Sting: My Geordie roots gave me a 'sense of who I am' in world of fame

  • Amy Lea interviews Sting as he receives the Freedom of the Borough of North Tyneside.

Sting encouraged young people in the North East to "dream hard and dream high" as he paid homage to his hometown.

Multi-award-winning musician and actor Sting has received the Freedom of the Borough of North Tyneside, 13 years after he was awarded the civic honour in 2010.

The Wallsend-born musician, whose real name is Gordon Matthew Sumner CBE, received the honour on 9 November 2023 at an official ceremony in North Shields.

On the award, Sting told ITV Tyne Tees: "It's a huge honour and I've had many, many honours in the world, but they were just manifestations of what I dreamed of here as a kid.

"You know I was wandering the streets, wandering the beaches thinking, what am I going to do with my life? And fantasising that I could be a famous singer, or a musician and sing my songs all over the world and be famous.

"I must have dreamt them very hard because that's what happened to me. But they were dreamt here."

Sting (middle) rose to prominence as the frontman of The Police. Credit: PA

Sting initially rose to prominence as the frontman, songwriter and bassist for the band The Police from 1977 until their breakup in 1986. Since then he has forged a successful solo career, winning 47 awards including 17 Grammys and three Brits.

On his lasting connection to the North East, he said: "It's about gratitude, about being grateful for where I come from and what that gifted me in terms of character.

"A work ethic, a pride of place that gave me a sense of who I am. I've never lost that, and I live in a world where you can lose yourself.

"It's very intoxicating, fame and success, but I never really lost that. I kept most of my sanity. Most of it.

"Every concert hall I've ever played in, I play all over the world from Australia to New Zealand to Japan and there will be somebody with a black and white shirt on."

Sting has won a host of awards across his career but credits his North East background with keeping him grounded. Credit: PA

The award is the highest honour any local authority can bestow and has been awarded to acknowledge the 72-year-old's achievements, lasting influence on the global music landscape and advocacy for North Tyneside.

He travelled to the interview on the Metro as he said he wanted to enjoy "the nostalgia of being back home", although he did admit to getting lost with the addition of new stops.

The musician, who is a Newcastle United fan, still supports his boyhood club and shared he would love to play at St James' Park given the opportunity to do so.

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