Sting's New Groove Struggle

ByGary Graff

Dec. 14, 2000 -- Sting acknowledges that he had a tough time getting into The Emperor’s New Groove — the new Disney animated film for which he wrote songs.

“I tried to resign about three times,” notes the former Police man, riding high on the success of his latest solo album, Brand New Day. “This was a difficult process. But in the end, I’m really happy we stayed the course and stuck with it. I’m not really a quitter.”

Two Movies in OneThe main problem was that when Sting signed on to become the latest pop star — following mates Elton John and Phil Collins — to take the Disney plunge, it was for a different project entirely.

The film was originally called The Kingdom of the Sun, a musical about the Incan civilization. But that project was trashed and revised into New Groove, a comedy starring the voices of David Spade, John Goodman, and Eartha Kitt.

In short order, Sting’s body of work was trimmed to two songs: the opening “Perfect World,” which is sung by Tom Jones, and the end-title accompaniment “My Funny Friend and Me,” which was concocted during the “Brand New Day” tour.

“That took a long time, believe me,” Sting recalls. “It’s a buddy song, and I wanted it to be sentimental but not too sentimental, and that took awhile to get. I’d keep phoning up [Disney] and saying, ‘I don’t have time to do this. I have a career,’ and they’d say, ‘Just one more song …’ ”

Back to the Drawing BoardThe soundtrack, released last month, includes several songs he wrote that do not appear in the film, such as “One Day She’ll Love Me,” a duet with Shawn Colvin.

With New Groove now open across the country, Sting is looking at another nine months of touring, including a performance at the “Rock in Rio” festival in January and a spot on the Super Bowl pregame show on Jan. 28 in Tampa, Fla.

As for his next musical project, he says, “I have zero. I have absolutely a dry well. But that’s OK; that means I have to begin at the beginning, which is OK. I used to think, ‘Oh, God, I’ll never write another song,’ but now I realize you have to be on input some of the time and then on output, so you can’t be doing both.”