Mary J. Blige To Duet With Sting On His Next LP

Sting's Sacred Love due September 23.

He's already done the jazz and world music thing, so now Sting is going for

some R&B flavor. On his upcoming album, Sacred Love, the

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer duets with Mary J. Blige on the song "Whenever I

Say Your Name."

The dynamic duo first hooked up at the 2001 My VH1 Awards, where they

brought down the house with a version of Sting's "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free." Sting was so enamored of Blige's gospel throwdown at the end of the performance that he knew he wanted her on his next album, according to a Blige spokesperson.

The album, due September 23, also features a guest performance from sitar player Anoushka Shankar on the song "Book of My Life."

The former Police frontman's seventh solo album, co-produced by Sting and his longtime keyboardist/producer, Kipper, is the follow-up to 1999's slow-burn hit Brand

New Day, which got a kick-start when the song "Desert Rose" was used in a

Jaguar commercial. The first single from Sacred Love is "Send Your Love,"

which is expected to debut at radio in late July.

After completing recording sessions in Paris, Sting and his band filmed material for a live DVD at the singer's Malibu, California, home and at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles last week. The DVD will feature a mixture of new material and a few oldies, as well as surprise

guests, commentary, and behind-the-scenes and documentary footage, according to a

spokesperson for Sting. Blige filmed a performance for the DVD during the

Mayan Theater sessions. A documentary on the making of the album will air on

the A&E channel in early October, and the DVD will follow on October 7.

Sting's official Web site will soon begin posting a wealth of "making of"

footage, outtakes and behind-the-scenes photos, as well as a preview of the

DVD and early snippets of "Send Your Love." A world tour is slated

to begin in early 2004.

The collabo with Blige won't be the first recorded R&B hookup for the 51-year-old

rocker. He can currently be heard singing with British star Craig David on

his hit "Rise and Fall." The pair performed the song together at L.A.'s Wango

Tango Festival on Saturday.

Sting is tentatively slated to contribute a song to the soundtrack of the Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger and Jude Law film "Cold Mountain," which features an acting cameo from Jack White of the White Stripes.