David Sancious plays Kelowna at the end of May

From The Boss to the big time, David Sancious joins Sting in Kelowna

World-renown keyboardist David Sancious heads to the Okanagan with Sting to open summer concert season

  • May. 17, 2013 6:00 p.m.

There must be something about feeling a bead of sweat trickle down one’s neck en route to the stadium artists find irresistible.

Maybe hours under the stage lights reset the preferred body temperature. Maybe it’s the sight of a tanned crowd swaying in the breeze that sets rock stars’ hearts free.

But from Elton John to Rod Stewart to this year’s pick, Sting, it seems inevitable that a trip for ice cream will accompany a big concert.

And it seems “the musician’s musician”, David Sancious, a world-renown keyboard artist, synthesist, guitar player and generally multi-talented guy, knows it.

“I like warm climates, so one of my favourite places is Hawaii,” he says, as he opens his pre-tour interview for the concert he will do with Sting at the end of the month in Kelowna.

He’s also partial to the Caribbean and says Italy, where he recently played with Italian rocker Zuccero, is gorgeous as well.

Sancious mingles in a top-tier talent set, as likely to play with Bruce Springsteen as Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton or Santana. As he puts it, he’s played with “a laundry list of performers” from Aretha Franklin and Seal and isn’t about to stop.

Success did not arrive by happenstance.

When you’re the musician’s musician hard work, dedication and pure commitment are part of the gig; but so is an all out love and devotion to one’s craft.

“It’s kind of like being in a marriage. As soon as things get rough, the first thing you do is not start thinking of how can I get out of this situation,” he said.

Show business may chew up and spit out thousands of young souls each year, but Sancious says he’s never once considered leaving. He decided what he wanted to do somewhere before adolescence and didn’t even have the time to finish high school, let alone look back and second guess his choices.

He has nevertheless been the one to pull the plug from time to time. As an original member of Bruce Springsteen’s backup band, The E Street Band, he left after just three years to start his own group, Tone, where he spent the bulk of his career.

He knew right from the beginning Springsteen was a talent to reckon with and was on board the night they met, just as he was was the first time he heard a piano.

His family was moving house and a piano was part of the real estate deal. When his mother sat down to play, he was gobsmacked.

“My mind was blown. I had no idea she could do it, plus the music she was playing was really beautiful,” he said.

He started classical lessons at home until his mother found him a virtuoso in the neighbourhood to learn from; guitar he simply learned along the way.

By 14 years old, he was playing professionally.

“I quit school about a year early to play at Upstage, met the bassist Garry Tallent about two weeks before (I met Springsteen) on a recording session,” he said. Tallent would also join The E Street Band.

The little boy whose parents had to ask him to stop practicing dove into his first big break at breakneck speed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sancious met Sting in the early ’80s, but didn’t get to work with him until the ’90s, after The Police had dissolved.

Beyond music, the pair are both committed to their yoga practice, which Sancious says makes him a better person to work with—and offers to collaborate keep rolling.

He recently penned a publication deal for R&B star Erykah Badu to put lyrics to his song Just as I Thought. The result is Badu’s Agitation.

He has worked with Jeff Beck, Natalie Merchant and Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour to name but a few.

Sting and David Sancious play Prospera Place on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. There are still tickets remaining.

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