- 14 Jun 21
Back in 1987, aspiring singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow landed in the Los Angeles auditions for Michael Jackson's first ever solo tour from Missouri. Then aged-25, Crow recalls how Jackson's late manager Frank DiLeo threatened her career.
Sheryl Crow has opened up about her experiences of sexual harassment while on tour with Michael Jackson, where the former Jackson 5 members manager Frank DiLeo threatened to derail her career.
At the time, Crow was a backing singer for the music icon. Speaking to the Independent on Saturday, Crow referenced the “crash course in the music industry” she received before making it big as a solo star.
“It’s really interesting to go back and revisit some of this old stuff and the experiences that went along with it, and then to compare it with where we are now,” Crow said.
“To be able to play that stuff about the long bout of sexual harassment I endured during the Michael Jackson tour and to talk about it in the midst of the #MeToo movement...it feels like we’ve come a long way, but it doesn’t feel like we’re quite there yet.”
Crow alleges that DiLeo repeatedly made sexual advances to her and vowed to sabotage her career if she didn’t comply with his requests.
She previously claimed in her 2020 autobiography Words + Music that DiLeo had planted tabloid stories about her “to make Mike look like he was interested in women”, by alleging that Jackson had offered her millions to have his baby after falling in love with her.
“Naiveté is such a beautiful thing,” Crow said. “It was incredible in every way, shape and form for a young person from a really small town to see the world and to work with arguably the greatest pop star. But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
The memoir “was the first time I’ve ever talked about it and it felt really uncomfortable, but it felt, to me, so much more empowering to be able to talk about it and then play the music that was inspired by it”.
“Isn’t that what music is really for? To help us work through whatever our experiences are, and hopefully for the collective to find their own situations in your music too?” she added.
DiLeo died at the age of 63 in August 2011 following heart surgery, but had managed Jackson both in the late 1980s and in 2009 before the singer’s death.
Crow also previously claimed to have seen some “really strange” things while working as Michael Jackson’s backing singer in the late 1980s.
Crow has won a total of 9 Grammy Awards from 32 nominations, winning Best New Artist and Record Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance after releasing her debut album 1993's Tuesday Night Music Club and sharing the hit 'All I Wanna Do'.
Now aged 59, the Nashville-based musician has released 11 studio albums, four compilations, and two live albums, and has contributed to several film soundtracks in her time as an artist. Her final studio album, Threads, was announced as her last in 2019.