Interviews


Sting


Occupation: Actor, Musician, Singer, Songwriter
Date of Birth: October 2, 1951
Place of Birth: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, U.K.
Sign: Sun in Libra, Moon in Libra
Relations: Wife: Trudie Styler; ex-wife: Frances Eleanor Tomelty; kids: Joseph, Katherine, Mickey, Jake, Coco
Education: Attended Warwick University

 

NICKNAMED Sting for the black and yellow striped sweater he would wear while performing, Gordon Sumner was raised in the bleak industrial town of Newcastle by a hairdresser mother and milkman father. His mother was a classically trained pianist who taught him his scales so well that he was offered an advanced piano scholarship. But jazz and guitar were Sting's real loves, and after stints digging ditches and teaching, he moved to London to play professionally. American drummer Stewart Copeland caught his act and convinced him to try rock. Joined by Brit guitarist Andy Summers, the trio formed The Police in 1977. Their rock-reggae sound broke through with "Roxanne," a song written as a plea for a prostitute not to "put on the red light," which was subsequently banned by the BBC, making it an instant hit. In fact, the single proved so successful that A&M rushed to release their first album, Outlandos D'Amour. In quick succession, the band's next albums, Regatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, and Ghost in the Machine were released, with at least one hit single emerging from each. The release, in 1983, of Synchronicity and its monster single, "Every Breath You Take," secured their place in pop history. After a triumphant world tour, Sting decided he had achieved all he could with The Police, and the band dissolved at the height of its popularity.

Sting's solo career has proved no less successful. His first album, the jazz-influenced Dream of the Blue Turtles, went platinum. 1991's Soul Cages, dealing with the loss of his parents (who died within a few months of each other), and 1993's Ten Summoner's Tales, revealed a maturity in his songwriting not previously seen, and both albums won Grammys. 1996's Mercury Falling continued in a meditative vein, as the 45-year-old artist ruminated on aging and his own mortality. Released in 1999, Brand New Day boasted guest appearances by Stevie Wonder (on harmonica) and James Taylor, and was reviewed as Sting's most dynamic effort since Soul Cages.

A political activist, Sting has put himself on the line to help save Brazilian rainforests and to support Amnesty International. His film career has run hot and cold, but his performances in such films as Brimstone and Treacle and Quadrophenia have been good. He and longtime companion (and now wife), Trudie Styler, live a relatively quiet life on their estate outside London with their many children and dogs. Sting has revealed that by using Tantric meditation, he is able to have sex for five hours at a stretch.

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