Composer, singer, actor, activist – Sting has won universal acclaim in all these roles, but he defies any easy labeling. He_s best described as an adventurer, a risk-taker. As he himself said, “I love to put myself in new situations. I_m not afraid to be a beginner.” Husband and father of six, masterful guitarist and bassist, a devoted Yoga practitioner, and now a writer who_ll publish his memoirs in 2004, he_s made a career, in fact, of new beginnings.
His latest CD, …All this Time, recorded near his home in Tuscany and the first live album Sting has released in 15 years, marked yet another beginning. Transforming classics from his solo and Police careers, as well as highlights from his most recent album, Brand New Day, the 2.5 million-selling masterwork finds Sting rediscovering his own music, the songs that form part of the soundtrack of our lives. In addition to this stunning live recording, Sting has put in other landmark concert appearances of late. His performing with renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics echoed the excitement at last year_s Super Bowl half-time show and his Central Park concert in New York City the year before. His surprise appearance in the London_s smash The Play What I Wrote, directed by Kenneth Brannagh, reminds us of Sting_s history of theatrical risk-taking, from his scene-stealing debut in Quadrophenia to his performance in the Broadway stage revival of Brecht/Weill_s The Threepenny Opera to his audacious work in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The movies, also, have spotlighted his composing skills, with Kate and Leopold featuring his Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated ballad, Until…, an elegant successor to his Oscar-nominated My Funny Friend and Me from The Emperor_s New Groove.
Sting_s support for human rights organizations like Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation mirrors his art in its universal outreach. Last year, from the Arab-American Institute Foundation he received the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award for his “efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding,” particularly through his duet with Algerian superstar Cheb Mami, Brand New Day’s Desert Rose.
Crossing cultural lines, cutting through the barriers between “high” and “pop” art, has been a Sting hallmark ever since his own beginnings. A milkman_s son from Newcastle, England, Sting was a teacher, soccer coach and ditch digger before turning to music. Inspired equally by jazz and the Beatles – eclectic tastes that would prove prophetic – he formed the Police in his twenties and soon led them to a position of global preeminence in the 1970_s and _80_s. Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, Ghost in the Machine, Synchronicity and the trio_s live work and best-of compilations forecast the astonishing inventiveness and range of influences that Sting would realize fully in his solo career. The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Bring on the Night, …Nothing Like the Sun, The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner’s Tales, Mercury Falling, Brand New Day, and …All this Time found him evolving into one of the most distinctive and highly respected performers of the 20th century. Whether collaborating with James Taylor or Stevie Wonder, Gil Evans or Branford Marsalis, to list just a few of the stellar musicians his solo albums feature, he_s forged a wholly original synthesis from an entire world of musical strains and styles. Classical, country, Celtic and folk, jazz, R&B, reggae and rock – all are part of his musical language, a language he crafts like a poet. In recognition of the lasting impact of that music Sting has received the 2002 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music and the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement. He has also been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Carole King, Leiber and Stoller, and Bruce Springsteen. Add to those honors the 16 Grammy Awards he_s won in a career full of staggering statistics. Statistics that include the fact that his song, Every Breath You Take, has been played on American radio nearly seven million times!
Currently Sting can be found at home enjoying some family time, but never one to be idle long, expect a new album in the not too distant future.