Pop Shop Podcast: Sting & Shaggy Talk Bonding Over Their 'Love of Reggae' on New Album '44/876'

Jenny Regan
Sting and Shaggy photographed on April 26, 2018 in New York.

“It just felt right. Everything about it felt right,” says Shaggy of his team-up with Sting.

Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.

Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).

On the latest show, we’re joined by our special guests, Sting and Shaggy! The chart-topping stars drop in to chat about their collaborative reggae/pop album 44/876, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart (dated May 5). It’s the sixth No. 1 on the list for reggae superstar Shaggy, and the first for rock god Sting.

While the pairing of Sting and Shaggy may surprise some — though Sting has a history with making reggae-influenced pop and rock music — Sting doesn’t think it’s that surprising.

“When you think about it, it's not so surprising,” Sting tells Billboard, “because we have a common ground in a love of reggae music. A respect for reggae music in my case, and he's (Shaggy) an authentic dancehall reggae artist, so it somehow works. I think there's a joy and a sunshine on the record that is really resonating with people, and I'm very happy about that.”

The team-up came about initially from Shaggy approaching Sting to guest star on the song “Don’t Make Me Wait.” Sting quickly agreed, and eventually, the gents found themselves making more than just one song together. “I think after about four weeks we had 20 songs,” Sting says. ("Don't Make Me Wait" ultimately became the first single from the album.)

“When magic happens, it just happens, brother,” says Shaggy. “I mean, there's no other way I can explain this, you know what I mean? Because you do everything in life off feeling and energy. And the energy with me and Sting was just right. It just felt right. Everything about it felt right.

“You know, I had an album slated to come out in December. I put it back to do this because it felt right. We had tours to do, we canceled them and came together because it felt right. Everything felt right.”

Sting and Shaggy will take 44/876 on the road, where fans will not only hear new tunes from the album, but of course familiar favorites from their respective catalogs.

“We start in June and run through July and a bit of August -- that's in Europe,” Sting says. “And then we're coming to North America in the fall… It's gonna be a very integrated tour in that neither of us will leave the stage, so I'll weave in and out of Shaggy's material, he will do the same with mine. I'll be his bass player. He will be my hype man.”

In addition to the interview with Sting and Shaggy, the Pop Shop team reviews news about ABBA recording new music and Kanye West’s return to Twitter (and his new songs), along with chart headlines about J. Cole, Ariana Grande, Post Malone and Record Store Day.

Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.


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