MANILA – Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter James Taylor took to social media to announce the cancellation of his Manila concert next year, saying he needs to make a political stand.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Manila time), Taylor cited the increasing number of deaths related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“I’ve been eagerly looking to play for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February, so it saddens me to cancel our concert there,” he wrote. “I don’t think of my music as being particularly political, but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.”
He continued: “The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs, is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.”
Taylor went on to apologize “for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends.”
“All tickets sold, of course, will be fully refunded. I am grateful to my promoter, Renen de Guia, for his patience and understanding,” he said, adding that his concerts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand will still push through.
Taylor is known for his songs “Fire and Rain,” “Country Road,” “Something in the Way She Moves,” “Mexico” and “Shower the People,” among others.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.