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Sting begins each day with a swim. “A religious morning ritual for me,” is how he describes it. “It’s hydrotherapy.”

“There’s a whole lot of water flowing through this album,” he says about the brand new songs that form the body of work he’s christened The Bridge. “All of the songs on the album are bridged by people being between worlds,” the musician continues.

Here, then, is another bridge: as well as pushing elegantly forward, this is an album that intriguingly stretches backwards, showcasing the many different stages and genres through which Sting has journeyed in an unparalleled career. The Bridge feels like a greatest hits, but one where all the songs are brand new. A record that is at once modern and upbeat but rooted in Sting’s lifelong musical and lyrical passions.

As he puts it: “These songs are between one place and another, between one state of mind and another, between life and death, between relationships. Between pandemics, and between eras – politically, socially and psychologically, all of us are in the middle of something. We need a bridge.”

Sting recorded the album over the last year with a coterie of trusted musicians beaming into his studio remotely. That easy sense of musical camaraderie, connection and kinship is on full display in the lead single ‘If It’s Love’, an unabashed pop song lent wings by a whistled refrain, joyful handclaps, and uplifting brass and strings.

Further demonstrating his interest in, and mastery of, myriad genres is ‘Loving You’. What Sting describes as the song’s “stark musical setting” of electronic beats and ambient synth washes comes courtesy of Maya Jane Coles, the Anglo-Japanese techno DJ, producer, remixer and engineer. “I added a little bass while Melissa Musique and Gene Noble lent their wonderful vocals, and the story of jealousy and hurt unfolded like a poisoned flower waiting for the sweet waters of reconciliation to rain down.”

Rounding out this kaleidoscope of future-facing ideas, influences and images is a contribution from legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis, another frequent Sting collaborator and another call back, on his 15th solo studio album, to his first.

He used musicians with whom he’d collaborated before – Dominic Miller, Branford Marsalis, Melissa Musique, Gene Noble, Josh Freese, Manu Katché, Jo Lawry, Fred Renaudin, Peter Tickell, Julian Sutton, Laila Biali, Gavin Brown, Shaggy, Donal Hodgson, Tony Lake and Martin Kierszenbaum with whom he co-produced the album. So supported, Sting knew The Bridge – mixed by 4-time Grammy Award winner, Robert Orton - could soar high and span the world – and also link directly, deeply, into what he was trying to say, and how he was saying it. As this artist with multiple albums, soundtracks, live recordings and collaborations on his CV knows, “the most important thing on a record is the sound of a voice. And the vocals on this record are very close – they’re like I’m inside your head.”

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