In a new interview, Sheryl Crow detailed the alleged sexual harassment she faced early in her career at the hands of a powerful music manager, and how it was a "crash course" in the music industry.
The "All I Wanna Do" singer, who is gearing up to live stream her show The Songs & The Stories from the church she built in her backyard on June 18, spoke to The Independent about Frank DiLeo, the late manager of Michael Jackson. DiLeo—who managed the controversial artist in the '80s and returned to working alongside him just prior to Jackson's death in 2009—died in 2011.
Crow toured with Jackson in 1987, when she was just 25, and told The Independent that, at the time, DiLeo repeatedly made unwanted advances towards her, as well as threatened to ruin her career if she didn't oblige.
"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 said of touring with the "Billie Jean" singer, whose sexual assault allegations were detailed in the 2019 HBO documentary series Leaving Neverland. "But I also got a crash course in the music industry."
Crow said she shut down DiLeo's advances, but when a depressed Crow returned home to Los Angeles, was informed by a lawyer that she should have given in to his advances in order to further her music career.
"It was disillusioning," the Grammy winner, 59, recalled. "I think when your dream bubble is burst you either go: ‘Okay, well, I'm going to forget that dream,' or you do what I did, which was wallow in it for about a year, and then you pull your bootstraps up and you get back to work."
Crow previously channeled her anger towards DiLeo in her 1993 track "The Na-Na Song," which featured the lyrics, "Frank DiLeo's dong / Maybe if I'd him I'd have had a hit song."
She's eager to confront the harassment she faced head on in her music, with her new live streamed show. Crow told the newspaper, "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's rep had no immediate comment when reached by E! News and no contact was listed for DiLeo's estate.