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Seal and “Kiss from a Rose”

220px-Seal_2012

Henry Olusegun Adeola Kwassi Olumide Samuel (born February 19, 1963), called Sealhenry and better known by his stage name Seal, is an English singer and songwriter who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and is known for his international hits, including “Kiss from a Rose,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1995 film Batman Forever. Seal was born on February 19, 1963, at Paddington General Hospital, in London, England, to a Nigerian mother, Adebisi Ogundeji, and a Brazilian father, Francis Samuel.  Raised in the City of Westminster in inner London by a foster family, he received a two-year diploma, or associate degree, in architecture and worked in various jobs in the London area, including electrical engineering and designing leather clothing.

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 artists. 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.  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.

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.”  Also 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.

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,” originally written in 1987, performed modestly when released but was later featured to much wider popularity when it was remixed for the soundtrack to Batman Forever the next year. “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.

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 album provided three singles, “Human Beings,” “Latest Craze,” and “Lost My Faith.”  In 2001 fans awaited the arrival of a new album, announced as Togetherland.  One single was released from the album, “This Could Be Heaven,” in the US and was featured on The Family Man soundtrack.   Seal co-wrote and provided vocals for the hit single “My Vision” from Jakatta in 2002. He also recorded a successful duet with the French singer Mylène Farmer called “Les Mots” during that same period. Also in 2002, Seal lent his vocals to the song “You Are My Kind”, the fourth track on Santana’s album Shaman.

In 2003 Seal released his fourth album, which was again self-titled. 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.  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.”  Also in 2004, Seal performed shows at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, France. The July 6 show was recorded and released about one year after as a CD/DVD package, simply titled Live in Paris.  Seal first began dating German model Heidi Klum in February 2004.  Seal proposed to Klum on December 23, 2004 in Whistler, British Columbia.   On May 10, 2005, the couple married on a beach in Mexico near Seal’s home on Costa Careyes. The couple have four children, sons Henry and Samuel, and daughters Leni and Lou.

In June 2005 Seal recorded a special concert which was subsequently released in 2006, entitled One Night to Remember, as CD/DVD combination.   System was released in the UK on November 12, 2007.  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.  Seal’s sixth studio album Soul was released on November 3, 2008.  On March 14, 2009, Seal performed a song from the album and coached the participants on the “Top 9-Show” of the sixth season of the German TV show German Idol.  On December 4, 2009, Hits, a compilation album was released. It contains two new tracks, “I Am Your Man” and “Thank You.”

Seal’s seventh studio album, Seal 6: Commitment was released on September 20, 2010. This album was said to be inspired by his wife, Heidi.   On November 7, 2011, Seal released his second cover album of classic soul songs, Soul 2 through Reprise Records.  On March 10, 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 to raise money to build homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina. On  November 15, 2014, Seal joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.  Seal was cast as Pontius Pilate in Tyler Perry’s musical rendition of The Passion, which aired on Fox on March 20, 2016.

My collection includes the following work by Seal:

Kiss from a Rose

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

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