NEW YORK -- Seal doesn't blame you for being nosy.
As the singer/songwriter prepares to launch a North American tour Friday - his dates in the USA start next Tuesday at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. - he's aware that some fans are still reeling from the news of his split from Heidi Klum.
"When you live your private life in public, and things aren't necessarily as rosy as people think, you owe it to the public to speak up," says Seal, 49. He and Klum, who were married in 2005 and have four children, announced their separation in January and are amid divorce proceedings.
"There were people who were genuinely upset that what they thought was perfect was no longer," Seal says. But, he adds, "I'm in an excellent place right now. In a situation like this, your priority is the children. As long as the children are happy, I'm happy."
He's also eager to join his "extended family" on the road. "In a strange way, I love the pressure of it," he says of touring. "I love the travel. I love that your one purpose is to go out there and turn people on. It's a huge privilege to be able to do what you love and, for one reason or another, affect people's lives."
Seal's set lists will include everything from older hits to new, not-yet-recorded material he describes as "more rhythm-based, more groove-based." His most recent album, Soul 2, was his second collection of classic R&B covers.
"I consider myself a soul singer in the literal sense," Seal says. "I don't think of myself as locked into any particular genre. It's been an honor to sing these great standards that have stood the test of time. I often call (the first) Soul the most important album of my career, because it was a huge learning process. You realize how important these songs are to you."
Seal had an opportunity to supervise another singer's learning process recently. As a judge on Australia's new version of The Voice, he coached 19-year-old winner Karise Eden, whose big, raspy soul-croon has taken that country by storm.
"I identified with her for a number of reasons," Seal says. "She needed someone to believe in her, and I needed something to believe in. In my 21 years in this profession, I haven't heard a talent like hers. It's raw and undeniable."
Seal's kids, who range in age from 2 to 8, also are interested in music - though they're a critical audience where Dad is concerned, he says.
"They're a tough crowd," Seal says. "They don't like about 90% of what I do. Of course, that makes the other 10% really special."