In the midst of touring to support his latest album, 2015’s 7, Seal is advising fans not to hold their breath waiting for the next one.
“I won’t be making albums in the same way. I will be releasing songs,” the singer tells Billboard. “I think there’s an immediacy and a freedom which comes with that, to release music as and when I see fit. The playing field is different these days. The concept of going into a studio for however long and making a concept album, so to speak, I don’t know if that’s relevant these days or if indeed that is practical to do. It’s certainly not so effective.” 7 is also Seal’s final album in his deal with Warner Bros., and he adds: “I don’t intend on signing with another major [label]. It’s not something I really want to do.”
If all goes as planned, it won’t be long before new music from Seal starts to surface, either. “There are a ton of songs, absolutely,” he says. “I have a ton of ideas, and some pretty interesting collaborative opportunities. If anything, I think the music becomes more exciting because it’s fresher. There’s a kind of refreshing rawness about it. It doesn’t get overcooked, overbaked and is not necessarily refined or finished as it would be when an album is released. And there’s something to be said for that.”
The move comes at an auspicious time for Seal: It’s been 25 years since the release of his self-titled debut album, a platinum set that launched the hit “Crazy.” Seal’s not one for nostalgia or sentimentality, but the mark is not lost on him as he tours the globe this year.
“One thing that’s really changed is I think I love it more now than I did back then,” he says. “I loved it quite a lot then, but it always seemed to be a labor of love back then, and now it’s a privilege to do the things I love. Just being able to do something that you love doing, something that you feel like you were put on this Earth to do and to do that with some success, I think that’s one of the greatest things you could ever hope for. It’s not a birthright, you know? It’s a privilege, because so many people aren’t doing the thing that they love. So that’s the key difference between myself then and now, is that I think I appreciate it more now. But at the same time I don’t take it as seriously as I used to take it, and that’s probably why I enjoy it more.”
He’s certainly happy about the response he’s receiving on tour: He’s already been through Europe and will be out in North America through Sept. 4. He’s experimenting with a new presentation that includes an engineer doing some mixing and sound design in real-time in addition to the live musicians onstage, but crowds have been supportive of it and have welcomed the 7 material into his repertoire.
“It’s a pretty eclectic mix of showcasing both my new and old material,” he says. “I’m doing a hybrid of embracing technology from the visual standpoint and also from the sonic standpoint, but with real musicians as well. Ultimately it’s designed around the song. The song is of paramount importance to me, but it’s also designed to keep us interested because we have to be enthused and inspired by it. If we’re not, I don’t really expect anyone else to be.”