Sting has said he is driven to make music by curiosity – not a need to “make vast amounts of money or sell a lot of records”.
The musician, who fronted The Police before leaving in 1984 to forge a successful solo career, said he was motivated to create by risk and discovery.
His latest album, titled Duets, collects recordings of him performing with a diverse roster of artists including Mary J Blige, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton and Annie Lennox among others.
The 69-year-old, originally from Wallsend, Northumberland, said: “Curiosity is the engine that drives me, the reason I’m a musician is because I’m curious. The reason I sing songs is because I’m curious about how they’re going to be received by people.
“I’m led by my curiosity all the time, I’m not led by a need to make vast amounts of money or sell a lot of records, I’m curious about the artistic process, because there’s no guarantee how it will turn out.
“I like that sense of risk, I like that sense of discovery, it’s an adventure, it’s my life’s adventure, so I’m always led by curiosity.”
Sting, who has won 17 Grammys and three Brits, said the musicians he had chosen to duet with over the years had a “star” quality about their voices, one he said he also possessed.
He added: “Most of the people I’m working with on this album, Duets, you could define them as stars. They’re stars in their own rights. So, how do you become a star? You become a star as a singer by having a unique signature.
“So when you hear Charles Aznavour, when you hear Mary J Blige, you don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s anyone else, it’s a unique signature and you recognise that.
“I like to think I have the same quality in my own voice, so joining two unique voices together in a song is a lovely experiment.
“We’re not trying to sound like other people, we’re not trying to be something we are not, we are intrinsically ourselves and all of these people have that very unique special quality.”
French singers Aznavour and Mylene Farmer, Shaggy, Melody Gardot and US rapper Gashi also feature among the duets, some of which date back to the early 1990s.
An interactive website has been launched as a visual companion to the album, charting the songs chronologically with new video commentary from Sting.
Duets by Sting is released on March 19 via UMC.