The son of a hairdresser and a milkman in North East England, Gordon Sumner grew up near Wallsend’s shipyards, which made a lifelong impression on him. He helped his father deliver milk and at 10 years old he was “obsessed” with an old Spanish guitar left by a friend of his father’s.
In 1973, he performed jazz in the evening, weekends and during breaks from college and teaching, playing with the Phoenix Jazzmen. He was given a nickname after wearing a black and yellow jumper with hooped stripes while performing. One of his bandleaders thought he looked like a bee, and called him Sting.
Sting moved to London in 1977 to form the English rock band The Police. The band earned six Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As a solo artist, Sting has received an additional 11 Grammy Awards, two Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Oscar nominations, and a Tony nod. Sting has sold 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist, and his music has shaped the soundtrack of our lives.
Sting’s latest album The Bridge showcases his prolific and diverse songwriting. He joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen to talk about that new record.