09.18.06 THE NEW YORK POST


He said light music, she said gritty film...

So I visited Sting and Mrs. Sting, Trudie Styler. It's a very simple, basic everyday sort of life. Three homes in three countries. New York one's a Central Park West duplex ("Four or five bedrooms, I don't remember," she says), but moving to an even larger penthouse overlooking the park. And lots of children - his, hers, theirs. And 10 dogs - we're talking palomino-size Irish wolfhounds. And heavy-duty careers. Sting's romantic new album "Songs From the Labyrinth," which is out next month, and producer Trudie's gritty new film "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which is out next week.

Despite it all, Sting, in a sweater, sipping tea, curled onto a couch in the terra cotta library, was very laid-back. "I have just enough charm to get by," he smiled. "Actually, I haven't had much sleep. Trudie's film about New York life, which opens at the Lincoln Plaza and Angelika, premiered last night at Chelsea West. Three hundred people were awestruck at its brilliance. I got to bed at 3."

So her film's gritty and street, and his album is hearts and flowers? "Yes, 16th-century timeless Elizabethan songs. For 25 years, people have suggested I do them. Written before the operatic time and meant to be sung in small rooms, it's like the way I do. It's not Puccini."

At this point, Trudie Styler, slim, stunning, blond, black pantsuit, creamy blouse, came in. So did love. They hugged. "We're already talking about your wretched album?" she joked. "Because we've already talked about your wretched movie," he grinned.

Married 24 years, they act like they just met Thursday. He smoothed her thigh. She patted his arm. I was so busy watching that I nearly didn't ask was any of his wretched music in her wretched film? She answered, "No. I've stolen too much from him in the past."

Sting: "We support each other's projects. We always know what the other's up to."

Trudie: "I ask him lots of creative questions because I trust his taste. His integrity."

Sting: "Also, you know, if I don't like something I get very upset."

Trudie: "This film took 21/2 years and many drafts. Financing fell apart twice, even though the stars - Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson, Robert Downey Jr. - worked for scale because they believed in the script. Being an actress myself, seeing so many crappy scripts, I know you can't fix a movie in the editing room. The whole film only cost million but, to finally get it right, it was Sting who stepped in with the money."

Sting: "That means I'm now executive producer."

Enough. To the important things. What's a wife call a husband whose name is Sting?

The husband, looking properly sheepish, said, "She has a nickname for everybody. For all the children. Me . . . and we never, ever told this to anyone before . . . me she calls . . . Pookie." Pookie?! That's the name of jeweler Judith Ripka's white poodle. "I can't help it. I'm Pookie. My nickname for her is Trudie F. Styler. The 'F' stands for f - - - it."

Right. Okayyyy then. And Pookie's opinion of our newest singers?

"Today's music is not designed for me. I don't understand a Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake. For me, singing is a spiritual journey. I'm devoutly musical. As for my voice, I'd say it's become more mature. Encrypted with life, it's developed texture. This particular album I made in our home in Tuscany, which, oddly, is a house also from the Elizabethan era. I don't work in any thematically soundproofed room. I like ambient noises - fire crackling, birds singing, church bells. It's organic."

Trudie: "In Tuscany, we produce our own food. We grow olives, beautiful tomatoes. It's a farm. Everything about it is organic."

Sting: "We're peripatetic. But although we move about to different homes, we have places we can go to that are very private."

Trudie: "And I work for UNICEF, so I'm just back from Pakistan."

Sting: "As to our work for the rain forests in South America, we've hired professionals to do that. Celebrities get in the way. We only raise the funds.

"But of all the places we go, we most love New York because here I can exercise a citizen's rights. I walk all over, and the only thing people will say is, 'Hey, there's Sting,' And that's it. Nobody bothers you. We've had this place 20 years. We love it here. No problem being famous in New York because everybody in New York thinks they're somebody."

So between all the projects, how much time do they actually spend with one another?

Sting: "We're apart often. In our whole marriage I'd say that, all told, we've been together about seven weeks."

He laughed. She laughed. I laughed. And then they showed me out.

© The New York Post
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09.04.06BILLBOARD
Sting says he's fully aware that an album of 16th century lute songs is not exactly a commercial slam-dunk. But he's holding out hope that his 'Songs From the Labyrinth', due Oct. 10 via Deutsche Grammophon, will find an audience. "I keep saying it - you just never know," says Sting, who recorded the album with lute player Edin Karamazov from Sarajevo. "I think this is a longer shot than ['O Brother, Where Art Thou?'] but... why not? The response so far has been very encouraging. People have said, 'Wow, this is totally different. How refreshing.' I don't know - that may translate into mass appeal or it may not...