When we think of heavy metal singers, a handful of legendary names spring immediately to mind: Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy Osbourne, etc,. But everything we thought we knew here is now being rewritten, with the news that Sting, former frontman of The Police and tantric sex devotee, fancies himself as a metalhead. Which is to say that, apparently, he actually classes his vocal style as being “heavy metal”.
In a new interview, the English musician spoke about why it was important to sing in a high register within The Police, and described himself as a “heavy metal singer”.
“Register is interesting,” he notes, in conversation with Rick Beato and guitarist Dominic Miller. “Most heavy metal singers sing up there, so I’m a heavy metal singer – but I have a little more melody.
“It’s the same [kind of thing]; to get above the noise of the band you need that register. You can’t be a baritone with a rock band, really.”
Sting, better known to family and friends as Gordon [Sumner], went on to explain his vocal approach, citing how he would try to channel the way “a sergeant major would scream and yell on the parade ground. You know why? Because they had to get over the sound of artillery in battle. Charge or retreat. They needed to be heard. Singers have the same need.”
Elsewhere, Sting, who recently released the new album, The Bridge, opened up about his decision to perform as a solo artist.
“My instinct was that we’d achieved everything we could possibly have thought to achieve,” he said. “After that you get diminishing returns of satisfaction. So I needed to take another risk with my life.
“And of course I had momentum because of the success of The Police – whatever I did next, people would be at least curious. So I used that momentum to boost me into another career.
“But it was a risk. I think art is always about taking a risk. If you’re not taking a risk, you’re not doing it.”
Listen to the full interview below: