Before breaking out as a solo artist in the 1990s, Sheryl Crow’s big break came when she was chosen to be backup singer for Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour.
In a new interview with The Independent, Crow looks back on that experience through the lens of the #MeToo movement to reveal she was subjected to constant sexual harassment by Jackson’s manager, Frank DiLeo.
“Naiveté is such a beautiful thing,” said Crow of joining the King of Pop’s tour when she was just 25.
“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,” she added. “But I also got a crash course in the music industry.”
In the “Na Na Song”, off her 1993 debut Tuesday Night Music Club, she references a specific part of DiLeo’s anatomy, singing, “Maybe if let him I’d have had a hit song.”
“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,” she 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.”
She also mentioned DiLeo, who died in 2011, in the audiobook version of her autobiography Words + Music, alleging that he threatened to end her career if she refused his advances, which she did.
That, Crow told The Independent, “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?”