Sting is angry he has been accused of cultural appropriation as he feels he is an “authentic” reggae musician.
The British rocker rose to fame as the frontman of The Police, whose reggae-inspired tracks won them legions of fans in the 1970s and 1980s – and Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, has since returned to the genre by recording an album with Jamaican star Shaggy.
Rejecting the accusation of cultural appropriation, Sting tells the BBC: “It’s such an ugly term. For me, reggae is something I respect and value, and take seriously. It’s something I’ve learned from.
“I owe a great deal to the whole reggae bass community. My spiritual, musical mentor was Bob Marley – who I knew – and I really feel that I’m doing something that feels authentic to me.”
He adds that working with Shaggy, who he calls an “authentic reggae dancehall superstar”, on their new album 44/876 has given an “extra edge” to the genre.
The Jamaican superstar, real name Orville Richard Burrell, also rejects the idea that white pop musicians imitating his music is a bad thing.
“To see it now, where it is, where it’s a mainstream phenomenon it’s amazing,” he explains. “It makes you feel like we did something. We were part of moving our culture to the mainstream.”