01.17.01 THE DAILY RECORD


The following article by Rick Fulton appeared in a January 2001 issue of The Daily Record newspaper...

'I may be about to turn 50 but I'm as sexy as ever' - Sting reveals why hitting his half century later this year holds no fears for him.

Sting will celebrate his 50th birthday on October 2 - and for the next nine months, he's going to make the most of his forties.

The singer - who made Tantric sex a household name - said: "I still have nine sexy months until I'm 50. People keep asking me if I am really going to celebrate this one and I probably will, but I haven't got any specific plans yet."

Sting is still getting over his last big party - Madonna's wedding at Skibo Castle in December.

He is keeping quiet about the biggest showbiz event of last year, deferring to Madonna's wishes to keep the whole ceremony and week in Scotland under wraps.

It is rumoured he wrote and performed a song specially for the wedding and also sang an acoustic version of Madonna's favourite song 'Roxanne' - one of Sting's classic hits from his years with Eighties band The Police.

It's hard to believe the glory days of The Police were so long ago, but, unlike many of the early Eighties stars, Sting is still around and making music.

Although his last album, 'Brand New Day', didn't do very well in Britain, it flew the flag over in the States - staying in the Billboard Charts for over two years.

Sting will enjoy the run up to his 50th birthday as a more successful artist than he has ever been - thanks to his friendship with Madonna and picking up a couple of Grammys for 'Brand New Day' and the new Disney film 'Emperor's New Groove'.

But he admits he is finding it harder to seek inspiration after years of experimenting with music styles from Latin rhythms to big band and New Age.

It's more difficult, he said, because he is no longer the struggling musician he was 20 years ago.

Sting said: "I was so sure of myself then. Now I'm much less sure.

"I find the older I get and the more knowledge you have about music, the less sure you are. When I was younger, I didn't know much about music and I was completely convinced that I was right. Now I know more and I am a little bit more anxious about the creative process. I used to worry that every song I wrote would be the last one. Now I allow myself a little more leeway. You have to be on input sometimes in order for you to be on output. So there is a cycle. I spend maybe six months writing songs and I don't even try for another year. I just live my life. Before I start an album project of any kind, I will always ask myself: 'Do I have anything to say that other people will find interesting or useful?' If the answer is no, I won't do anything."

Sting's latest project, 'The Emperor's New Groove' for Disney, is one that, in retrospect, he may have wished he'd never done.

Five years ago, Disney asked him to write for a planned animated film, 'Kingdom Of The Sun', but after he'd produced seven songs, they scrapped the story.

The executives came up with another idea and Sting, despite feeling bruised at what had happened, agreed to write more songs.

Then he found out what it was about...

The plot for 'The Emperor's New Groove' ended with the Emperor building a theme park in the heart of the South American rainforest. For environmentalist Sting, this was sacrilege.

He has spent a decade campaigning against clearance of the great forest.

He said: "I told them I was resigning because it was the exact opposite of what I stand for. I've spent years trying to defend the rights of indigenous groups and they wanted to march over them to build a theme park."

Only when Disney stepped down and changed the ending to make the Emperor understand the plight of the forests did Sting agree to continue with the project.

So why did he bother with Disney in the first place?

Sting smiled: "I've grown up with Disney - films such as 'The Jungle Book' and 'Pinocchio' and 'Sleeping Beauty' - and I thought, okay, if you're going to have a legacy into the future, what better way than to write for one of these films that people are going to watch in 30 years' time. And I have six children. I thought my stock would rise if they saw their dad doing a Disney film. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the challenge. Two of my close friends, Elton John and Phil Collins, had worked with Disney and they encouraged me to do it. I was flattered that Disney came to me and wanted me to do something that was so successful for those two."

He claims not to be thinking of the Oscar success that came to Phil for 'Tarzan' and Elton for his work on 'The Lion King'.

After writing seven songs for Disney, however, the finished film only features two Sting tunes, one of which is sung by Tom Jones.

His own song, 'My Funny Friend And Me', is used in the final credits - which could cost him his Academy Award.

But all the songs he wrote for 'Kingdom Of The Sun' and 'Emperor's New Groove' will be included in the soundtrack.

Sting explained: "They are not in the finished film, but they are a testament to the quality of the work I put in."

Last month, Sting was given a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame - topping off an amazing year for the singer.

Sting admits life with wife Trudie Styler has never been better.

He said: "I feel very fortunate. I have a beautiful home in England with a beautiful garden and I like to walk around it. I feel very lucky and privileged to have such a blessed life."

© The Daily Record
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