SINGAPORE - Plans for American rapper Coolio to perform with his band for the first time in Singapore on Sunday night (Sept 17) at a Formula One after-party had to be called off after he was denied entry at Changi Airport.
On Sunday night, the organisers of Podium Lounge Singapore, one of the most glamorous parties of the F1 weekend, said on Facebook that the Grammy Award winner, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey, had arrived in Singapore this morning from Beijing on a re-scheduled flight after missing a connection.
He had been "all set" to perform live on Sunday night at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore after his gig on Saturday (Sep 16) was postponed due to the missed connection.
"However we have been informed that he was denied entry into Singapore and sent back on the return flight (to Beijing) whilst his fellow band members remain here. Due to the unfortunate circumstances and disappointing turn of events, Coolio will not be performing this evening," it added in the post.
The Podium Lounge's chief executive Robbie Hoyes-Cock told The Straits Times that "no reason had been given" for Coolio's refusal of entry, though the organisers had done their due diligence and confirmed that all passport and visa requirements for Coolio had been met. The Straits Times understands that the authorities did refuse entry to the rapper, though the reason is unknown.
The rapper had flown in from North Carolina in the United States via an Air China flight, and had been due to perform a 60-minute set with his band on Sunday night.
Last October (2016), it was reported that Coolio had pleaded guilty to unlawful firearm possession for carrying a loaded pistol in a backpack into Los Angeles International Airport in September and was sentenced to three years of probation.
He was also ordered to perform 45 days of community service under a negotiated plea deal sparing him from prison.
He was earlier charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, an offence that carries a penalty of up to three years in prison, and pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of carrying a concealed weapon.
He had two prior felony convictions on his record, in 2001 for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and in 2009 for possession of cocaine.
When contacted, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore said that it does not comment on individual cases for reasons of confidentiality.
Back for its ninth year, the Podium Lounge - located just 200m away from the F1 Pit Building - attracts up to 3,000 guests every night.
The organisers said that its original Race Night party schedule featuring R&B veteran Macy Gray as its headline act will go ahead as planned.
As a multi-platinum selling artist and one of the most popular and successful rappers worldwide, Coolio, aka Artis Leon Ivey Jr, has sold over 30 million records globally.