Sting’s early life was dominated by a shipyard—and he dreamed of nothing more than escaping the industrial drudgery. But after a nasty bout of writer’s block that stretched on for years, Sting found himself channeling the stories of the shipyard workers he knew in his youth for song material. In a lyrical, confessional talk, Sting treats us to songs from his upcoming musical, and to an encore of “Message in a Bottle.”
In his TED Talk, “How I Started Writing Songs Again,” former Police frontman Sting discusses how returning to his hometown of Wallsend helped the singer end writer’s block that stretched over several years.
“If you can’t write about yourself anymore, then who do you write about? It’s ironic that the landscape I’d work so hard to escape from and the community that I’d more or less abandoned should be the very landscape I’d have to return to to find my missing muse. As soon as I decided to honor the community I came from and tell their story, the songs came thick and fast. I’ve described it as a kind of projectile vomiting.”