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Seal's newest album, Soul 2, is so called because of its content: 11 classic R&B hits from the 1960s and '70s, reimagined by the British pop singer. But Seal says that beyond the genre, he has his own personal definition of soul in music, one more to do with the songwriter's intent.
"That is what I care about. I don't care if it's a Katy Perry song, I don't care if it's classical, if it's soul or R&B, if it's rock, if it's pop, if it's rap," Seal says. "I'm a huge fan of Lil Wayne. As far as I'm concerned, he's as relevant as Dylan is — he's real. And that's what I admire most about songs: When they are real, when they are heartfelt, when they are well-crafted, and when they are crafted with integrity. That, to me, is soul."
Seal has recently experienced some big changes in his own life: He and his wife, the model Heidi Klum, announced last week that they are separating. The singer says that although he didn't write any of the songs on Soul 2, the final product can't help but reflect his state of mind.
"You don't have to be singing specifically about things that are going on in your life," he says, "but because of the nature of music, because it is this incredibly emotional phenomenon, everything that you are feeling or experiencing is relayed in the music you put out. And not necessarily in the lyrical content — it shows in the tone of your voice."