Sheryl Crow has been largely out of the spotlight for a couple of years now. She was interviewed by The Independent in The UK as she gets ready to host a streaming concert from her home. Crow though talked little about the current state of her music career.
Instead, she used the interview to reminisce about her time as a backup singer for Michael Jackson in the 80’s. She recalled the wild times, and the unpleasant interactions with Michael’s former manager Frank DiLeo.
Sheryl Crow showed up at an audition to be one of Michael’s backup singers for his “Bad Tour” in 1988. She recalls showing up to the audition and saying to Jackson, “Hi Michael, my name is Sheryl Crow and I just moved here,” while then adding. “I’m a former music teacher and I would love to go on the road with you.”
A month later she was sharing the stage with Michael in Japan! Crow did say that going on tour with the biggest pop star of the time was amazing. However, she’d quickly get a taste of the dark side of the music industry as well!
Frank DiLeo was Jackson’s manager through the high points of his career in the ’80s. He was also the man behind the return tour in 2009. Of course, that never came to fruition because of Michael’s death later that year. Crow mentions that DiLeo made several sexual advancements on her throughout her time as a backup singer for Jackson.
She also mentions that he threatened her saying if she accused him publically he would ruin her career. At the time Crow hired a big-time lawyer to guide her through a potential lawsuit. She mentions that the lawyer she hired told her to put up with DiLeo if she wanted to make it in show business!
Sheryl went on to talk about how empowering it is for victims of sexual harassment to be able to talk about their past experiences. Saying,
“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”
She did talk about DiLeo’s sexual harassment back in the ’90s though. Certainly risking her career. In The Na-Na Song part of her ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’ album Crow wrote a line that says, “Franki DiLeo’s dong/ Maybe if I’d have let him I’d have had a hit song”
During that tour with Michael Jackson in the ’80s, the news outlets of the time ran stories about Michael falling for a backup singer. Some going as far as to say Michael offered that backup singer which turned out to be Crow 2 million dollars to have his baby.
Crow completely debunked the stories. Instead, saying they were likely pushed by DiLeo. In her view, DiLeo was doing this to make it look like Jackson was interested in women. Crow certainly seems to think that wasn’t the case!