‘This has been the most difficult decision of my life’: Lewis Capaldi announces break from live shows ‘for the foreseeable future’ after Tourette’s left him unable to sing during Glastonbury performance
Lewis Capaldi has announced an extended break from touring due to his Tourette’s syndrome after he struggled to finish his Glastonbury set on Saturday – raising fears over the future of his music career.
The singer, 26, took to social media on Tuesday to announce that he will not be touring ‘for the foreseeable future’ as it is ‘obvious’ he needs to spend ‘much more time getting my mental and physical health in order.’
The decision, which he branded ‘the most difficult of my life’, reveals the true toll the condition is taking on the hitmaker, who has been remarkably open about his mental health struggles in the past.
Tourette’s experts today told MailOnline that it was not possible to know when Lewis would be back performing as every individual has different treatment needs, as they praised him for being ‘an inspiration for many’ while warning his recovery should not be rushed.
Meanwhile fans took to social media to rally around the star, as one wrote: ‘If you don’t record or perform again, we all will be sad. But you have done more than millions of people, have done. You are enough, you have done enough. Look after yourself!’
Break: Lewis Capaldi has broken his silence on his Glastonbury performance, thanking fans for their support as he confirmed he will be taking a break from touring
Sorry: Posting on Instagram on Tuesday, Lewis confirmed that he was cancelling the planned 24 live dates he had scheduled for the rest of the year
The Scotsman had already taken three weeks off before his gig on the Pyramid Stage at the weekend, but today admitted it was not enough and that he was ‘still learning to adjust to the impact of my Tourette’s.’
The singer-songwriter became emotional as he started losing his voice during the performance, prompting him to apologise to the crowds – who then helped him finish his songs in heartwarming footage that quickly went viral.
But posting on Instagram on Tuesday, Lewis confirmed that he was cancelling the planned 24 live dates he had scheduled for the rest of the year.
‘Hello everyone. First of all thank you to Glastonbury for having me, for singing along when I needed it and for all the amazing messages afterwards. It really does mean the world,’ he began.
‘The fact that this probably won’t come as a surprise doesn’t make it any easier to write, bit I’m very sorry to let you know I’m going to be taking a break from touring for the foreseeable future.
WHAT IS TOURETTE’S SYNDROME?
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements called tics.
It usually starts during childhood and continues into adulthood. Tics can be vocal, physical or both.
In many cases Tourette’s syndrome runs in families and is often associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Tourette’s syndrome is named after the French doctor, Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described the syndrome and its symptoms in the 19th Century.
There’s no cure for Tourette’s syndrome, but treatment can help to control the symptoms.
Source: NHS Choices
‘I used to be able to enjoy every second of shows like this and I’d hoped 3 weeks away would sort me out. But the truth is I’m still learning to adjust to the the impact of my Tourette’s and on Saturday it became obvious that I need to spend much more time getting my mental and physical health in order, so I can keep doing everything I love for a long time to come.’
‘I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to take some time out when others can’t and I’d like to thank my amazing family, friends, team, medical professionals and all of you who’ve been so supportive every step of the way through the good times and even more during this past year when I’ve needed it more than ever.’
‘I’m so incredibly sorry to everyone who had planned to come to a show before the end of the year but I need to feel well to perform at the standard you all deserve. Playing for you every night is all I’ve ever dreamed of so this has been the most difficult decision of my life. I’ll be back as soon as I possible can. All my love always, Lewis’.
Lewis had 24 remaining dates scheduled for his Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent tour, ending in Belfast at Boucher Road Playing Fields on September 3.
Dr. Monika Wassermann has a specialty in neurology and an extensive background in treating patients with Tourette’s syndrome.
She told MailOnline today: ‘Lewis Capaldi’s openness about his struggle with Tourette’s Syndrome has been a source of inspiration for many.
‘He has shown that it’s possible to have a successful career in a demanding profession despite dealing with a neurological condition.
‘His decision to prioritise his health and take a break from touring also sends a strong message about the importance of self-care.’
But the expert said that when or whether Lewis would sing live again ‘would depend on a multitude of factors and is deeply personal.’
She explained: ‘These factors could include how effectively his symptoms can be managed, his comfort level with performing under those conditions, and his personal desires and ambitions.
‘From a medical standpoint, it’s certainly possible to manage Tourette’s symptoms to a degree where performing would be feasible, even if adaptations are necessary.
‘However, it’s important to stress that every person’s journey with Tourette’s is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.’
However she added: ‘While I can’t predict Lewis Capaldi’s exact path, his resilience, combined with the advances in understanding and managing Tourette’s syndrome, make me hopeful for his future.’
Meanwhile, Abbas Kanani, a superintendent pharmacist at Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, told MailOnline the length of Lewis’s break would depend on his own specific needs.
He said: ‘Longer or physically demanding performances may necessitate more frequent or extended breaks to help the performer manage their tics and prevent fatigue.
‘Some performers may prefer shorter, more frequent breaks, while others may prefer longer breaks less frequently. Professionals will take into account their overall physical and mental stamina, tic patterns and length of performances to determine appropriate break durations.’
He added: ‘Performing on stage can bring about a range of emotional responses such as excitement, anticipation, stress and anxiety which can all be triggers for tics.
‘Additionally, certain sounds, smells or sensory stimuli may also influence the frequency and intensity of tics.
‘Touring can also impact a performer’s sleep pattern, often leaving them sleep-deprived and this can lead to tics becoming more frequent or pronounced.’
Mr Kanani said that managing tics while performing can be ‘challenging’, but said there are strategies that can help.
He said deep breathing exercises, relaxation techniques or engaging in activities that promote focus and relaxation can be beneficial pre-performance.
He explained: ‘This may help to manage anxiety and reduce tic severity. If he experiences temporary periods of tic reduction or remission, known as ”tic-free windows”, scheduling performances during these periods could help minimise the impact of tics.
Lewis took to the Pyramid Stage for his first performance in almost a month on Saturday after taking a break from all commitments in the three weeks prior to the festival
‘Switching the focus on specific aspects of the performance, such as musical notes or lyrics or using mental imagery techniques to redirect attention helps some people.’
While he may not perform live for some time, there could be some good news for fans, according to Dr Joseph Ambani, who suggests making and recording new music could form part of Lewis’s break and treatment plan.
He told MailOnline: ‘A break from touring for someone like Capaldi could involve creating an environment of tranquility and calm, a stark contrast to the high-octane world of concerts and tours.
‘This period could be focused on rest, self-care, and addressing his health concerns without the constant pressures of the spotlight.
‘Engaging with his music in a low-stress environment, such as songwriting or studio recording, could also form a part of this period.’
He added: ‘It’s a time to rejuvenate physically and mentally, a step back to eventually take two steps forward.’
Fans rallied around the star after footage of him struggling to sing at Glastonbury due to his Tourette’s symptoms went viral online.
‘Stay strong and keep fighting, you’re amazing,’ one fan wrote on Twitter, while another added: ‘Just incredible, you have got this, just keep being you.’
One spectator branded the Scotsman ‘absolute class’ for ‘soldiering on’, while another tweeted: ‘Can’t imagine what it takes to have the guts to perform whilst living with Tourette’s but hope Capaldi knows his fans are with him every step.’
Lewis has been open about his struggles with Tourette’s – a neurological condition characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements called tics, which can cause speech and voice abnormalities.
Others said the ‘very moving’ performance will ‘go down in history’ while also helping to raise awareness about the condition.
A Tourette’s sufferer added: ‘I can tell you that he would have been holding them tics in all day and he would have been exhausted, hope he’s okay, he’s now my hero.
‘What he has just done for awareness he has put his career on the line, he’s my hero he gave it a go, well done!’
In his recently released documentary How I’m Feeling Now, Lewis explored his struggles with Tourette’s and how he tried to reconnect with friends and family as he returned to Scotland after becoming famous.
A touching video of Lewis onstage in Frankfurt showed the moment fans took over singing for him as he struggled with Tourette’s symptoms in February this year.
He can be seen turning away from the microphone as he struggled with his head and shoulder twitching uncontrollably, but much like in Glastonbury at the weekend, his legions of fans helped him sing the rest of the song.
Back in September, Lewis first revealed he had Tourette’s and explained that he wanted to go public as he ‘didn’t want people to think he was taking cocaine.’
The singer said the diagnosis was recent and explained that he was learning new methods to deal with it ‘all the time’ – including being treated with Botox injections to freeze his muscles to try to control the tics.
Discussing the diagnosis, Lewis said it filled him with relief, saying: ‘I’m a hypochondriac so I immediately think death, it’s more than worry, I have an all-consuming sense of doom.
‘So when I got the Tourette’s diagnosis, I was like thank God for that, at least it’s not life threatening and everything’s good to go.’
Lewis Capaldi fans rally around the star after a clip of him struggling to sing at Glastonbury due to his Tourette’s symptoms went viral online
Despite his struggles during his Glastonbury performance at the weekend, the star had insisted on finishing his set and the show came to an emotional close as the crowds sweetly sang Someone You Love for him.
The heartwarming moment saw Lewis walk across the stage and sing short bursts of the track, while the kind crowds sang at the top of their voices to support the star.
Near the end of his set, he told the crowd: ‘I feel like I’ll be taking another wee break over the next few weeks, you probably won’t see much of me for the rest of the year.’
During his Glastonbury show, Lewis also candidly opened up about why he had taken a three-week break away from the stage before the music festival.
He said: ‘I took three weeks off because I’ve been non-stop at the start of the year and I wanted a break for my head and my mental health, I wanted to come back and do Glastonbury, because it’s so incredible.’
His fans have since taken to Twitter to reassure him that they will be waiting for him, however long it takes.
‘You’re an amazing artist and create magic in your songs,’ wrote one, ‘take a break and you will be back wowing the fans again in no time.’
Another said: ‘Everyone is behind you and the love for you is always here.
‘Get yourself that break, everyone will be here when you return stronger than ever.’
A string of famous famous faces have also shown their support for the Scottish star.
TV presenter Dan Walker wrote: ‘Special moment at #Glastonbury as the crowd help Lewis Capaldi ❤️.’
Lewis last year said learning he had Tourette’s was ‘quite a relief’, and he is now embracing his new role as ‘poster boy’ for the condition.
Appearing on the The Jonathan Ross Show he said: ‘I do have Tourette’s. I didn’t mean for it to be a big thing. I twitch a lot.
‘My left shoulder goes up and I do this with my head. Now I am the poster boy for Tourette’s. I’ll take it, I’ll gladly accept that.
‘It was seven or eight months ago [that I was diagnosed]. I thought I had a degenerative disease. So to be told it was in fact that I have Tourette’s, as you can imagine, was quite a relief. It’s fine. Everything works.
‘I thought I was quite alone in being twitchy. It’s been a relief and, if anything, nice to know I have a community. I’m quite an anxious person, I really start to overthink things if something’s wrong – this was a weight off my mind.’
Capaldi admitted his condition can ‘really affect my performance’, but his tics come in ‘ebbs and flows’ – and he tends to notice the effects of Tourette’s less if he takes care of himself with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
He told host Jonathan Ross, 62, on the ITV chat show: ‘It definitely gets worse sometimes on stage. Sometimes it can really affect my performance.
‘It ebbs and flows. If I look after myself, exercise, go to the gym – which is the same thing by the way – if I don’t drink too much or take a walk in the park and breathe in a nice summer air. I f***ing hate commitment. I’m a loose guy.’
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