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Yusuf/Cat Stevens on new album, a Green Day collab, & Glasto 2023

Yusuf/Cat Stevens on new album, a Green Day collab, & Glasto 2023

Yusuf/Cat Stevens has spoken to NME about his newly-announced album ‘King Of A Land’, as effectively as his views on the Glastonbury 2023 legend’s slot, Rishi Sunak’s government, and his desire of working with Inexperienced Working day. Look at out new solitary ‘Take The Globe Apart’ underneath, alongside with our interview with the icon.

The first wave of artists for this summer’s pageant was uncovered earlier this thirty day period, with Arctic Monkeys and Guns N’ Roses set to join Elton John in headlining the legendary Pyramid Stage – and Yusuf/Cat Stevens filling the coveted legends slot on Sunday afternoon.

Clean on the heels of the announcement, the legendary singer-songwriter – who to start with discovered fame ‘Matthew And Son’ when he was just 18 in 1967, prior to releasing the likes of ‘First Minimize Is The Deepest’, ‘Father And Son’, ‘Morning Has Broken’, ‘Peace Train’ and ‘Wild World’ – has these days (March 15) revealed particulars of his new album, ‘King Of A Land’.

“I did not have a system for what this album was going to be and, in a way, I have been recording it for 12 yrs,” he instructed NME. “I started recording it in Berlin in 2011, but I was not satisfied with the tracks I laid down there. About the yrs, I have steadily been perfecting them. I reside in Dubai, wherever I’ve been introducing particulars in my studio. So it’s taken a extensive time, but it’s benefitted from that.

“I was not heading to permit go right up until it’s all set and I’m quite, quite happy with the final results. It’s almost certainly one of my very best albums.”

Yusuf / Cat Stevens performing live on stage in 2020
Yusuf / Cat Stevens performs are living. Credit score: Getty

Designed with Yusuf’s longtime producer Paul Samwell-Smith, ‘King Of A Land’ is a fascinatingly varied album, veering from the childlike marvel of ‘How Excellent It Feels’ and gospel-tinged ‘Highness’ to the politicised rock of ‘All Nights All Days’ and the large ‘Pagan Run’. The album is released with infectious acoustic solitary ‘Take The Environment Apart’.

“I retained on experience it was anyone else’s music,” he stated of the keep track of. “I’d participate in it to people, declaring, ‘Who wrote this? It seems like just one of your songs’. It received put to the back again of the shelf, but every single music has its time.

“Once I identified the proper words and phrases, the daylight came in and that track had its prospect to are living. It utilises a melody by Tchaikovsky, and I’m so happy I can pay out tribute to the initial composer who encouraged me.”

https://www.youtube.com/view?v=qWVkLV6WLhI

NME caught up with Yusuf to focus on his new file, as perfectly as why it’s taken so long to get to Deserving Farm, his despair at politicians and admiration for Greta Thunberg, and why he’d like to function with Environmentally friendly Day.

NME: Hi, Yusuf. Congratulations on ‘King Of A Land’. It’s these kinds of a assorted album. The music ‘Pagan Run’ is a surprisingly hard rock song. What motivated it?

Yusuf: “I in some cases generate tracks that emphasis on periods of my life. ‘Pagan Run’ focuses on the seriously messed up time in my daily life when I experienced no concept in which I was going. Pleasure was so elusive for me, and I’d come to be superstitious. Some men and women only have superstition, not religion, and which is all I experienced. When Stevie Marvel came out with ‘Superstition’, I considered: ‘Wow, he’s strike it on the head!’ Men and women say they don’t have religion, but they do. There is always a thing where you imagine: ‘If I do this, it’ll help save me from receiving into trouble’.”

“‘Pagan Run’ took me again to that incredibly baffled moment in my lifetime. It’s a wonderful rock track, so you’ve obtained two issues to pay attention to: the terms, and I assume it’s musically 1 of the best rock songs I have built.”

In 1977 you converted to Islam, changing your title to Yusuf Islam and quitting the songs market in 1979 just before step by step returning in the 2000s. Do you wish you’d experienced it much easier ahead of locating your religion, or are you glad you went through that dim time to get to exactly where you are now?

“I’ve under no circumstances wished to change anything at all, as it is how you study and progress. Just about every issue is an option acquired get a small bigger on the ladder. I’ve always motivated to go forward and do points improved.”

 

How do you really feel about enjoying the legends slot at Glastonbury?

“I’m petrified, definitely! I haven’t accomplished a huge gig like that in a long time. How numerous hundreds of 1000’s of people is it?”

Devoid of seeking to petrify you more, the official attendance is 195,000.

“There we are. It is teatime on a Sunday, when every person has spare time to see whoever is on. That is why I’m a little little bit terrified. But some thing usually can help you when all those issues are there to be fulfilled. I think I’ll get that assist, and Glastonbury will be a pretty critical instant in my occupation. It took me time to say sure to the offer, but it is a bucket record moment. A lot of persons would like to see me stay, and this is one particular significant go when they can do that. For me, I could have accomplished it several years ago, but I took that very long sabbatical in my life.”

It is shocking you didn’t participate in Glastonbury in the ’70s right before that sabbatical. Why not?

“Maybe due to the fact my tunes was prone to solitary contemplation, to working issues out in just yourself. My tunes was microscopically very important but, for significant things? People never ever danced to my documents, they made use of them to sit down and listen. I imagined that was my great deal in daily life, that my tunes produced folks sit down and listen.”

Will you be keeping for the whole weekend and love the whole Glastonbury expertise?

“I really don’t know, I’ll see how considerably I can regulate. It is these kinds of a significant gig, I’ll be pondering about my set and earning positive that goes alright as my precedence.”

Glastonbury Festival crowd
Crowds of persons collect in front of the main Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2022. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Photographs

You launched your initial album as Yusuf/Cat Stevens with ‘The Laughing Apple’ in 2017. Do you see any variance between Yusuf and Cat Stevens?

“If you contact me by my initially title, it’s Yusuf. But I can not deny the fact that most men and women think of Cat Stevens when they imagine of me. That’s their embedded impact of who I am, what I have contributed to their life. And that is Ok. You can be many factors at the identical time in lifestyle: father, son, brother, and all individuals identities are Ok.”

You re-recorded your common album ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ for its 50th anniversary in 2020, as ‘Tea For The Tillerman 2’. How do you experience when you revisit your aged tracks now?

“Remaking ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ was a new way of connecting to individuals tunes. ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ was this sort of a huge album that it was a tiny daunting for me, having a strong album that improved people’s lives. I’d been terrified of it, and revisiting it was my way to reclaim it. It will make it suitable to me again.

“The imagery on the front of ‘Tea For The Tillerman 2’ tells it all: those had been the days of summertime and enjoy, but now that particular person is putting on a spacesuit simply because it is dark and the air is so polluted.”

Talking of pollution, what do you think of Greta Thunberg?

“She’s an individual who we desire of arising. There are even now brave souls, which is the way of human mother nature. You can think daily life is incredibly dim, but anyone like Greta arrives alongside with a little lamp to make you believe: ‘Wow, I can see the way forward now’. She nevertheless has to offer with the institution, of system.”

You address the establishment in ‘All Days All Nights’ on the new album. How do you sense about the existing government?

“I say it clearly in the music: ‘Lock them up in London Zoo’. Politicians are meant to glimpse following persons, but it ends up as a squabble. Even if they believe that in what the opposition occasion claims, they have to oppose it. Which is the default position in politics, which normally takes absent the wonderful ethical incentive politicians can begin with, of seeking to enable provide folks and help you save the globe. That gets shed alongside the way.”

‘King Of A Land’ is introduced on George Harrison’s history label, Darkish Horse. Could you come to feel George’s spirit when you ended up mixing the album at his outdated Surrey house, Friar Park?

“Oh, George’s spirit was there, of class. George still left his spirit in so numerous destinations, which include naturally his music. His son Dhani is the provider of George’s legacy, and he protects it beautifully. Friar Park is like it’s manufacturer new, as every thing in the studio performs so fantastically. It was a pleasure and a privilege to operate there. Going for walks all over the grounds, there is fields and lakes, wonderful rock arrangements. It is just attractive.”

How a great deal do you preserve up with modern day audio?

“Not very considerably. I arrived from one particular of pop’s pinnacle eras, when there’d be a new milestone each 7 days, so I are inclined to hear to that interval most. But I adore Eco-friendly Working day because of their concept. ‘Know Your Enemy’ is an outstanding track with a concept about the Iraq war that was right on time.”

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs are living in 2022. Credit: Jim Bennett/Getty Pictures

Would you be fascinated in functioning with Environmentally friendly Day?

“Yeah! Wow, that’s a excellent strategy. I think they listened to my music ‘Bitterblue’ prior to generating ‘Know Your Enemy’, as I can listen to little titbits of it in the chords and some of the text. I reckon we could certainly get it on.”

‘King Of A Land’ is unveiled on June 16 on BMG/Darkish Horse. Look at out the total tracklisting beneath.

‘Train On A Hill’
‘King Of A Land’
‘Pagan Run’
‘He Is True’
‘All Nights All Days’
‘Another Evening In The Rain’
‘Things’
‘Son Of Mary’
‘Highness’
‘The Boy Who Realized How To Climb Walls’
‘How Superior It Feels’
‘Take The Planet Apart’