Interview: EL MERCURIO (2001)

January 17, 2001

The following interview with Raúl Marquez appeared in January 2001 in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. The article was very kindly translated by Piu...

Sting: "I feel comfortable in my skin."

Hours before his performance that he gave yesterday night in the Estadio Nacional, the legendary Britain musician said he is living the happiest time of his life. He doesn't have ambition for more awards, just to play music.

"He doesn't look 49 years old", was the common phrase of those who, yesterday, saw Sting near the Sheraton Hotel gardens. The blond English musician gave interviews on those gardens and then he had for lunch a criollo (Creole) corn cake (pastel de choclo).

Relaxation, calm and reflection are today elements that are both recurrent and essential. That's what he demonstrated in the hours before the concert he gave yesterday night in the "Pista Atlética del Estadio Nacional".

Is your music designed for great stadiums or do you think it is more suitable for smaller spaces?

I prefer playing in smaller places. Nevertheless, part of my work is to convert a great stadium into an intimate occasion. It's not the ideal, but with some ways of a performance you can make the public feel as if they were in a smaller place. And my music can be played in a bar, in a stadium or in anywhere in between.

Being in Chile, Argentina and Brasil, does it connect you with politics, social and other issues, that you used to deal with ten years ago?

I think South America is fascinating for various reasons, social, political, artistic and religious - every aspect of human life. The relation with the environment is very critical here, and I found it very stimulating coming, because in several aspects, South America is in first line.

You're about to became fifty...

Hold on! I have 10 attractive months left, before I became fifty (laughing)...

How does it affect to you being so close to that age?

I've never been happier in my whole life, nor more relaxed, nor more comfortable in my own skin. I never thought I could reach the fifties. But reaching that age is a very big milestone - a half a century. I have six children, a good career and I am still healthy. Have to touch wood...

Your current music sounds more quiet and relaxed. Is that a reflection of your personal life?

When you're young, you have some kind of very furious and aggressive energy, which is very natural. But when you grow up, you became more objective and you see more than one side in an argument, you became less obsessed with yourself and you get interested in other people histories. Now, when I sing songs, I am not telling my history, but other people's through their eyes. That is a proof of maturity and evolution: I am not inside another person, but I am connected with other people that I see. I am a storyteller, and what I want to tell is our story, not mine.

How important is the Yoga in this new attitude to life?

I've been studying yoga for 10 years and I will keep on doing it until the day I die. It has gave me a focus and energy that I wouldn't have got in any other way. People tell me "you don't look like a 49 years old", and I don't feel that age either, I am in good shape, even better than when I was an athlete. At the same time, yoga philosophy says that every time you breathe, you renew every cell in your body, your spirit and yourself. And that is an very beautiful image.

You have had such a solid career for more than two decades, what is the lesson you have learned from making music?

Simply, be happy and play music. And if no one would like to see me play, I would be very pleased to play for the dog and cat only, if they would like to listen to me. The research in the music is almost intellectual and you don't need a public to play it.

Is it difficult to keep the ambition even after you have achieved your aims?

I am not ambitious. My ambition is to remain happy, sane and healthy. I don't need any other Grammy, awards or Platinum records. It is very nice and I will do the job to deserve that kind of things, but it is not my ambition.

Many people were impressed with your close friendship with Madonna. In fact, you are his son's godfather and you lent her your Scottish house for her marriage. How did you became her friend?

I've known her for a lot of years and my wife and I, introduced her to Guy Ritchie. They met in our house and after the marriage, they spent their honeymoon there. I like her very much, she is a wonderful star.

Generally, bass players have a low profile, with the exception of Paul McCartney and you. Do you feel that the image of a bassman has changed?

It's very difficult to sing and play the bass, because you're always against what you're singing and it takes a lot of work, meanwhile, playing the guitar and singing is very natural and therefore is easier. That's why we are paid a lot of money, because we do two different jobs. The bass is an interesting way of leading a band, because when I sing, I take control of the higher part and while I play the bass, I also lead the lower part. Then, I take control of everything in the middle and I can change the harmony and dynamism. I do it in a very keen way, but everyone is running on my tracks.

© El Mercurio (Chile)


Jan 1, 2001

Sting can choose to record anywhere he likes. But a Tuscan barn? Seven million albums and a Grammy later, Simon Osborne has some 'Sting' in his tales. He makes a good case for likening the job of a recording engineer to that of the noble craft of the carpenter. The metaphor he paints gave me a salient reminder of the fact that production excellence (and the quality of a Sting recording is always excellent) is about documenting good performances with good equipment, and combining those elements into a mix that shows off those performances in their best light. It's as easy, and as difficult as that...

Dec 17, 2000

King Sting: A career that spans 25 years, 14 Grammys and countless hits has left the former Policeman lost for ambition. All he really wants now is to go home. The bottle blond sitting in the empty dress circle of Sydney's Capitol Theatre wears a mocking expression on his weathered yet still boyish face. Third row, centre, he looks up at the stage and jeers, "Come on, Sting! Entertain me!" as though he doesn't believe it could possibly happen...