Former boyfriend sues the disappearing jazz singer, claiming he discovered her

The acrimonious case, which casts light on the star's so-called "missing years" between her first hit and her latest success, is being brought by the musician William Galison amid claims of physical abuse, harassment, libel and thwarted ambition. It is expected to be heard at the Federal Court in New York next month. Galison, who has performed with stars such as Carly Simon, Barbara Streisand and Shaka Khan, is claiming $1m (£555,000) in damages resulting from the split with Peyroux.

The dispute centres on the recording of a seven-track CD entitled Got You On My Mind in March 2003, shortly before Peyroux signed with Universal, the world's biggest record label.

Despite a reputation for "fragile artistry" - her record company launched an international search for her after she went missing just as she was poised to hit the big time - this year has been one of corporate glory for the singer. Her music is being promoted by the global coffee chain Starbucks (alongside that of Bob Dylan) and her album Careless Love is a Top 10 success in the UK charts.

But Galison, a jazz harmonica player, is claiming that much of the present interest was due to him. He will tell the court that he in effect rediscovered her playing in a bar in New York in 2002 during the seven-year period in which she "vanished" after the success of her debut album, Dreamland, in 1996.

He told The Independent yesterday that the couple immediately teamed up after the meeting - playing in a series of influential venues such as New York's Bottom Line and Joe's Pub. They also performed with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra before an audience that included the former prime minister John Major and his wife, Norma. In the meantime they also moved in together, he says.

"We were romantically involved. She lived with me, she was eating my food. We were romantically involved and we had an amazing act. But suddenly she stopped working with me," he said.

He says Peyroux used the album they had co-funded and recorded at a studio in Brooklyn as a demo for the Universal-licensed label Rounder. After their relationship collapsed, Galison tried to market the record with another label. But the company dropped it after being contacted by lawyers for Rounder, he said.

In a letter to the co-founder of Rounder, Ken Irwin, Galison said: "I am concerned about Madeleine's career and her psychological well-being. You know well that Madi has a history of attempted suicide. Now she finds herself facing a federal lawsuit with no representation and everything to lose. If God forbid, Madi should harm herself as a result of the stress of this episode, it will be her handlers - those who encouraged her to lie and betray her friends for their own selfish motives - who will be to blame."

Rounder's lawyers have suggested that Galison may be using the legal dispute as an "ill-advised attempt ... to trade on the name and reputation of Ms Peyroux to boost his career by passing off an inferior version of a Madeleine Peyroux album".

They also claimed to have obtained "directly and from Ms Peyroux, evidence of numerous incidents of physically and verbally abusive behaviour by Mr Galison against Ms Peyroux".

Galison claims the allegations of abuse are libellous. Peyroux's lawyers will tell the court that such has been Galison's behaviour that the singer has contemplated filing criminal harassment charges. He denies the claim.

Paul Foley, general manager of Rounder, said: "Rounder has no comment regarding any civil action brought by William Galison other than we remain convinced that our position will be vindicated by the court as it has been previously."

The case is due to be heard before Judge Herman Cahn on 28 September.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Sales Consultant - Furniture

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a besp...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum