Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

My family comes first, says Seal

Seal's full name is Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adelo Samuel

By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Wrapping up one interview, singer-songwriter Seal is told he has four more to do.

"No, I do not," he says irritably.

He has been working all day publicising his new album Soul, an album of classic Motown covers, and he has clearly had enough.

Despite this, though, he willingly sits down with a glass of white wine to talk about fame and his family.

"We're not left alone," the 45-year-old, who now lives in Los Angeles, admits. "The paparazzi is a problem in America."

He and supermodel Heidi Klum, whom he married in 2005, have become a high-profile couple.

"They poke cameras in my children's faces - my children, who have got nothing to do with our celebrity status," he says.

"I've been in a situation where I would have liked nothing more than to ram my foot down one of their throats because of the horrible, racist things they say to my wife and the things they do to our children.

Heidi Klum and Seal
Seal married German-born model Heidi Klum in 2005

"You have to understand I'm a father and a husband. I don't care who you are."

The Grammy-winning artist, known for hits such as Crazy, Kiss from a Rose and Killer, admits his career comes quite low on his list of priorities.

"I always talk about the relationship with my wife in terms of a pyramid," he explains.

"At the top of the pyramid, for me as far as I'm concerned, is Heidi. She is my best friend.

"Second are the children. It doesn't mean we love them any less, it means my wife is my first priority.

"Third is health, and the fourth priority is career."

Seal clearly takes his role of being a husband and a father very seriously.

"You can make mistakes in your career, I've made quite a few of them, but you cannot make mistakes in your marriage, or indeed in parenting," he says.

"Children do not tolerate mistakes."


So what's the secret to a successful marriage in the world of entertainment?

"You have to know who you are, know who your partner is and understand what your partner means to you."

In 2010 Seal will have been in the music business for 20 years, having released the track Killer with dance producer Adamski in 1990.

I make music because I have something to say. The day I don't, it's time for me to stop

The single, which sat at number one for four weeks, was the song that pushed the singer into the celebrity spotlight.

He insists he has no plans to mark the occasion, though does offer a few insights into why he has managed to sustain such a successful career.

"I've always walked to the beat of my own drum," he says. "I've always endeavoured to do things that were different and challenging."

Because of this, Seal says he is not surprised he has withstood the test of time.

"Without meaning to sound cocky, everything that is happening in my life right now, in terms of me having kids, a wife who loves me, having a career and a job where people like what I do... I always had that dream."

Seal says he was 11 years old when he decided what he wanted from life.

Passion and love

"I always promised myself I would one day have the opportunity to have a family, have a career and have a life where people appreciated me. I never really lost sight of that dream.

"I believed it and lived it and assumed it as though it were my reality, to a point where it did become my reality," he continues.

Seal and his family
Seal and Heidi Klum have had two sons together

Seal shows no signs of slowing down either.

"I make music today for the same reasons I made it all those years ago - because I have to," he says.

"It's part of my DNA. It's part of who I am. It's my passion. It's like breathing: we breathe because we have to, I sing because we have to.

"I make music because I have something to say. The day that I don't have anything to say, it's time for me to stop."

Seal's love for music was perhaps one of the reasons he was asked to appear as a guest on The X Factor's spin-off, ITV2's The Xtra Factor.

As a younger artist he was desperate to break into the music industry. Now, though, he says he would not have appeared on The X Factor had he been given the chance.

"I wouldn't have done that, there is no way. I had way too much of an ego back then," he says.

"There's no way I would have stood in front of a panel of people and given them the opportunity to decide my fate."

Nevertheless, he says he has the "greatest respect" for the contestants and reveals 20-year-old Alexandra Burke is his favourite.

"She was the one that, to me, seemed to own what she was about."

He reckons winning the show is the easy part, and that it is what comes after that could be tough.

"You are constantly at the mercy of people who are critiquing your work," he tells the BBC News website.

"If there is any criticism, I'm not sure than any of those contestants have what it takes to endure what's to come."

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