Fame & Fortune: Seal

SealSeal's song "Amazing," from his latest album, System, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Not too long ago, he performed that song and another, "Wedding Day" -- also from System -- on "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS, which was hosted by his wife, one of the world's most beautiful women, Heidi Klum.

It's safe to say that after all his years as a recording artist, Seal has carved out a pretty great life for himself. So it's no surprise when speaking with the London-born singer, who already has three Grammy awards for his 1995 hit "Kiss from a Rose," that the vibe coming off of him is one of supreme contentedness. Seal is a very happy man, with his career and his family life exactly where he wants them to be.

Bankrate spoke to Seal about his new record, his family and the pleasures that come with success.

Bankrate: You've called this album a return to your roots. Did you feel you had gotten too far away from what had made your songs so strong?

Seal: It's not that. I didn't think I was getting too far away from it. But after having toured for the last four years and looking at the faces of people every night who listen to the music, you get a sense of what they expect from you ... essentially, to tell the truth, but also if you can emotionally impact them while making them dance, it's fun for everyone.

So when I was writing the songs, I definitely wrote them with a more up-tempo feel. The onus was placed on the songs. Songs are the things I was interested in way back in 1990 -- I wasn't really interested in making a dance album. I was interested in writing good songs and staying true to my style and way of looking at things, and articulating it musically. That was what I meant when I said that. It was a return to the essence of who I am, and therefore, allowed me to make the quintessential Seal album.

Bankrate: So what's the secret of making a dance song that also has that emotional core?

Seal: I think it starts with being open and receptive -- not trying to control it too much, but letting the emotions speak for themselves. It pays to have a kind of up-tempo feel in mind when you're doing it, but it shouldn't really govern what you're doing. If you just focus on writing a good song, it doesn't really matter what it is. The song remains the same. You can make it dance, you can make it rock.

Bankrate: How does the final version of "Amazing" differ from the first version you wrote?

Seal: It's a lot faster, and better.

Bankrate: When you and Stuart Price (the album's producer, who has also worked with Madonna) first traded versions back and forth, what were the differences between his version and yours?

Seal: His were more structured and more coherent, more cohesive, because he has an incredible background in classical composition. Both his parents are classical musicians, so he was able to understand music theory, and therefore able to figure out what to do with a song in terms of arrangements.

Bankrate: There are two songs on the record that address your happiness at your domestic situation. How is approaching songwriting as a happily married father of three different from how you approached it when you were young and single?

Seal: That's an interesting question. I think it gives you a really interesting perspective. It makes you more open, but also more conscious of time management, because they're a lot more deserving and needing of your time.


Bankrate: You wrote the song "Wedding Day" the morning of your wedding. Weren't you a little preoccupied with other things?

Seal: I wasn't nervous like most people would be. I was just really excited and happy, yet calm at the same time. That's what I came up with. I felt like it had to be voiced.

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