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Lewis Capaldi's Tourette's interrupted his performance. The crowd helped him finish

Lewis Capaldi performs on the Pyramid Stage on Day 4 of Glastonbury Festival.
Leon Neal
Getty Images
Lewis Capaldi performs on the Pyramid Stage on Day 4 of Glastonbury Festival.

Who is he? Lewis Capaldi is a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Scotland.

  • Capaldi first rose to fame with the success of his hit single, "Someone you loved" topping the UK charts and propelling him to stardom in 2019.
  • Since then, Capaldi has had five number 1 hits in the UK, toured across the globe and released a Netflix documentary that outlines his struggles with mental health while navigating his sudden and overwhelming fame.
  • In September of 2022, Capaldi shared in an Instagram livestream that he had officially been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary vocal or motor tics.
  • Tourette's is also widelymisunderstood and far more common than one might think. Tics can become more prominent due to factors like stress and anxiety.
  • More recently, Capaldi has canceled several weeks of shows to rest and recover over concerns regarding his health.
  • Want to watch Capaldi perform? Check out his Tiny Desk performance at NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C.

    What's the big deal? Capaldi was slated as a headliner for this year's Glastonbury Music Festival, one of the biggest events in live music. His previous show cancellations had been, in part, because he wanted to prepare for this performance.

  • But his return to the stage, like most things in life, didn't go according to plan. After getting a few songs into his set, Capaldi's voice began to give out, much to his frustration,according to BBC music correspondent Mark Savage.
  • Even as he struggled to continue, the crowd of thousands encouraged him to keep going, singing his lyrics and chanting his name.
  • Towards the end of his set, when he performed "Someone you loved," his tics became more frequent. The audience burst out to help him finish the song, in a moment that made everyone who worked on this article a bit misty-eyed.
  • What are people saying? Here's what Capaldi had to say to the crowd at the end of his set:

    I feel like I'll be taking another wee break over the next couple of weeks. So you probably won't see much of me for the rest of the year, maybe even.

    But when I do come back and when I do see you, I hope you're still up for watching us.

    I genuinely dreamt of doing this. If I never get to do it again, this has been enough.

    What he had to say when he went public with his Tourette's diagnosis:

    I wanted to speak about it because I didn't want people to think I was taking cocaine or something."

    My shoulder twitches when I am excited, happy, nervous or stressed. It is something I am living with. It's not as bad as it looks.

    And his difficulties balancing life as a famous musician with his mental health:

    So, what now?

  • Capaldi is hopefully taking the much needed rest he mentioned at the end of his performance.
  • Other performers, like Billie Eilish and Seth Rogen, have publicly shared their own experiences with Tourette's and the stigma surrounding the neurological disorder.
  • Learn more:

  • Denver psychedelics conference attracts thousands
  • Huntington's spreads like 'fire in the brain.' Scientists say they've found the spark
  • Anti-dopamine parenting' can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Manuela López Restrepo
    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.