Esquire. what i’ve learned: sting

It’s my job to sing a song I wrote thirty years ago as if I’d written it in the afternoon.

I find New York a very easy place to be famous because there’s a lot of self-esteem, probably more than in any other city. Whether they’re taxi drivers or cops or firemen or driving a refuse truck, the people all have their own TV series and they are the star of it. “Oh, Sting is on my show this week!”

Gratitude is the fundamental emotion that one should feel in a state of grace.

I tend to write the music first. If it’s good music, it has a story.

You don’t have to be the greatest singer in the world. What you need to be is unique. Whenever you open your mouth, people should know: “Oh, that’s Van Morrison.” Or “That’s Bob Dylan.” Or “That’s Bono.” You want to get to that point where you have a unique vocal fingerprint. Then it’s about refining that sound and making it more and more you.

Your parents name you, but they haven’t a clue who you are. Your friends nickname you because they know exactly who you are.

You can be born Elvis Presley. But Reg Dwight is not going to make it unless he has this ritual where he becomes Elton John.

I had a pretty miserable childhood, but would I want to change it? No. Childhood made me who I am, and I’m quite happy with who I am. Without my childhood, something else would’ve happened.

The truth is mutable and plural.

I used to go to confession. You’re asked to ask for forgiveness at the age of seven. But people don’t commit sins at that age. So they give you this whole list of sins so you can walk in and say, “Oh, I’ve got this confession.” This allows you to make some shit up, which is a lie in itself.

Assume you’re going to make different mistakes than the ones your parents made with you, because you will.


and I have been together thirty years and married eighteen. You can multiply that by seven because show business is like dog years.

There’s no secret to a successful marriage. I love my wife. More important than that, I really like her.

The whole aspect of fucking for seven hours is really not what tantric sex is about. But, yes, you can.

I’m pretty confessional in my creative life. I’m pretty candid and open about my preoccupations. I’m not going to reveal everything – that’s pornography.

What’s it like to sing with Tony Bennett? Just being in the same room with a master rubs off on you. Something happens, you know? You’ve got to get the ball over the net. So you raise your game.

Sometimes mediocre poetry becomes incredible song material.

People send me song lyrics all the time. It’s difficult. I’m not sure what they want me to do with them. Looking at lyrics without the music is like looking at a one-legged man.

Yes, yes, cough and Nabokov is a silly rhyme. I got such grief for that. But I did it deliberately. It was hilarious to me to put Nabokov in a song.

I thought when my kids got to twenty-one, that would be it, you know? They’d be out the door. We’d never have to worry about them again. But I have a thirty-two-year-old, and I still worry about him like he’s a little boy.

It’s stress that kills you in the end.

I felt sorry for Michael Jackson for a long time. Of course, he’s sold nine million records since he died. I told the record company, “Forget it, I’m not ready.”

All these kids who say they want to be famous, they don’t know what they’re talking about. You can become famous by showing your dick in Macy’s window.

As a celebrity, you’re told how people feel about you, whether they are informed, intelligent, or not.

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Esquire. what i’ve learned: sting