Live from TED

We’re all in the same boat: Sting at TED2014

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Sting. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Here’s a moment that a certain formerly absurdly hormonal teenage girl had been looking forward to for some time. As had many others in the audience, to judge from the rapturous applause that greets Sting as he takes the TED stage. He plays some songs from his upcoming Broadway musical, The Last Ship.

It’s the story of his own upbringing, raised in the shadow of a shipyard in northeast England. In fact, Sting escaped from there as quickly as he possibly could, but he describes being roiled by writer’s block and forced to fall back on writing what he knew. “It’s ironic that the landscape I worked so hard to escape from, the community I more or less abandoned, is where I had to return to to find my missing muse,” he said. “As soon as I decided to honor the community I came from to tell their story, the songs started to come thick and fast.” The process reminded him that whether you’re a rockstar or a ship-builder, a tribesman in the Amazon or a member of the royal family, we’re all essentially the same. We’re all in the same boat. 

With an encore of “Message in a Bottle,” which prompted some delightfully tuneful singing from most of the TED audience, that was the end of the first full day at TED.