By P. Brown-Hinds
Grammy award winning artist Seal kicked-off his US Club Tour last week in Southern California. My date for the evening was my eleven-year-old son Alexander. Alex, a Seal fan since the age of two, joined the diverse crowd at Temeculas Pechanga Resort in welcoming back the popular singer/songwriter.
It had been five years since his last album Human Being, seven years since he won two Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Kiss From A Rose, and fourteen years since the release of his first album. During the concert, somewhere between one of his first hits Crazy and his newest Waiting for You, he apologized to his faithful fans for not being more prolific, four albums in fourteen years isnt a lot, he admitted to the capacity crowd. But what he lacks in volume, he more than exceeds in content.
The themes for the evening were the divinity of love, longing, and renewal. More than just a pop singer, Seal is a minister of music. His music ministers to the love worn and weary as well as the lovesick, the faithful and faithless, the unbeliever and the converted. In concert, the stage is his pulpit and the audience his congregants. In a pop music era of manufactured boy bands and overexposed divas, Seal is transcendent. For him, its the music that makes his listeners keep coming back for more.
Discipline and dedication are the terms that occur again and again as Seal describes the art of his album. As he began working on the new album, after completing and trashing an album because he said it wasnt good enough, he found himself increasingly committed to the concept of musical expression.
I was reminded of the time when I first started singing and writing. Id take my demos around to London publishers and labels but no one would give me a deal. I thought they were completely deaf. Then I heard Stevie Wonders Innervisions and Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix and I suddenly realized that just having a bunch of songs wasnt enough. It was the whole album that counted. You have to ask yourself with each note and every word, how do I feel when I hear this? Thats never easy. You have to constantly dig deeper, pay the price and bear up under the pressure. You risk your health, your sanity and, in the end, theres no guarantee of success, he says of Seal IV the new album and material for the Club Tour.
While Alex told me after the concert that all of the songs were good, there were a few that were exceptional, including: Loves Divine, Dont Make Me Wait, Deep Water, Get It Together, Bring It On, and a series of songs featuring Seal on acoustic guitar joined by the talented Chris Bruce on electric guitar. Probably the most uninspiring song was ironically the one that hes the most famous for, Kiss From A Rose. It was his new material that proved to be the most inspiring with the live performance illustrating the nuances, depth, and diversity of his musical influences from R & B, Rock, Reggae, Soul, Disco, and Gospel.
The Seal US Club Tour will work across America, culminating December 13th in Washington DC. A limited number of tickets for each club show will be auctioned off with proceeds going directly to ChildHelp USA, as well as a portion of regular ticket sales. Auction winners will also enjoy and meet and greet with Seal. To bid on these auctions visit www.seal.com