Atlanta Music Scene

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Seal talks Atlanta concert date, new music and why he loves to run

Seal is as recognizable for his velvet-smoke voice as he is for a statuesque physical presence.

Having sold more than 30 million albums since his 1991 debut, which spawned his signature song, the moody, synth-swirling “Crazy,” Seal remained a steady presence on the charts through the early part of the decade.

In recent years, he’s embraced the art of the cover song — taking on classics from soul legends such as Sam Cooke and Al Green. Last fall, he released his ninth studio album, “7.”

Earlier this year, he dabbled in acting (playing Pontius Pilate in Tyler Perry’s TV version of “The Passion”) and in June, embarked on a tour of South Africa and Europe.

With his U.S. tour, the “Kiss From a Rose” hitmaker will perform at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Saturday.

Seal, 53, recently chatted from Aspen, Colo., where he was preparing for the American dates by engaging in his favorite pastime — running. He discussed the tour and his plans for new music.

On his running regimen:

“It’s a way of life. This one guy who is in my running group is the head of the leader board, and I wish I could beat him. I do other things for exercise, but I love running. I run in high altitude. I run pretty much every show day.”

On making the shows in the U.S. tour different than his just-completed European run:

“There will be more songs added. (We perform by) embracing technology and real live playing at the same time, so you can add songs in a number of different ways, as when you feel inclined to play them. For example, there’s one particular song that I want to do. I find that in my hotel room I can get into programming it and since we’re doing songs in very sparse arrangements, I can program it to a point — at least the skeleton of the song, the drums and the bass. It’s a very groove-based show. It’s a very rhythmic show and because of that, it’s been a lot of fun to perform. My voice is pushing a lot of air for the first time in a long time.”

On covering Hall & Oates’ ‘Sara Smile’ in his shows (which he did on his European tour):

“It seems to be getting a good response. If not that (song), then it will be another. It’s really for my own interests. Yes, I am a Hall & Oates fan. I got quite friendly with John Oates. He’s actually here (in Aspen). I should give him a call, he’s great.”

On plans for his next album:

“I do know that I won’t be making a record in that same way for a while, like a concept album. I’ll be releasing music pretty soon, but it won’t be a 12-song album. I just think it’s much more exciting to be able to make music and put it out. That’s how it used to be — people used to put out singles; the first Beatles album was a collection of singles. Then people started getting high in the ‘60s and doing these concept albums (laughs).”

On social media:

“I enjoy it to a degree. I enjoy the interaction with fans when there is something constructive to talk about. If it’s to do with discussing social issues or emotional issues, I love it for that. Those things I find interesting. I find social media a great place to reach out and connect with people. One of the things I love most about my profession is being able to empower people. I love mentoring and empowering people. It’s something I have a bit of a knack for, and social media is a great way to reach out to do that. For me, it’s just a second or two out of my time, and for them, it could make all the difference. When someone says, ‘Thank you for doing that for me,’ that’s an incredible validation and social media is a great tool to get that to happen.”

On his acting aspirations since starring in “The Passion” in March:

“(Laughs) I’m not going to give up my day job. It was a great experience, I loved it. You have to have a passion for it — excuse the pun — and I’m not that passionate about acting. But I had a lot of fun doing it.”



8 p.m. Saturday. $29.50-$89.50. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

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Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on