Bonn Sting, the British musician and former singer with The Police, is performing his project “My Songs” at Bonn’s KunstRasen in July. We are giving away two tickets for the concert.
Six adult children, in a relationship with the actress Trudi Styler since 1982, owner of six luxury properties as well as 18 Grammys and worth many millions. And Sting (67) also has a job that after 40 years still gives him an enormous amount of pleasure. With “My Songs”, the Englishman, who started his world career with The Police in 1977 and has been a solo artist since the mid-1980s, is now releasing a new, more contemporary interpretation of his greatest hits. Songs such as “Fields of Gold”, “Brand New Day”, “So Lonely” or “Walking on the Moon” sound fresh as never before and Sting’s voice is in top form. GA writer Steffen Rüth met the musician in Baden-Baden for an interview.
GA: Sting, is it true that you had the idea for the album “My Songs” when you were re-working your song “Brand New Day” for a New Year’s Eve performance at Times Square in New York?
Sting: Yes, that was the origin of the whole thing. We had so much fun with “Brand New Day” that I thought maybe it could be fun to take the other songs and see if we could change them or make them more contemporary.
GA: Is your voice playing along?
Sting: There’s no doubt my voice sounds different today than 20 or 30 years ago. It’s smoother and more richly structured, and it has a deeper quality.
Sting: The recording techniques have changed and my musical feeling is also different today. I’m not saying the new versions are better or worse than the others. I’m just saying they’re different.
GA: Was it easy for you to return to songs, some of which you wrote 40 years ago?
Sting: Yes, because these songs and I are very familiar with each other. After all, I sing these songs night after night at work. And I love singing them. I’m sure I know my songs better today than I used to. We hardly changed some of the numbers, others quite a lot; always in a way that felt right and good. There were no rules.
GA: Are the songs your friends?
Sting: Well, I really like them (laughs). When you record a new song, it’s the start of a relationship. It’s exciting, but you don’t yet know how this relationship will develop over time. A relationship that has lasted years is something completely different. There’s more knowledge, actually more love - genuine, deep love.
GA: So you would equate your affection for your music with the love for your wife?
Sting: I don’t want to overemphasise the comparison, but there are parallels. I take my songs very seriously, I treat them well and I concentrate on them.
GA: And your wife?
Sting: If I had to decide, I would always choose Trudie. I still love her very much and I’m proud of our long marriage.
GA: Do you always have new song ideas in your head?
Sting: Oh no – that would be nice. It’s like fishing with songs: sometimes you get a bite, sometimes not. It’s just important that you always sit close to the river and are open and ready when you encounter inspiration.
GA: It’s that simple?
Sting: Well, mostly I write about what’s happening to me or what I see. I wish there was a button somewhere I could press so ideas would flow. But the button is always changing shape and colour and I rarely find it.
GA: You’ve undoubtedly pressed a few appropriate buttons in the last four decades.
Sting: Yes, but there’s no guarantee. Each time I finish a song, I wonder if it was perhaps the last.
Sting: Yes, of course. But that’s how I tick. I also wonder each mealtime whether it could be my last. The interplay between life and death fascinates me. And from this follows: enjoy what you have for as long as you have it.
GA: Are you afraid of anything?
Sting: Yes, of course. I’m brave, but even the bravest people have fears. For example, I’m scared of bears and dragons (laughs) although I’ve not yet seen either of them.
GA: Any really?
Sting: Of climate change. That’s more dangerous than all the bears.
GA: Young people are now taking to the streets against global warming and destruction of the environment. What do think about this?
Sting: The young are doing something but the politicians aren’t. I can only appeal to people to vote for those politicians who tackle the problem instead of just talking rubbish.
GA: Keyword European elections – as a Briton you were surprisingly allowed to vote. Did you?
Sting: I always vote when I’m called to. I voted three years ago to remain in the EU and somehow still hope that we will somehow remain in the union. I simply see no reason for leaving the EU.
GA: What are you? British? European? A world citizen?
Sting: I’m a Brit who supports Europe.
GA: You hardly seem to age. How do you do that?
Sting: I’m fit – and curious about what life offers. I’m happy. I like being 67 years old – it's a good age. You have wisdom but you still have wildness.
GA: Can your summer tour with concerts like those in Bonn be described as your “Greatest Hits” tour?
Sting: Oh, why not? I’m lucky to have so many hits at all - many more than one. That’s anything but a matter of course. Many musicians have only one single hit, or even none at all.
Competition: We are giving away two tickets for the Bonn concert. To take part, email your name and address before midnight on 11 June to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Original text: Steffen Rüth. Translation: kc)