Singer ‘refuses’ to face sold-out Royal Festival Hall

Singer ‘refuses’ to face sold-out Royal Festival Hall


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2015

It is reported that the award-winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson refused to leave her hotel room to perform at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday. By the time she was coaxed out, half the audience had left.

Cassandra later went on social media to blame the ‘unprofessional and disrespectful’ promoter.

The promoter said: ‘Cassandra is an artist I still have huge respect for as a singer. I just have very little respect for the way she behaved. She treated the audience with contempt. I understand people who are too sick to perform or are very unhappy and need looking after but the first mention of any illness was when she went on stage. The things she has said simply don’t fit together.’

More details here.




  • Katherine says:

    Sounds like she might have a mental illness and found it difficult to do her job. There’s not enough help for performers who find it very difficult in the face of illness… then again they didn’t actually mention what is wrong with her.

    …Speculation abound!

  • V.Lind says:

    It sounds as if something may be wrong as her behaviour and explanation were incoherent. But she was aware enough to throw blame at another, who was seemingly blameless.

    Unfortunately, it sounds somewhat like a compounded version of a behaviour all too often delivered by popular singers, whatever their genre. Keeping the audience waiting seems to be part of the routine. It wasn’t always — I suspect in pop, anyway, this is post-60s, when the money got really huge. Don’t know how jazz singers performed back in the day.

    If someone is in a fragile way, maybe the longer she waits the more irrational she gets. If she had been at the venue on time to perform when the house filled and the lights went down, none of this might have happened. One of the things about classical music — and there are plenty of nervous artists there, too, who have stage fright till they get on — is that they usually start on time.

    Once when I covered popular music an artist called me personally and invited me to his show, with the clear intention that I could then give his new album a boost. I went, and I waited, and waited, and waited. I had an early start the next day, so I finally told the promoter I was going, and that I was disgusted. I never clapped eyes on that artist, and wasted a good part of an evening. And I notice the top acts do not do this — Sir Paul, etc.

    So if this singer is ill, As Katharine sympathetically posits, I too hope she gets help. If not, somebody needs to tell her to grow up and give herself a shake. No wonder pop acts cost so much. The insurance the promoters must have to take out on them must be massive, with losses like this.