Seal is moved to tears. It is by his wife Heidi Klum’s first American vote in this historic election and what that means to their quintessential American family now living in Los Angeles.
A change has come
Seal has unmatched talent and how that gift has led him to Soul and sanctity is the subject of our SheKnows interview. The singer was unbelievably candid and bared his soul to SheKnows the night after America made election history.
Seal’s latest album, Soul, arrives in stores November 11. The work includes the timely hit, A Change is Gonna Come. One that President-elect Barack Obama asked Seal to perform for him.
Soul includes 12 classic American soul songs and was produced by music impresario David Foster. Seal is excited about his new record, but what is truly moving the singing sensation is the United States of America and its people.
SheKnows: Hi Seal, first off, this is a pleasure.
Seal: Thank you, this is a total pleasure.
SheKnows: Of anyone to tackle this period of American music, soul, it’s you and your voice. How on earth did you wiggle it down to twelve songs?
Seal: That’s a good question. We started off with about 40 to 45 and David Foster and I sat around the piano and we worked through them. The criteria for both of us is always the song, the most important thing. Can we do the song justice was really the main objective. And it was also a question of what songs did I sound best on, what I offered the most to, and also what did David feel that his arrangements benefited from.
SheKnows: Was there specific artists or was it songs you considered?
Seal: I’ve Been Loving You, I grew up on Otis Redding and that was a song that I’ve always loved and loved him as a singer. That song is very close to my heart.
Foster’s wall of sound
SheKnows: What about working with Mr. Foster? He is a mastermind of sound.
Seal: I’ve been doing this for what, 20 years?
SheKnows: Wow, yeah.
Seal: Every now and then, if you are extremely lucky, you get to be around true greatness. Working with David Foster was such a case. He was amazing in every aspect. He’s a producer. He’s a writer. He’s an arranger. But the most important attribute he brought to the table was he just understood what it was like to be an artist. I have to say, it was not only a privilege, but a learning experience to work with him.
SheKnows: Music has always bridged cultures and peoples, and you have a diverse international background, what inspired you growing up?
Seal: The songs that are on the album (laughs). They really are. My mother was a wig maker in the ’60s and she worked from home cause she had a kid. Invariably she’d have the radio on, so I’d be listening to everything from Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, to Martha and the Vandellas.
SheKnows: What do you think was so special about the songwriting of the American soul era, as someone who treasures the art of writing a song? A thousand years from now we will still be listening.
Seal: Oh, absolutely! It’s just something that you do. It’s cultural. It’s to do with heritage. It has to do with history. It has to do with the original messages of soul. It has its own unique ingredients of suffering – beautiful melancholy, with western scales. It’s unique unto itself.
NEXT: Seal discusses living in LA and the emotional presiential election – plus A Change is Gonna Come.