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Paul Simon & Sting On Stage Together – Billboard Q&A

In a new interview with Billboard, Paul Simon and Sting discuss their musical styles and inspiration for the On Stage Together tour, on the road now. Here is an excerpt:

How did you go about choosing the duets?

Simon: Well, the two songs we sang when we did the charity event, “Fields of Gold” and “The Boxer,” they worked out so we started with those two. I love (Sting’s) “Fragile,” so this is a chance for me to sing a song that I really…I’ll probably sing that song now, probably stick it in my set. So that was great. Then it became, like, what’s the rhythm tunes we’re gonna do? Sting wanted to do “Boy in the Bubble”…

Sting: I love “Boy in the Bubble.”

Simon: And I thought we should investigate reggae because we both sort of went there for awhile. So we chose that, and then I didn’t think I was gonna get a chance to sing “Every Breath”; I figured he’d just keep that in his set. But that’s fabulous, you know, so that became another. And “Late in the Evening.” But those are the tough ones, in a way. The rhythm tunes presented more of a problem mostly because you don’t usually hear two voices in rhythm tunes; they’re about grooves and stuff and idiosyncratic phrasing, and it’s easier to get a blend when it’s a ballad and it’s simple and empty. The rhythm tunes… just weren’t written for two voices, so you’ve got to find a way. Of course you can swap verses and stuff, but…

Sting: Yeah, trade lines or something. The Simon & Garfunkel songbook was made for two voices, so that’s a shoo-in. I’m doing “America” because I’ve always loved that song.

“We have mooted the idea of writing something (together),” Sting said.

Simon added, “that would be fun if we had the chance to do that. The collaborative process, if it’s going to work it really takes a lot of thinking — for me, anyway — and effort to find the commonality that you’re going to inhabit, and then you find out what your collaboration produces. It’s two different DNAs coming together. So if we have time… We’ll see by the end of this (tour), really.”

Read the complete interview at Billboard.