeared in 1976, he nonetheless seems optimistic.

“That’s something I ran away from a long time ago. But that’s not to say the music business is the same as making music. When I finally reconciled my questions about the issue – where it should be in my life – by that time, I had something to say. I wouldn’t be writing songs if I didn’t have something to say,” he added during the phone interview.

He left the scene decades ago after embracing Islam and changing his name to Yusuf.

At the onset of his career, Stevens experimented with various genres, moving from full rock to heavily-produced orchestras, though his sound rose to stunning popularity when he began to delve into a more folk-oriented approach.

Aside from the major albums he released, Stevens’ life has been one of spiritual awakening and deep involvement in education, relief and charity.

The album ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Gone’ returns to the music he listened to when he was young: “Hidden in the background behind my renowned troubadour persona lurked an R&B alter-self waiting to be let free. What’s powerful and profound, to me, is the overall message which emerged, lyrically. It suddenly stared me in the face: the innate struggle for Freedom! Isn’t that what most human beings dream of? Music and the blues particularly was a means of escape for many chained to the destiny of the rich and powerful,” he told Rolling Stones in an interview.

Take a second and listen to his newest single ‘Dying to Live’, the latest release from his upcoming R&B album.