They say that failure is good. That it builds character and allows us to grow. It helps refine us.
You know, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
I wonder if that’s how Sting feels at the moment.
Failure is never easy. Especially, if you’re in the public eye.
A couple of months ago, I watched an interview with Sting on NPR/Ted radio, “How to Get Over Writer’s Block.” During the discourse, Sting talked about his horrible bout with writer’s block that stretched for nearly a decade.
Now wait a minute. This is Sting. We’re talking about a legendary singer-songwriter. A member of the iconic band The Police. A ten Grammy, two Brits, Golden Globe award winner who has sold close to 100 million albums and was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Yes, that Sting! Writer’s block? Are you kidding me?
I guess if it can happen to Sting, it can happen to anyone.
But here’s what he had to say—
“Creativity is the ability to take a risk. To actually put yourself on the line and risk ridicule, being pilloried, criticized, whatever. But…you must take that risk.”
So what did he do?
He sent out an S.O.S. He took a risk. He dug deep into his past and found inspiration. He channeled stories of shipyard workers that he knew from his childhood. And voila! A Broadway musical was born.
An Englishman in New York?
No silly. The Last Ship.
It became his 14th solo album and a new play bearing the same name with music and lyrics by Sting. And it debuted at the Neil Simon Theatre at the end of October.
Then it sprang a leak.
The Last Ship was set against the downfall of the local English shipbuilding industry. It tells the story about a group of unemployed shipyard workers who want to take back their pride and build one last ship—not for their employer, not for the government, but for their own self-esteem, for humanity.
Of course, there’s more to it. There’s a love story that’s also weaved into the account. But the story really resonated with Sting. He felt that this story ran parallel to the narrative of many hard working people today who had lost their manufacturing jobs. Which in turn made him more determined than ever to bring his story to life.
Alas, the musical didn’t quite come across as well as Sting had envisioned. So much so, that by mid-December, Sting jumped into the fray and took on a supporting role in hopes of bolstering sales. But with all the lukewarm reviews, even though some thought that the story was seaworthy, it still didn’t help.
The Last Ship sunk.
On the eve of joining the cast onstage, the singer acknowledged his show faced a tough future: “This was never going to be easy. I didn’t anticipate a shoo-in at all. I expected a battle because I want to succeed against the odds.”
Send out an S.O.S. Sting!
Unfortunately, it was too late. There, amongst what was Broadway’s highest grossing year, Sting had failed. His story didn’t inspire audiences to tell their friends that The Last Ship was a must-see. It was a lack of word-of-mouth that had caused the show’s demise.
The lack of word-of-mouth that caused a 15 million dollar ship to go down.
Yet, this is his message in a bottle:
Just a castaway
An island lost at sea
Another lonely day
With no one here but me
Than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair
The Last Ship’s final performance will be on January 24th. If you wanted to see Sting’s musical, you better head over before it sails off into the sunset.
Yet, somehow I don’t think this will be the last thing that we hear from Sting. He’s too willing to make a choice, to take a chance, so his life will change!
And so should we.
Here’s Bruno Mars covering So Lonely/Message in a Bottle at the Kennedy Center in honor of Sting.
So what do you think? Have you ever seen a live performance by Sting? Did you know about Sting’s Broadway musical The Last Ship? Have you ever taken a risk and failed? If so, how did it make you feel? What did you do to pick yourself up? And what is your favorite song by Sting?
Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!