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"My Songs"

To write a hit song, you need to know the creative secret.  It's called "semantic intuition" - a brainstorming technique that will improve your creativity and encourage innovation. It's a word combination technique where you label your idea first, then brainstorm to try and figure out what the new idea might be. Once, in a Larry King interview, Sting confessed that he would often get a title for a song first, then go ahead and write the song. Yet how does the former school teacher get inspiration to compose a hit?  In a 1983 Rolling Stone interview, Sting described his approach to songwriting as stemming from his personal life and regarded himself as a "complicated person with very complex things going on in my head".  He went on to say in the article about writing that "you implicate the audience and draw them in by forcing them to discover things.  To a certain extent, the songs are abstract but if I look at them closely I can see that I'm writing about my personal life."  This new 15 song rediscovery of some of Sting's biggest hits includes a live version of Roxanne recorded on one his recent tours and according to producer/manager Martin Kierszenbaum, it captures the urgency of The Police's breakthrough hit that Sting wrote in France.  With Roxanne being the main character in Cyrano de Bergerac it was fitting according to Kierszenbaum that they include a live version recorded in Paris.  The other iconic Police song reworked was their follow-up hit, Message In A Bottle, which became their first number one.  He wrote this one on a bus with  help from a mono tape recorder with a built-in drum machine;  he played guitar along with it and came across the now-famous guitar riff built from minor 9 chords as he calls them.  Here's how his creative process works.  He writes music and lyrics on a notepad separately and sometimes they later meet.  He writes from titles and from the chorus line backwards so he doesn't write one line and then have writer's block  He's also very impatient and needs to get things done quickly which meant The Police would have a rough song idea, go right into the studio and if they hadn't recorded a song in 30 minutes' they would abandon it.  But the songs that made it, those that defined his career are all included, from So Lonely to his last Top 20 hit from 2000 - Desert Rose.  He said recently in an interview "that it's my job to sing a song I wrote 30 years ago as if I'd written it in the afternoon".  It's been more like 42 years ago, Sting, but who's counting......​

Gary James

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