Sting, CBE (born Gordon Matthew Sumner; 2 October 1951) is a British musician, activist, actor and philanthropist. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist of the rock music band The Police. As a solo musician and member of The Police, Sting has received sixteen Grammy Awards for his work, receiving his first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1981, and receiving an Oscar nomination for best song. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"Basically, I wanted to find songs that channelled some kind of older wisdom, rather than stuff like Frosty The fucking Snowman. I'm an agnostic and I was interested in the pre-Christian idea that the winter is more about regeneration than salvation; I stayed away from that triumphal, 'God is in his heaven, isn't everything wonderful?' kind of thing."
In which case, asks MOJO, why does opening song 'Gabriel's Message' concern The Nativity. "Because I didn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater," says Sting. "I enjoy reading Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and I think they're funny, but attacking the fundamentalist idea of what God is like is as easy as hitting a bull elephant with a shotgun. What I believe in is the human imagination. Religion is a product of that just like literature or music, so to deny religion is to deny part of what it means to be human. I don't believe for a second that Mary had a baby and stayed a virgin. But it's a magical story and it has power."