Sun | Mar 18, 2018

The Gleaner gives Sting daily dose of Jamaica - Singer speaks of his love for reggae, chemistry with Shaggy

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew
Sting (left) and Shaggy during a tour of the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
Sting waves to persons on the ward while touring the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston on Thursday.
International recording artiste Shaggy and Martin Kierszenbaum, Sting's manager and owner of Cherry Tree Records.

Sting is very jovial and even more happy to be back in Jamaica. It is the second time that the artiste is on the island, and he remembers the beauty, the energy among other things as he asks, "if The Gleaner has arrived to meet".

"The newspaper kept me up to date with a lot, at the time I started reading the Falklands War, to know what was going on," Sting said.

He jokes about having no memory of performing with Shaggy in Antwerp, a medley that included the 1978 single Roxanne (written by him while a member of '70s band, The Police), mixing Bob Marley and the Wailers' Them Belly Full and Sister Moon.

"The two of us met on and off, over the course of our careers. In fact, I performed a little verse of a medley with him in Antwerp over 10 years ago," Shaggy told The Sunday Gleaner.

Sting quickly says, "Oh, that was you?"

Though it was obvious that they had spoken about it before.

"Over the last year, we started hanging out more. We connected musically; we found out we have a lot in common when it comes to music," Shaggy continued.

The two artistes are also very passionate about human rights and it was a no-brainer for the rock and roll artiste to perform for the Shaggy and Friends Concert.

Sting has never voted in the Reggae category for the Grammy Awards as he says, "I don't think I am knowledgeable of the department to vote."




But he is quite familiar with the genre. Over his 45 years as a musician, has written many reggae-inspired tracks with The Police and as a solo artiste, which include hits like Walking on the Moon, So Lonely and Next To You.

In England, where the artiste is from, there is a big West Indian community.

"I always heard ska, blue beat and calypso often, so I had already been prim to accept it," Sting said.

He continued: "When I first heard reggae as a young man, I recognised how revolutionary and innovative it was. It is very difficult to be innovative in rock and roll because it is a very reactionary conservative music form, so to turn it around and make something brand new took genius actually."

The chemistry that Sting and Shaggy has does not appear to be a show, but an organic friendship that makes an onlooker know that only good can come from both of them knocking heads.

"We feel the same vibe in humanity and also share similar views of life and it transcended into a whole musical connection, collaboration and a marriage of sort," Shaggy said.

Shaggy says, "It was easy to ask him to be a part of Shaggy and Friends," because he has become a friend.

Both artistes are working on an album with a majority of singles being reggae.

On February 2, the public can look out for the release of the first official musical project, the single titled Don't Make Me Wait.

There's a lot of work to be done now that Shaggy and Friends has passed. Sting has been known to be keen on the finer details.

Sting added: "There are so many personalities and variables in musicianship, it is a sort of balance of characters. It's like a soup that you're never quite sure what is going to be in it. After one guy puts in something, then another puts in something else, sometimes it taste horrible. Sometimes, it is the greatest soup you've ever had."