Sumner's Tales: Sting talks...
"Musically it felt like a celebration of some kind and a finale and I wanted the record to end on a very positive note. The album starts very darkly with 'A Thousand Years', but I wanted it to finish joyously. And this is about a new beginning, a new start. It coincides with this millennium thing. But you know, we have to turn the clocks to zero, so that's a great metaphor for just starting again, saying let's wipe the slate clean and we'll begin again. Let's forgive everything and start again. I think that's a pretty positive message for the millennium. Love will see us through and it's the counter to all of that apocalyptic garbage that a lot of people are putting out. I really feel an antidote needs to be there, and I hope my song was part of that antidote. Any sexual imagery in the song is purely coincidental - the results of dirty minds (laughs). I had fun writing this song."
Interview for Interscope Records, 5/99
On the wordplay towards the end of the song...
"Well, it's really a reminder of the first song ('A Thousand Years'). It's a riff from the first song. I wanted it have a circular theme. I like all my albums to end in a circular way. There's always something at the end that reminds me of what you heard when you first put the record album on. I don't know why that works for me, but it seems to work. I always do that. Records - records are circles right"
Interview for Interscope Records, 5/99
On 'Brand New Day' featuring a harmonica solo that sounded suspiciously like Stevie Wonder...
"It is Stevie Wonder! It couldn't be anyone else. When I wrote that song, it reminded me of him. I know him, so I asked him to contribute, and he was wonderful. I think he gave something extra. It's very difficult key for a harmonica. He's playing B major, so it forced him to do something else."
"Some seem to feel that they are a kind of god and reveal in their songs the way to fix the world. I made a parody of this and in the end it turns that what I'm selling is a detergent. It's just a joke, nothing polemical, I believe".
On the 'religious' overtomes of the promo video... El Pais, 10/99
"'Brand New Day' had a kind of Stevie Wonder vibe to it from day one, when we added a synth bass which suggested a Stevie Wonder chord sequence. Originally we were just going to send him the tape with a guide harmonica part, but we were in New York recording an 8-piece black vocal choir put together, for us by Janice Pendarvis, and it turned out he was there too, so he popped in during the afternoon. 'Brand New Day' is in B major, which is a nightmare for a chromatic harmonica, so even Stevie was struggling for the first 20 minutes, but then it clicked and he got it in two takes."
Kipper: Sound on Sound, 12/99
"Don't forget that in the following sequence, I fall in the water! In fact, it's a question above all of presenting those rock stars who do take themselves for messiahs."
On his 'walking on the water' in the promo video... Le Matin, 12/99
''It's not the most original title in the world, I'll give you that. But it does have a very direct, simple optimism. When I began this record, I had no intention of dealing with the millennium in any way, but it just kind of seeped into the work. And then to perform it on top of the Rockefeller Center as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, was an amazing scenario. I couldn't have planned a better scenario for the song.''
The Boston Globe, 6/00
"I didn't set out to write lyrics just above love, yet almost all the songs have the theme of broken lives that can be mended by love. My challenge was to write a happy love song without being banal or smug. For example, 'Brand New Day', the last song, begins with a jaundiced view and then moves toward acceptance, to diving back into love. It's basically the thought that falling in love is an act of optimism - and I think if the album has that tone, for me... it's an optimistic one."
'Brand New Day' Official Press Release, 9/99
"You know, I wrote this song and it had kind of like a shuffle, and it reminded me of Stevie Wonder, and I said 'God, it would be great if Stevie would play on this.' So I made a phone call, full of trepidation because he's one of my idols, and he was like, 'Yeah, I'll come to New York and do it.' He turned up and played his ass off. That really authenticated the song for me. And when he walks into a room, it's like a higher being. He's a powerful, spiritual entity. For him to play on my record and James too, because he's one of the reasons I do what I do is so much fun and a great honour as well."
Wall Of Sound, 9/99
"Stevie is a symbol for all the musicians of my generation, a superior being whose music has influenced and still influences many people. When he agreed to play on my record I was very excited. He came to the studio and released the energy that I wanted to put on the record, this optimism he has so much of."
"I consider it as a millennium song. In this song we have threat, darkness, disaster - even apocalypse - all subjects that when talking about it, I consider as very stupid. It's not because counters are going back to zero and computers go crazy, that it's a bad thing. On the contrary, everything has a new start when all the shit is brushed up. That's the reason why I used the love/relationship metaphor. It's going bad, everything seems to be finished... Let's restart everything!!! I've basically got an optimistic approach. Pessimism works to fulfill those kind of prophecies. So I always look for optimism and the track makes me happy. I've no idea of the depth of this song, but I know that it's a happy one."
Music UP!, French Magazine, 9/99
"That song was a kind of homage to Stevie anyway, it just has that feel and structure of a Stevie Wonder song. I thought it would be great if he could add his imprimateur to it and he agreed. We recorded it in New York and it was a bitch of a key for a harmonica. He spent about 20 minutes getting comfortable with it and then suddenly it just came good and it was magic. It was great to watch that process. He is a higher being without a shadow of a doubt."
TOP magazine, 12/99
The title track from 1999's 'Brand New Day' album was also the first track to be released as a single. A jaunty, upbeat song featuring Stevie Wonder's uplifting harmonica playing, the single didn't make much of an impact on the charts (it's two week stay peaked at #13), but found success as it seemed destined to be the theme song to the new millennium. Indeed as the year 2000 chimed in Sting was performing the song live on a telecast in New York. A variety of remixes of the song exist - highly recommended is the full 'Murlyn' remix. The 'Cornelius' mix of the track appears on the Japanese 'Brand New Day Remixes' album. Naturally the song appeared on the set list throughout the 'Brand New Day' world tour.