Seal visits Miami during the last leg of a U.S. tour on Thursday, and he arrives in the Magic City at a critical point in his career. He hasn't released any new studio material since 2003, and since then his sum output has been shudder a best-of album in 2004. He's currently at work on his fifth album, one impatiently anticipated by fans who waited five years for Seal IV and are at four years and counting for this one.
After his first two eponymous LPs propelled the smoky-throated chill prince into superstardom with such hits as "Kiss from a Rose" and "Crazy," his last couple of studio records have sold poorly, hinting at a stagnancy in musical direction. A little digging into his blog (www.seal.com) uncovers odd snippets of his next release, a danceable track that relies heavily on both the symphonic electro stylings of the past and his newer passion: an unplugged "gut-string" guitar. On Thursday night he'll be trying out several new songs, all with titles ("Swoosh," "Silent," and "You and Me") that feel distinctly Sealish.
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As much as he's associated with soothing, sensual pop, Seal's physical trademark is the "butterfly rash" across his face, a scar he earned doing battle with childhood discoid lupus, which also left him hairless. Neither of these conditions has done anything to deter his legion of female fans. Nor, oddly, has former supermodel Heidi Klum, his wife of two years, with whom he's had as many sons. Eric W. Saeger