Scroll To Top

The Soul of Seal

The Soul of Seal


Armed with a new album of soul classics and his trademark blunt outlook on the state of the world, Seal sat down with to discuss the rumors that he and wife Heidi Klum would have left the country had John McCain been elected, the gay rights movement, and what makes Seal's sound so damn sexy.

This month Heidi Klum's ol' man released his sixth studio album, the appropriately titled Soul. Armed with legendary producer David Foster, Seal easily slips into the smoky, gripping sounds of 12 classic soul covers from artists like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and James Brown. Freshly inspired after the win of Barack Obama, the U.K. divo sounded off on bad journalism, his dance-music days, and a change coming for all people. to Vanity Fair, you and your wife said that you would officially leave the United States if Sen. John McCain won the election. I guess this means you two aren't going anywhere?Seal: There is the old adage: "Don't believe everything you read." We never said that... Neither of us said that. However, such is the current state of journalism. What I did say was that I came to this country 20 years ago because it was the greatest country in the world, where everything was possible, where dreams happened. In the last eight years, I've watched that dream fade under the current administration. More specifically, I've watched the people not be in a position or have guidance or have a catalyst to do anything about it. I felt that in this election, at least there was someone who would come along who was going to offer true leadership, governorship, and a true vision. It was about the American people. While I am not an American myself and I cannot vote, my wife is an American citizen now. She can and did vote. More importantly, we have a vested interest in America, in three beautiful American children. My concern was the America they are going to grow up in. I never once said, "I am leaving this country if McCain wins." So, that is a misquote.

Your new album is classic covers of soul music. In what specific ways have you been inspired by this style of music? I grew up listening to soul music -- people like Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, and the Supremes. It's part of my early musical education; it's part of my DNA. There has always been a natural affinity on my part to that kind of music. Then, couple that with the change, the real change that I saw going on in America that manifested in the election of Obama. When I saw that real change happening, before he was elected, that is what really inspired me to sing "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.

Many of the songs on the album are rooted in the black civil rights movement. I know you are of Nigerian and Brazilian descent, but do you feel a connection with the black American struggle? Only inasmuch as I've lived here for almost 20 years. I realize the dynamics between whites and blacks in America is extremely different than whites and blacks in my own country, in England. For example, interracial relationships in England have been something that has been going on since the '60s -- it's quite commonplace. It's not that commonplace in America because America is still quite divisive in its attitudes. I understand the plight and history of how black people came to be in America is a very different history to how they came to be in England. I understand the reason for it. However, I'm about moving forward, I'm about change, I'm about thinking progressively. I'm about moving towards a colorless existence. I do feel that is what this new administration will be about. Obama is the very embodiment of this great country. He's not black -- he's of mixed race. He is no more black than Tiger Woods is black, than my kids are black. He is the perfect combination of the beauty which is America -- white and black.

You have a diverse background and you are in an interracial relationship. Do you experience racism in 2008, or is that not a part of your life? We experience it. To say that we don't experience it would be naive. I just don't let it in and I try and keep it away from my kids.

There are many political songs on the album like "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "People Get Ready." Where do you think the gay community fits into those political songs? The same applies, I would have to say -- a change is gonna come. I do believe in the rights of gay people to be married. I don't believe that you can say "change" with one hand and say, "But yeah, change only for a certain few." I think this is a different generation; these are different times. We live in the age of new media. The world is a much smaller place. The world is a much more educated place. The world is a much more conscious place. The world is not able to be divided by misconception and misuse of religion anymore, which contributes to all the divisiveness or the prejudices between heterosexuals and the gay community. Many religions say it's not holy. Well, as far as I am concerned, that's bullshit! There needs to be change right across the board.

The gay community has always been a fan of yours -- since your days of electronic and dance music in the early '90s. Yeah! That's what I'm talking about! [Laughs]

When did you realize you had a gay following? When I played in San Francisco -- every time I play in San Francisco it goes off! Also, when I play in certain parts of Europe like Austria and Switzerland, where they have a huge gay community. Like guys and guys making out in the front row!

[Laughs] It's funny, every time I hear "Crazy" it reminds me of the first time I kissed a guy. Really? Well, see, there you go, man, you took my advice -- you're never gonna survive! [Laughs]

What do you think of Alanis Morissette's remake of "Crazy"? I thought it was great and I was flattered. You know, we are really fortunate as artists to be given the position to do what we do. Anytime that somebody is brave enough to cover one of your songs, I think that is the highest accolade. You can put that up there with me winning a Grammy. I just think it's amazing.

You've always had an incredible sense of style. Does this come naturally or do you have a glam squad? Well, first of all, thank you! [Laughs] I haven't been feeling very stylish recently. No, it's something I've always been quite fond of. It's something I always found that works hand in hand with music. I have a passion for style and clothes as much as I do for music. I get turned on if I see my favorite designer, Carol Christian Poell, make a new coat. It's amazing -- it's like buying a piece of art.

Do you ever get tired of singing "Kiss From a Rose"? Yes! [Laughs] No, I don't, that's a joke. Anyone who is fortunate enough to have one hit like that in your life, you never get tired of singing it. I like it; I'm proud of it.

When can we expect an album of original material?Very, very soon, there is going to be System 2. It's going to be real sexy, real up-tempo -- just sexy as hell!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Clay Cane