The former Police frontman's hometown near Newcastle, England, was once home to some of Britain's biggest shipyards, and he still recalls Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, visiting the area to launch a ship.

The Message in a Bottle singer was so impressed by the royal visit, it inspired him to make a success of his life.

"I come from Wallsend, where we used to build big ships," he tells U.K. chat show host Graham Norton. "The only celebrities we ever saw were royals when they came to launch them.

"I was eight years old and I was standing there with my Union Jack (flag) and down the road comes this Rolls Royce at a stately pace with outriders. It's The Queen Mother and as I am waving my flag she somehow catches my eye and has this amazing effect on me. I thought, 'I actually don't want to be in this street and I don't want to end up in the shipyard; I want to be in that car. I want a bigger life', so she fired my ambition."

But fame didn't come quickly for young Gordon Sumner, and he started out as a teacher.

"I had no idea how to do it so I became a teacher," he explains. "I didn't find success until I was 26 and I had a real life before this crazy one happened. It gave me a perspective and (made me) very grateful."

Sting still takes pride in the town he grew up in and even wrote the musical The Last Ship about the demise of Wallsend's shipyards. Although the show received favourable reviews, it closed just three months after it opened on Broadway in October, 2014.