Promoter burnt me, says R&B star Johnny Gill

Published Aug 22, 2009


Acclaimed US performer Johnny Gill did not miss his flight for the Women's Day concert a fortnight ago - he decided not to come after controversial concert promoter Morris Rhoda didn't pay him.

Speaking exclusively to the Saturday Star this week, Gill said in his 25 years in industry he had never cancelled a concert.

"I told him that I could not take the risk of getting on the plane if I am not fully paid. He begged me, saying as soon as I arrived in South Africa it would be there - but I decided against it."

Now Gill, like local music man Rafael Madeira, plans to sue Rhoda for breach of contract. Gill cancelled two other shows on the weekend, thinking he would be performing in South Africa.

"I have lost a lot of revenue through this concert. I know I may not get all my money back but he needs to know I'm not taking a knock to my chin like this."

Gill told the Saturday Star he did not have tickets from New York to Johannesburg for he and his band until an hour before take-off.

The Women's Day concert at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate was supposed to feature US R&B stars Kenny Lattimore, Anthony Hamilton and Gill.

Rhoda has allegedly also failed to pay instrument supplier Rafael Madeira the R165 000 owed to him for the instruments he provided. Technical equipment supplier Mark de Klerk, of Sound Corporation, is allegedly owed R 65 000.

Rhoda allegedly borrowed the money from De Klerk to secure the venue - and a condition of the loan was that De Klerk's company would be contracted for the sound and lighting at the show. However, Rhoda ditched De Klerk and contracted Gearhouse instead.

Madeira is now instituting an urgent application for Rhoda's liquidation in the Johannesburg High Court in order to get the money owed to him.

Rhoda has been in the news in the past in connection with international concerts that went wrong. Lauryn Hill's performance in Joburg only began at 3am and American R&B singer Keith Sweat was allegedly never paid for his concert here.

Generally with international concerts, the first half of the concert fee is paid as a deposit and the second half is paid before the artist leaves their home country.

" had not paid the deposit and I told my agent to ask him if he was going to pay because I could not keep the date free any longer," Gill said.

Rhoda promised to pay the following day and followed through.

"He had not paid the full deposit but it was a significant amount so we could book it.

"He had until July to pay the rest of it but it never came.

"It was a nightmare. He is a bad apple.

"I performed here a few years ago and had a wonderful time."

Gill said he had told Rhoda he did not believe in doing business this way.

Gill has mailed Rhoda saying he is still in breach of contract even though he had not performed.

Rhoda refused to answer any calls from the Saturday Star this week.

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