Never a stranger to adventure either in realms of soul or song, Sting has been having a year of new beginnings.
Certified triple platinum in the United States and nearing worldwide sales of 7 million, Brand New Day has received Grammy Awards for Best Pop Album and Best Pop Male Vocal Performance and continues to weave its spell. A year and a half on the charts, every day it entrances new listeners with its echoes of Miles Davis and medieval plainsong, of Algerian and American country music – all rendered with the singer/composer’s signature originality. And its spirit, of renewal and energy and inspiration, overspills into the rest of Sting’s remarkable career.
Of late, he’s performed at the Superbowl, was awarded a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "My Funny Friend and Me" from The Emperor’s New Groove, the Disney film that’s just crossed the $100 million mark in box office sales. His activism as well as his art has been recognized; for his work on behalf of human rights, Sting recently received an award from the government of Chile.
And the music he makes and the message he delivers compel him forward: with a US Tour in May and a European Tour in Summer 2001, the artist has shown no sign of letting up.
His body of work spanning nearly 25 years and embracing not only rock and reggae but also jazz, country, Celtic and Middle Eastern strains, Sting fashions a soundtrack for our times. Its essence? One of consistent pioneering, risk-taking. "My strategy is to be optimistic, na飗e maybe," he has said. "And maybe that’s my job." His creative approach to Brand New Day, for example, typified his desire to test himself. "I composed, finessed and even sequenced the music before I’d even written a word," he says of his seventh and best-selling solo album. "I had to trust that the music would tell me stories, begin to create characters. It’s almost a mysterious process. You have to be patient.It’s a little like sculpting a piece of wood – you begin to see faces in the wood."
The music that has spoken to him, the characters he has created, have been with us ever since he began his life in music. A native of Newcastle, site of English shipbuilders and ancient Roman walls, this former teacher, soccer coach and ditch digger, has made of his art a perpetual quest.
The Police, of course, established him as a world-renowned songwriter and singer: with Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, Ghost in the Machine, Synchronicity and a clutch of live and best-of sets, the trio Sting headed assumed the vanguard of contemporary music throughout the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. On his own, he has never ceased taking chances. The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Bring on the Night, … Nothing Like the Sun, The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner’s Tales, Mercury Falling and Brand New Day achieve a truly distinctive synthesis of personal expression and universal communication.
Often noted for his work in the field of human rights, Sting views his activism as part and parcel to being a citizen of the planet. He remains active in causes as various as ecology (with his wife,Trudie Styler, Sting founded the Rainforest Foundation), Amnesty International and human rights as a whole. For him, the personal and political fuse; art and action become inextricable. Finally, a complete communicator, Sting explores both sound and image;he’s acted in films from Quadrophenia to Stormy Monday to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and appeared on Broadway in Threepenny Opera.
About the remarkable range of his energies, Sting has wryly commented: "No one’s yet been able to come up to me with a limit. They’ve tried, but I’ve always been able to duck and weave, and I’m still doing that."
Yet there remains a pole star to his questing, a guiding light. Music. Recently selected as an inductee into the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame, Sting has become synonymous with a kind of musical approach that knows no boundaries, limits, genres. Proud to number Branford Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, as well as Miles Davis arranger Gil Evans and Algerian singer Cheb Mami among his collaborators, Sting has already achieved a legacy of music that, like its creator, resists easy definition. Restless, creatively impatient, he will continue to defy expectations. Singer and songwriter, world citizen and activist, globetrotting adventurer and father of six, Sting greets the future – and its every challenge – indeed as a brand new day.