When singer George Michael left the group Wham! in 1986, he began a highly successful solo career, with hits such as Faith and Father Figure. A dispute over his recording contract and charges of public indecency caused the singer to retreat from the music business for the past several years. Now, George Michael is attempting a comeback with his new album, Patience.

George Michael has just released his first studio album in eight years, appropriately titled Patience. In the past few years, he was arrested for indecent exposure in a Los Angeles restroom; had a bitter legal dispute with his label, Sony Music; and has battled depression after the death of his mother in 1997. As part of his therapy, George wrote two songs for his 1998 greatest hits album. A year later, he released Songs From the Last Century, a collection of cover tunes.

"About a year ago, the clouds lifted and I've been writing ever since," George commented. "I'm back to being happy about being a musician again, which is amazing, really. I'm writing with more ease and confidence than since I was in my early 20s." Patience debuted at Number One in George's native U.K. In the U.S., the album entered the Billboard magazine chart at Number 12.

Lyrically, the album is autobiographical, along with some social and political comment and thoughts about human behavior, while the music is a combination of dance, pop and soul. George explains that Patience came together in two stages. The first songs were more about the world in general, while the later ones explore his emotions and reflect on his life over the past few years.

George Michael has granted some radio and television interviews in the U.K., but is being selective with his TV appearances in the U.S. He has agreed to be a guest on one popular talk show, explaining, "America has changed so vastly in the last eight years in terms of the way the media behaves. This show is the perfect testing ground for me, and is geared toward my age group. If there is going to be a George Michael comeback in the States, then I'll start there." George recently topped a survey of the most-played artists on British radio over the last 20 years. He commented, "I've only made six albums in 22 years, so I don't know how this happened. I'm the luckiest writer on earth." He also revealed that he's in discussions to stage a musical about his former group, Wham!. "I absolutely hate the idea on a creative level. But on another level, I know that a certain generation would love it," He admitted.

George says he intends to release one more CD to fulfill his contract with Sony Music before retreating from the corporate music industry. From then on, he insists he'll only release new material for free over the Internet.