Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Happy Birthday, Yusuf!

When I started working on Starart, Yusuf was Cat Stevens. We met several times in Los Angeles, gathered all his artwork, did an interview for the text which included his thoughts on each piece of art. Several months later I went to London to pick up and shoot some of Klaus Voormann's works and to show Steven (as he was called) the mock-up for his section and make the final revisions before we went to print. When I got to his London office, he was dressed completely in white and was sitting on a window sill studying the Koran. He told me he was now Yusuf Islam but he would honor his agreement to be in the book but he didn't want the text I had written from the interviews we did. Instead he wanted to use lyrics with each word that represented a color had to be printed in that color. I did finally convince him to leave in some of his quotes about the pieces of art.

I appreciated that he took his transition to becoming a Muslim very seriously. And respected him for not backing out of the project - his art works were amazing and fit well with the other five artists. I was disappointed that I didn't get to shoot his portrait for the book as I did with the others as he was no longer Cat Stevens...so I had to use this one which he provided.

This is one of many pieces of art in Cat Stevens's section of Starart.

Tried to find are more current live video as he's back to playing but those ones are all full concerts, but I love this song and his intro to it.