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Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel (born 19 February 1963), known by the mononym Seal, is a British soul and R&B singer-songwriter. He has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and is known for his numerous international hits, including "Kiss from a Rose", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1995 film Batman Forever. He was a coach on The Voice Australia in 2012 and 2013.

Seal has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male in 1992, four Grammy Awards, and an MTV Video Music Award. As a songwriter, he received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award, for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, in consecutive years for "Killer" (1990) and "Crazy" (1991).

Early life

Seal was born Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel on 19 February 1963 in Paddington, London, England to a Nigerian mother, Adebisi Ogundeji and a Brazilian father, Francis Samuel. Seal's Christian and middle names are in the Yoruba language. Olusegun, means "God is victorious", Olumide means "my Lord has arrived", and Adeola means either "rich crown" or "a crown of wealth". He was raised in the City of Westminster in inner London by his foster family. He received a two-year diploma, or associate's degree, in architecture and worked in various jobs in the London area.

Although there have long been rumours as to the cause of the scars on his face, they are the result of a type of lupus called discoid lupus erythematosus – a condition that specifically affects the skin above the neck.

Music career

Early career

In the 1980s Seal spent a short time singing in local clubs and bars. In 1987 he joined Push, a British funk band and toured with them in Japan. In Thailand he joined a blues band for a while before separating from the group and journeying throughout India on his own. He returned to England, sleeping on the couch of friend Julian Bunster, then a model. He sometimes asked him "do I sing well?" to which he often received the response that he sang better than most current artistes. His break came when he met the producer Adamski. He was given the lyrics of the song "Killer", which was a huge hit in 1990.

Seal (1991)

Main article: Seal (1991 album)

Seal first came to public attention as vocalist on the Adamski single "Killer" in 1990. The single eventually reached number one in the UK. Seal subsequently signed to ZTT Records and released his self-titled début album (produced by Trevor Horn) in 1991. Two versions of the album are known to be in circulation: the original "" version and a second, more common version with an updated mix. This is attributed to the demand for a produced single rushing the final album edit and, as Seal puts it, his and producer Horn's "inability to let go".

Seal was positively received by critics. The singles "Crazy", "Future Love Paradise" and his own rendition of "Killer" performed well on the charts. In particular, "Crazy" became an international hit in 1991, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart and number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Seal stole the show at the 1992 Brit Awards held at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, with the first hat-trick of wins in the history of the event. He won in three categories: Best British Male, Best British Video ("Killer") and Best British Album (Seal).

In April 1992 Seal performed with the surviving members of the rock band Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert held at Wembley Stadium. Seal performed on his own singing the 1986 hit "Who Wants to Live Forever" and joined the rest of the acts for the all star finale singing "We Are the Champions."

In 1992 Seal appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD Red Hot + Dance, contributing an exclusive track "Crazy (If I Was Trev Mix)." The album, featuring George Michael and Madonna among others, raised money and awareness in support of the AIDS epidemic by donating all proceeds to AIDS charities.

Seal II (1994)

Main article: Seal (1994 album)

After regrouping with Trevor Horn, Seal's second album, also self-titled, was released in 1994. A success, the album featured the singles "Prayer for the Dying" and "Newborn Friend", later receiving a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. "Prayer for the Dying" became a minor pop hit in the U.S., peaking at #21 on the Billboard charts. A third single, "Kiss from a Rose", performed modestly when released but was later featured to much wider popularity when it was remixed for the soundtrack to Batman Forever. "Kiss from a Rose" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1996, becoming Seal's best performing single on the US market (it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in late August 1995) and hit number four in the UK.

Human Being

Main article: Human Being (album)

In 1998 Seal released Human Being. The album was the product of a turbulent time in his life, including a split and later reconciliation with producer Horn as well as Seal's parting with ZTT Records and his signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1997. The record was panned upon its release. It received Gold record certification by the RIAA just two months after its release date. The album provided three singles, "Human Beings", "Latest Craze", and "Lost My Faith".

Togetherland

Main article: Togetherland

In 2001 fans awaited the arrival of a new album, announced as Togetherland. After a protracted post-production period the album was cancelled. The official word was that Seal simply did not think it made the grade, although this conflicts with that said the album was turned down by the label because producers felt the album would not be commercially successful. Even so, one single was released from the album. "This Could Be Heaven" was released in the US and featured on The Family Man soundtrack. Since December 2006, Seal has indicated that he has plans to excerpt cuts from Togetherland and make them available for streaming download. Meanwhile, Seal co-wrote and provided vocals for the hit single "My Vision" from Jakatta in 2002. He also recorded a successful duet with French icon Mylène Farmer called "Les Mots" during that same period.

Seal IV

Main article: Seal (2003 album)

In 2003 Seal released his fourth album, which was again self-titled, except for Australia, where it was released under the title Seal IV. Although it never achieved the sales figures of either of his first two albums, this release brought him back into the public eye in the United States and continental Europe. Singles from the album included "Waiting For You," "Get It Together," and "Love's Divine;" this last was released in 2004 and was a big hit in several European countries.

Greatest hits album: Best 1991-2004

Main article: Best 1991–2004

In 2004 a greatest hits album entitled Seal: Best 1991–2004 was released, including a cover of the Bacharach / David classic "Walk on By" and a cover of Echo & the Bunnymen's song "Lips Like Sugar". An edition of the album was available which included an extra CD with acoustic versions of some of Seal's hits.

Live in Paris

Also in 2004, Seal performed shows at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, France. The 6 July 2004 show was recorded and released about one year after as a CD/DVD package, simply titled Live in Paris.

One Night to Remember

In June 2005 Seal recorded a special concert which was subsequently released in 2006, entitled One Night to Remember, as CD/DVD combination. The DVD includes a special "the making of" documentary in addition to the live performance. Recorded in a historic steel mill, the Altes Kesselhaus ("old boiler house"), in Düsseldorf, Germany, this performance includes a special version of Brahms' Lullaby which Seal sings in German and then in English for the exclusive audience. Unlike earlier recordings in which Seal is accompanied by his band, a full orchestra and choir of 52 musicians accompanies the singer.

System

Main article: System (album)

System was released in the UK on 12 November 2007 and in the U.S. on 13 November 2007. Seal describes the album as more dance-oriented, apparently a return to the roots of his first album. On the track titled "Wedding Day", Seal sings a duet with his wife, model Heidi Klum. The album's first single, "Amazing", was released on 25 September 2007, and was nominated for the "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance" Grammy at the 2007 50th Annual Grammy Awards.

Seal performed "Amazing" and The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" at the 2007 Royal Variety Performance.

Seal also performed "Amazing" at the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in December, as well as the duet "Wedding Day" with his wife. Other performers at the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show include the Spice Girls and will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. He appeared on the American Idol Season 7 Finale, singing with third-place contestant Syesha Mercado.

Soul

Main article: Soul (Seal album)

Seal's sixth studio album Soul was released on 11 November 2008, in the United States and 3 November 2008, internationally, and contains eleven soul classics produced by David Foster. The video for the first single, a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is up on his YouTube page. As well, he will be mentoring the top 9 on Deutschland sucht den Superstar and performing one of his songs from the album.

Seal coached the participants of Germany's TV show "Deutschland sucht den Superstar" (Popidol) in February/March 2009.

Hits

Main article: Hits (Seal album)

On December 4, 2009, Hits, a compilation album was released. It contains two new tracks, "I Am Your Man" and "Thank You".

Commitment and Soul 2

Main article: Commitment (Seal album)

Seal's seventh studio album, Commitment was released on 20 September 2010 internationally and 28 September 2010 in the US. The first single "Secret" was released 10 August 2010 on iTunes U.S. and in the UK on 13 September 2010. This album was said to be inspired by his wife, Heidi. On 7 November 2011, Seal released his second cover album of classic soul songs, Soul 2 through Reprise Records.

Seal was reportedly working with Horn again, producing forthcoming new album Let Yourself. An Aug 2013 newspaper report described Horn as "currently working" on the album; a Feb 2014 interview then had Horn saying, "I'm working with him at the moment [...] We just started, but we've got a couple of absolutely beautiful tracks." Seal re-signed to Perfect Songs and had a 2 week writing period in Horn's Los Angeles, CA studio booked for Oct 2012. Stewart Copeland (ex-The Police, ex-Animal Logic, ex-Curved Air) said that month on his Twitter feed that Horn and Crème are working with Seal on a project and had a picture of them together, with some implication that he was involved too. In Apr 2013, Seal said on Twitter that the new album will be released in about June (which didn't happen), and that tracks include "Let Yourself", "Do You Ever" and "Laying with an Angel".

Other projects

Jeff Beck and Seal performed a cover of "Manic Depression" for the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Seal also contributed vocals to a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, The Imagine Project along with P!nk, India.Arie, Jeff Beck, Konono Nº1, Oumou Sangaré and others.

In 2012, Seal was one of the four vocal coaches in the first season of the Australian version of the reality singing competition The Voice. He was the coach of the series winner Karise Eden. Seal returned to The Voice season two, which debuted on 7 April 2013, where he became the winning coach once again, coaching eventual winner Harrison Craig. He did not return for the third season in 2014 with the Nine Network stating that Seal "will take a break from the third season of The Voice to focus on music and material for a new album."

The Kadyrov controversy

In October 2011, Seal came under criticism from human rights groups for appearing at an event in Grozny, Chechnya, that turned into a birthday celebration for Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of Chechnya. Kadyrov and the militia that he controls have been accused of torture, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of political opponents and human rights workers in Chechnya by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations. Also appearing at the event were the actress Hilary Swank, actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and violinist Vanessa-Mae. The New York-based Human Rights Foundation claims that it sent letters to invitees in advance of the event noting Kadyrov's record and asking them to decline the invitations. Human Rights Watch sent an inquiry to Seal regarding his performance at the event and released a statement about the incident which said:

"Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses. It's inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him. It bolsters his image and legitimizes a brutal leader and his regime. And getting paid to be part of such a lavish show in Chechnya trivializes the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses there."

Seal refused to apologise for appearing at the event, sending a message from his Twitter account telling people to "leave me out of your politics". Seal was reported to have made $500,000 for singing at the party.

Personal life

Relationships and family

Seal first began dating German model Heidi Klum in February 2004, shortly after she announced her pregnancy and end of relationship with then director of the Italian Renault Formula One team, Flavio Briatore.

Seal proposed to Klum on 23 December 2004 in a quinzee he had built on a glacier in Whistler, British Columbia. On 10 May 2005, the couple married on a beach in Mexico near Seal's home on Costa Careyes. Every year during their marriage Seal and Klum renewed their vows on their anniversary with close friends and family. About these renewals Seal said in 2010, "Each year, Heidi and I get remarried. It's a great party, but for about an hour, we go off on our own down to a private beach. We sit there with the kids and read vows to each other as the sun sets. It's a very special moment to us." In November 2009, Klum officially adopted Seal's surname and became legally known as Heidi Samuel.

Klum gave birth to Briatore's daughter, Helene "Leni" Boshoven Klum on 5 May 2004 in New York City with Seal at her side. According to Klum, Briatore is not involved in Leni's life, and Klum has stated emphatically that "Seal is Leni's father". Seal is her only father figure and he has praised Briatore for keeping his distance and not disrupting Leni's life. In late 2009 Seal officially adopted Leni, and her last name was changed to Samuel. The couple have three other children: sons Henry Günther Adeola Dashtu Samuel (born 12 September 2005), Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel (born 22 November 2006) and daughter Lou Sulola Samuel (born 9 October 2009). On 22 January 2012, Seal and Klum announced that they were separating after nearly 7 years of marriage. Klum filed for divorce from Seal on April 6, 2012. She also requested that her name be restored to her birth name of Heidi Klum.

In the media

On 11 June 2009, Seal, on tour with his new album Soul, revealed, "It is nice to be in newspapers and magazines for something other than my marriage". He said his marriage to Klum may take away the attention, but does not detract from what he loves doing: making music. In February 2011, Klum praised Seal for his good parenting skills.

When I first met Seal he had a kindness and compassion that was so sincere I knew he'd be a good father...But it wasn't until Leni was born and we had our three other children that I grasped what a great dad he is...He has infinite amounts of love and patience for our kids...He puts me and the children first.

Klum also remarked how lucky she was to have a husband like Seal.

On 10 March 2012, Seal shared the stage with Kanye West, Soul Rebels Brass Band and Snoop Dogg at Brad Pitt’s Night to Make It Right Foundation New Orleans after-party, hosted by comedian Aziz Ansari. The charity event, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, raised money to build homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Other work

Seal and his then wife Heidi Klum announced in June 2010 that they would be making a reality series on Lifetime titled Love's Divine (after Seal's song of the same name).

Seal was also a judge for the 10th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artistes' careers.

Discography

Main article: Seal discography

Studio albums

  • Seal (1991)
  • Seal II (1994)
  • Human Being (1998)
  • Seal IV (2003)
  • System (2007)
  • Soul (2008)
  • Commitment (2010)
  • Soul 2 (2011)
Persondata
Name Seal
Alternative names
Short description English pop singer
Date of birth 19 February 1963
Place of birth Paddington, London, England
Date of death
Place of death
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