Video

Sting honours shipbuilding roots with musical The Last Ship

Growing up in a grim British shipbuilding town helped push Sting to worldwide success, and the singer-songwriter is paying tribute to his roots with a new musical.
Rock legend Sting sits down with Susan Ormiston to talk about a deeply personal project with a Canadian connection. 12:05

Growing up in a grim British shipbuilding town helped push Sting to worldwide success, and the singer-songwriter is paying tribute to his roots with a new musical.

"I didn't have a particularly happy childhood … it made me who I am: it was the engine that drove me to succeed," he told CBC News.

What makes Sting tick?

Q: What makes you angry?
A: Laziness.

Q: What makes you deliriously happy?
A: Promptness.

Q: What can't you live without?
A: My wife.

Q: What is success?
A: It's not money, it's not fame. It's nothing like that. It's a journey of the soul which can have many twists and turns.

"At this point in my life I have to honour that. I have to give thanks to all the people in my life: my parents, brother and sisters and the families I used to know."

Sting, 62, is venturing into a new arena with The Last Ship, a musical based on his own memories of growing up near Wallsend, in northeastern England.

The production tells the story of a man who returns home to find his town's future in jeopardy when its crucial shipyard is threatened with closure. The singer recently released an accompanying album, also titled The Last Ship.

Enduring Canadian connection

The British shipbuilding industry stretched far beyond England's shores, including to Canada.

Stephen Reade is the shipkeeper of the CSS Acadia in Halifax. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

Sting grew up in the shadow of the U.K.'s famed Swan Hunter shipyard, where among countless others, the Canadian research vessel CSS Acadia was built.

Now 100 years old, the ship remains in Halifax harbour as part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a testament to the past that's celebrated in The Last Ship.

In the lead video, CBC's Susan Ormiston reports on Sting's The Last Ship and a Canadian connection.

In the second video, Sting talks about revisiting his roots, how Canada figures into his first-ever guitar and what success means to him now.

The Acadia, moored in Halifax harbour, was built at the U.K.'s Swan Hunter shipyard. Now a museum ship, the vessel celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2013. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

With files from Susan Ormiston

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