Sting on Playing a Car Thief, New Duo Single, Sexiness of Singing in French
What is it like to collaborate creatively, versus working alone?
Sting: Well, it’s a question of one plus one needing to make three, not two. And I think in this case, we produced something far better than I did on my own, or could do on my own. There’s a dimension to it now which is wonderful.
Farmer: When I’m songwriting, I need to be on my own. Hidden in the corner of a room and then I write. I’m very desperate — it’s better.
Tell me about the video.
Sting: We thought about making a video immediately. So the way [the song] was recorded had in mind how it would be filmed. It was always meant to be a visual piece as well.
Farmer: It’s a French director, Bruno Aveillan, who’s a very talented man and a friend of mine. He’s done a lot of commercials for Cartier, Guerlain, etc. He does things very beautifully, almost like paintings. I showed Sting his work because I thought it would fit the story, because this song is already like a small movie. And he agreed. We took — was it two days?
Sting: Two 12-hour days, and we finished at four in the morning.
Farmer: He worked a lot more than I did, because he was playing two parts.
Sting: In the video, I play the car thief, and I also play the company director, so I get all the fun.
Mylène, I saw from the paparazzi photos that you were walking with a crutch during filming.
Farmer: Yes, I broke my leg five months ago in two parts, and it’s almost okay now. But I had to wear high heels [in the video] and had to be very careful. [Sting] was very nice to me and very careful because I couldn’t walk. He had to hold me very tight.
Sting: No problem! [Both laugh] The Daily Mail liked it too …
Do you find any differences in the way French vs. American vs. other audiences respond to your work?
Sting: One of the great pleasures of playing in Europe is how different culturally each country is — Germany, Spain, Italy, France. The French listen very carefully to what you’re singing about. I think they have a very high understanding of music; I think music is taught well in schools, so they understand harmony. I think it’s part of the French soul. So I enjoy playing there. They’re not quite as enthusiastic as the Italians, who just go crazy.
Farmer: Russians are quite amazing, because they’re very fond of French language. They have the depth for his music I think. I would have a hard time answering [about my own experience], because I’m very used to a French audience. Americans, I don’t know. I still have to see.
Can each of you remember the first time you heard each other’s music?
Farmer: I knew of him for a long time as an artist, and I’m very fond of his music. If I had to pick one which is very difficult I would take probably Fragile — I would love to just steal the song and pretend it’s mine. And … [Sting] you don’t have to answer because I don’t think he knows all of my work…
Sting: Yeah I’m a friend of her manager, and he produced a play I did in Paris a few years ago called Welcome to the Voice, and I became aware of Mylène then. It’s important to recognize how big a star she is in the French-speaking world — she fills all these giant stadiums again and again and again, so she’s massive, and rightly so, and a lovely person. Which is more important, actually.
Farmer: Merci. I agree; thank you.
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