British singer/songwriter Seal may have made his acting debut this past week in FOX's musical about Christ's last days on Earth, "The Passion: Live," but the Grammy Award-winning vocalist says he really isn't all that religious.
In a recent interview with NPR, Seal said he went to a "Church of England School" as a child and described his upbringing as being in a typical English family where his parents "kind of" instilled religious values.
"But they weren't overtly religious and I didn't grow up staunch Catholic or anything like that," he told NPR. Seal believes in God and said he doesn't subscribe to the conventional images often portrayed by pop culture. "I don't necessarily think he's a grey-haired man with a beard, but I think of God as more of an energy, a divine energy."
"The Passion: Live," FOX's latest live musical, became Seal's acting debut event.
In the musical, which put a contemporary spin on the centuries-old story of Christ's last days on Earth, Seal portrayed Pontius Pilate, a prefect of the ancient Roman province of Judaea who ultimately became synonymous with the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
In a mix of live stage performances and pre-recorded scenes, the musical depicted Jesus' trial, The Last Supper, Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as crowds followed an illuminated 20-foot cross that advanced through the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter throughout the broadcast, arriving to the stage at the appointed time.
In his first acting role, the Brit rendered a touching live performances of Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero," in his signature tenor voice, and "Mad World" by Tears for Fears. The music is what attracted Seal to the role.
"It was the songs that actually drew me to take on the part, because I love that song 'Mad World,'" he said. "And so they kind of lulled me into a false sense of security by saying, 'Oh, you'll sing this song. By the way, there's a little bit of acting involved, too.'"
The musical's host and narrator, Tyler Perry, appreciated the show's modern twist. "What I love about this show is that the death and resurrection is being told in modern day times so a lot of people can understand it, and understand that this really happened," Perry told The Christian Post just days ahead of the live broadcast.