Sting Reflects On Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Family

Sting recently joined an interview with BBC Radio 5’s Nihal Arthanayake during which he talked about the environment he had in his house when he was growing up which was not ideal but helped him to become the person he is now.

Not all famous celebrities have a wonderful childhood. For instance, the successful and renowned rock icon Gene Simmons survived the hardship of being abandoned by his father and trying to stay strong for his mother. As it seems, Sting was also among the ones who struggled due to family issues as a young boy.

Sting was born as Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner in Northumberland, England on October 2, 1951. He was the eldest of four children of Audrey Cowell and Ernest Matthew Sumner. When he was a child, Sting helped his milkman father deliver milk, and he was obsessed with a Spanish guitar that was once belonged to one of his father’s friends.

While he was attending St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School, Sting visited nightclubs to go see Cream and Manfred Mann. Later on, those became among his influences. He then left school in 1969, worked as a bus conductor, tax officer, building laborer, and was qualified as a teacher. Later on, in 1977, Sting began making music with The Police.

In an interview by BBC Radio 5, Sting talked about his troubled childhood. During the conversation, the host Nihal Arthanayake asked the musician the effects of growing up with parents who didn’t really like each other. Sting said that he had a dysfunctional family, and he thought it’s his job to look for his siblings as the eldest child.

Moreover, the musician stated music became his solace, and growing up like this not only hardened him but also made him sensitive. According to Sting, he had to develop an outer armor to survive as he was crushed inside. He ended his words by saying he is grateful as his childhood led him to his work as a musician.

During the conversation, BBC Radio 5’s Nihal Arthanayake asked Sting the following:

“How did growing up in the house you did with two parents who you’ve said perhaps didn’t like each other as much as a married couple might do infuse your own? Certainly, in the early days as you were a young man, what you thought about love and marriage?”

Sting then responded:

“Yeah, I mean, we had a pretty dysfunctional family. So, as the eldest child, I always felt it was my job to try and mend things for my siblings. But it did drive me to music as a solace. Feelings, emotional feelings that perhaps I wasn’t ready for in terms of age – but I needed to endure.

In a way, it hardened me, but it also made me more sensitive at the same time. I had an outer mask, an outer armor that I had to develop to survive. But I also was very very crushed inside. I don’t think artists have perfect lives necessarily, and sometimes the wound is what has a flower attached to it.

So, I don’t regret it. I’m actually grateful for that, for a not necessarily wonderful childhood led me to my work and my current feelings. I think happiness is the kind of bovine concept, but it’s certainly a feeling that I’m living the life to the full. So, I owe my parents that debt because I’m grateful for what they gave me.

You can listen to the full interview below.