Eight years after his comeback, the man who was once Cat Stevens has returned with the edgy album "Tell 'Em I'm Gone", indulging in blues, R&B and folk rock. The 66 year old Englishman with Greek and Swedish roots wants this to be understood as a homage to the music of his youth.
Last year, Yusuf, who is the only one who triggers an impulse among people over forty under his old stage name Cat Stevens, was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. The overdue recognition of a musician who had a lasting influence on the sound of the seventies with his ingratiating folkpop. With his new record - the third since his comeback in 2006 - he pays homage to the blues. eclipsed met Yusuf in Berlin.
eclipsed: What do you associate with the blues?
Yusuf: For black artists like John Lee Hooker, records and concerts were an opportunity to break out of their social and economic dilemma, improve their lifestyle and gain some recognition. With the blues they could realize that. He stood for emancipation and freedom.
eclipsed: In the meantime, you retired from music for 25 years. How did you rediscover that sound?
Yusuf: It was a very slow process, a gradual approach to my musical roots and the things I grew up with. Although I had never tackled the R&B side that was slumbering inside me before. I really wanted to live it up this time. It all started a few years ago with the song "Peace Train Blues". I had turned Peace Train into a very dark, very authentic blues. That sounded so great, I thought I could do more in that direction.