A year before the creation of the legendary group Police, another, perhaps even happier, event disrupted the life of the legendary Sting: the birth of his son, Joe Sumner. Clearly, the boy was born into music, and his status as "son of", like so many others, is as much a curse as it is a blessing. Today, the young rebel who clearly preferred grunge to his father's popular rock has found his calling.
So what do you do when you have to follow in the footsteps of an icon? Well, Joe Sumner has clearly chosen the side roads, the winding passages of a bright, luminous pop-folk that suffers neither from the subdued light of intimate stages, nor the blinding spotlights of stadiums or arenas. On guitar and vocals, he finally comes to terms with his physical and vocal similarities to his father, for whom he provides both backing vocals and opening acts.
And in front of his audience, guitar in hand and emotions on his lips, he sings without restraint about his flaws, his mistakes, his victories. Almost like any other songwriter, except for his innate gift for writing. The man who wanted to form a band to become the next Kurt Cobain realized from his very first lines as a teenager that he had to "just write songs" if he wanted to "survive in this universe". When you see him in concert, there's no doubt about it: even without the shadow of his father, Joe Sumner was destined for music.
A fan of grunge, then ska and rock, the young Joe Sumner wanted to do battle with the music industry and created Santa's Boyfriend. The band immediately booked its first dates, forcing the singer-songwriter to write his first lyrics in a hurry. But it worked! His raw sensibility, guitar talent and powerful, husky voice were a hit. They quickly renamed themselves Fiction Plan and began racking up hits.
But for Joe Sumner and his band, the big break came in 2007, when they went on tour to support Sting. Launched at the same time, their album Left Side of the Brain hit the airwaves, notably with the single Two Sisters. In Europe, it's rock'n'roll's heyday, and the band is making a name for itself on setlists and stages across the country.
The hair is greying, but Joe Sumner has lost none of his energy. The singer sets out on his own, guitar in hand and microphone in hand, to deliver another version of himself, more folk-like and perhaps a little mellower. His first single, You, You, You, reveals his sublime songwriting and his distinctive voice, reminiscent of another. He then went on to release his first album, Sunshine in the Night, and it's as a solo artist that we'll be seeing him on stage in France.
You've heard of his father, but clearly Joe Sumner has nothing to be ashamed of. The same precision in his voice, the same talent, but a more modern rock, perhaps also more sensitive, far from the grandiloquence of stadiums. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this intimate concert, in which the singer unabashedly shares his sublime melodic folk-rock compositions.
Honestly, you can make all the comparisons in the world, but Joe Sumner is a nugget in his own right. Explosive rock singer, outstanding guitarist, genius lyricist, we're really happy to see him back on stage alone in a slightly softer version. It's a journey-like concert, introspective, dark and luminous, and we can't wait to see him live.
At 44, Sumner has lived a fascinating life. Sting's son was raised in the music industry. As a teenager, he formed the rock band Fiction Plane, which went on to release four studio albums and support The Police on their 2007 reunion tour. Although it would have been easy for Sumner to lose touch with reality, his thirst for raw, honest truth has never waned, and now he's ready to take authenticity to a whole new level.