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Sting finds pleasure in winter's chill

By Shanon Cook, CNN
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'I like to party,' Sting says
  • Sting's new album, "If On a Winter's Night," pays tribute to the season
  • Don't confuse it with a holiday album; it's a folksy toast to cold and chill
  • Sting's concerned about climate change shortening winter; we need time to recharge, he says

New York (CNN) -- "I'm surrounded by ghosts," Sting says. "I always have been."


"I think I'm very aware of the spirit world around us all the time, but I don't find that creepy. I find that rather comforting."

Swirling stories of "magical or ghostly" ideas inform the musician's new album, "If On a Winter's Night." The song "Soul Cake," for example, is an old British Halloween ditty Sting remembers from his childhood about cakes made to offer to the spirits of the dead.

Not to be mistaken for a holiday album -- no Rudolphs or carrot-nosed snowmen here -- the album is a folksy toast to winter, Sting's favorite time of year, and the imagination and reflection the season inspires.

In the swanky environs of Manhattan's Stone Rose lounge on Tuesday morning, the location for our interview, it was impossible to tell if Sting had ghosts whispering around him. However, there may have been some tummy rumbles; having skipped breakfast because of a busy schedule, he was eagerly awaiting the arrival of eggs.

A few notes from our chat:

A winter's fail

Sting says he's bothered by the notion that the winter seasons may be getting shorter because of global warming: "I think the winter for the psychology of people who have lived in the northern hemisphere for thousands and thousands of years is incredibly important. We need this psychological time to recharge our batteries, to rethink, to reflect. Without that I think we would probably go crazy. We need the winter, so I worry greatly about global warming. We need to do something radical to stop it."

Fifties, shmifties

At 58, Sting doesn't look, well, anywhere near 58. A fan of yoga, Pilates, gyrotonics and daily walks with the dog, he has an upbeat attitude about getting older: "This has been my favorite decade. I'm hoping that my seventh decade will be just as much fun." While he says he's not terribly fazed about turning the big 6-0, he's quick to remind us he has "two sexy years" to go before reaching that milestone.

On Stewart Copeland's book

Sting says he hasn't read former Police drummer Stewart Copeland's autobiography, "Strange Things Happen," which includes colorful anecdotes highlighting the tension between the two bandmates. "It's on my pile," Sting says. "I have a lot of books to read." But is it on the top of the pile? "Of course!"

Power of the "Invisible Sun"

We followed Sting as he celebrated his album's release Tuesday night by performing at an event to support his close friend, the philanthropist Bobby Sager. Sager launched a book, "The Power of the Invisible Sun," a collection of his photographs of children living in areas of hardship around the globe. (Concertgoers would've seen some of his evocative images on giant screens during the Police's 2007-08 tour.) After singing "Soul Cake" and "Invisible Sun" for the crowd of 200 or so, Sting chilled with friends and family. He looked most comfortable doing so.