Guy Sebastian said Westlife singer Shane Filan’s audience was full of ‘older fat wild women’
Guy Sebastian had been hesitant to back boy band star Shane Filan on a UK tour because the Westlife singer’s audience would be full of ‘older fat wild women’.
Sebastian feared that his appearance on the tour would not match his style of music and the Irish singer’s type of fans.
The Australian Idol winner testifies at the trial of his longtime agent Titus Day, who is accused of embezzling nearly $900,000 from him. Day denies all allegations against him.
Sebastian told the Downing Center District Court in Sydney on Thursday that he had agreed to support Filan on his 2017 UK tour after expressing serious reservations to his manager.
Guy Sebastian had been hesitant to back boy band star Shane Filan on a UK tour because the Westlife singer’s audience would be full of ‘fat, old wild women’. He is pictured with his wife Jules
Sebastian feared his appearance on Shane Filan’s UK tour was “the right fit” for his style of music and the Irish singer’s type of fan base. Filan is pictured performing in 2019
In an email dated May 16, 2017, he wrote to Day: “I’m not trying to be choosy but it’s a big investment and talking to Sammy who did a similar tour she said that they were all fat older wild women.”
Sebastian said the words “older fat wild women” were later deleted from his original email in a response from Day and regretted using them.
“I said something that wasn’t great, something about wild old women or something,” he said.
“I said that, but it disappeared in Mr Day’s response. In fact, he took it down. Sebastian later said, “obviously it’s not something I’m proud of”.
Sebastian previously told the court that it had been a “quite contentious point” between him and Day that he “didn’t really have any opportunities” to perform overseas.
“I saw other artists having opportunities and I wanted to see my management do their best,” he said Wednesday.
“At the time, we both recognized that our relationship was on hot coals.”
Titus Day pleaded not guilty to 50 counts of embezzlement as a clerk or servant, and another 50 counts of theft. He managed Guy Sebastian for a decade before the couple acrimoniously split
Filan was one of Westlife’s two lead vocalists, among the greatest boy bands of all time, and went on to have a successful career as a solo artist.
Sebastian had agreed to tour with Filan to increase his visibility in the UK market before hoping he would release an album there. He wasn’t going to get paid for his performance.
Before committing to the gigs, Sebastian expressed reservations about whether it was something he should do.
“I absolutely had questions when he was introduced to me,” he said on Thursday. ‘If it was the right tour and the right fit.’
At the time, Sebastian was making ‘very electronic’ music which he felt might not appeal to Filan’s audience – ‘Mr Filan being a former member of a boy band’.
“I thought I would stand out from the main show,” he said.
Sebastian had planned not to complete the full tour as he would be attending his brother’s wedding. “There were shows I was going to miss,” he said.
Sebastian denied he ever deliberately failed to tell his agent about a paid performance to deny him his 20% commission
In the end, Sebastian only played about half of the booked performances, returning to Australia and leaving another backing vocalist, Matt Gresham, to take his place on the tour.
“There were a lot of reasons why I chose to go home,” Sebastian said. “I was right in my assertions that this was not the right solution.”
Sebastian said on Wednesday that he also had mental health issues while on tour with Filan.
“I had reached a not-so-great place and the tour itself was a part of that,” he said.
Day pleaded not guilty to 50 counts of embezzlement as a clerk or servant, and 50 other counts of theft.
Mr Toomey sued Sebastian for several of the charges which The Voice coach said appeared to have been made in error.
Day (left) and Sebastian (right) had worked together since 2007, four years after the singer won the first Australian Idol series against Shannon Noll, another former client of Day.
A charge related to a payment of $17,154.61 made to Day’s accounts for Sebastian’s services on July 4, 2014. Sebastian agreed to add this sum to a payment of $121,651.20 made to Day four days later for a total of $138,805.81.
A day later, a payment of $111,044.65 was made from Day to Sebastian – exactly 80% of the figure of $138,805.81, and what would remain after Day took his commission.
Sebastian agrees that it looks like he received the money he was owed and said he had “absolutely no desire” to see Day prosecuted for offenses he did not commit.
“If there are any mistakes, I will raise my hand, absolutely,” he said.
Another charge was based on $1,200 paid into Day’s account on December 19, 2014. Day received an additional $11,000 on December 22, and exactly 80% of that combined sum was paid to Sebastian a week later.
Sebastian is pictured outside Downing Center District Court, where the embezzlement trial of his former manager Titus Day has been beset with delays, including the death of a judge
When asked if he received the $1,200 Day was charged with embezzlement, Sebastian replied, “Yeah, I would accept that.”
“From what you present to me, it seems like the numbers add up,” he told the jury.
Sebastian has previously denied deliberately scamming Day by not stating that he performed a concert at a car dealership for a $30,000 fee.
The singer said on Wednesday he performed a concert at Clintons Toyota in Gregory Hills in Sydney’s south-west on February 2, 2017.
He had previously bought a four-wheel-drive Toyota from Clintons and said it was possible he told a reporter at the event that he was performing for free.
Cross-examined by Day’s lawyer, Dominic Toomey SC, Sebastian said he was unsure if he had actually received payment.
“I don’t remember,” he said. “Maybe I was.”
Guy Sebastian is a judge on The Voice Australia with (left to right) fellow singers Rita Ora, Keith Urban and Jessica Mauboy
Sebastian said he would have told Day about the engagement and his manager would have been entitled to 20% of any performance fee.
Pressed on whether he would disclose a paid performance to Day so he could keep the commission, Sebastian strongly denied he would ever do such a thing.
“It absolutely wouldn’t have been an intention like that to pocket anything – I’m guessing there was some sort of payment made by the interrogation line…” he said .
“But there’s absolutely no reason why I would go to any lengths to hide any type of payment.”
Sebastian was then shown financial records which recorded payments of $29,600 and $400 from Clintons Toyota made on January 25 and 27, respectively.
The Crown claimed that Sebastian was underpaid by at least $886,175.10 per day in performance fees, royalties and ambassadorship between 2013 and 2020.
When asked if the sum of these two payments – $30,000 – was his regular fee for one-off gigs, Sebastian replied, “It varied, but it was a fairly common figure.”
Mr. Toomey suggested that Sebastian had not told Day that he had played at the Clintons.
“Okay, but that wouldn’t have been intentional,” the singer replied.
Mr. Toomey further suggested that Sebastian failed to pay Day his $30,000 fee commission.
“It wouldn’t have been intentional either,” Sebastian said. I don’t remember ever being paid for it. It was never even close to an intention for me to rip off Mr. Day, ever.
“And if it’s an isolated thing, I’ll watch it.” I’ll take care of it. It’s obviously not great.
The trial continues.