Cat Stevens says NZ is one of the most beautiful places

music news 31/03/2017

Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, is finally back in the touring game after a 17-year break.

The 'Morning Has Broken' singer told The Project he decided to get back on stage after seeing how many terrible things were going on in the world.

"I said, 'I think it's time for me to sing 'Peace Train' again,' and that was the beginning," he said.

"The first time I was in front of 50,000 people again, I was going, the sound of the enthusiasm and the love which met me up there, was just incredible. And I thought maybe I've got a job to do."

And it's a job he's dived into headfirst.

"It's reconnecting with those souls and spirits that kind of missed me for a little bit, but it's great to be using music as healing some of the gaps which have appeared over the years," Yusuf said.

But there were some hiccups in this attempt to "rebuild humanity". He struggled to get a visa to re-enter the US - as a converted Muslim, he had to go through an extra step to get it reconfirmed.

For a man who's focused on peace, he says US President Donald Trump needs to "sort this out".

"He hasn't got much influence these days. That's the problem - it's all sort of dribbling down into the gutter. But he's a phenomenon, what can you say."

For Yusuf's tour, a return to New Zealand means a return to serenity. He was last in the country in 2010.

"It was such a beautiful place on this earth," he said.

"You're living in a place that's close to nature - you're actually on the edge of nature."

Yusuf will be playing shows in Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth while he's here - tickets are on sale from April 5.