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Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel (born 19 February 1963), known by his stage name Seal, is a British soul and R&B singer-songwriter. 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. Seal is known for his numerous international hits, the best known being "Kiss from a Rose", which appeared in the soundtrack to the 1995 film Batman Forever. He has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. He is a coach on The Voice Australia.
Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel was born on 19 February 1963 in Paddington, London, England. He is the son of Adebisi and Francis Samuel. His mother is Nigerian, while his father is Brazilian. One of Seal's middle names, Olusegun, means "God is victorious" in the Yoruba language. He was raised in a district of 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 in fact the result of a type of lupus called discoid lupus erythematosus – a condition that specifically affects the skin above the neck.
After a short time singing in local clubs and bars, in the 1980s, he joined Push, a British funk band, and toured with them in Japan. In Asia he joined a blues band in Thailand for a while before separating from the group and journeying throughout India on his own. Seal 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.
Seal first came to public attention as vocalist on the Adamski single "Killer" in 1990. The single eventually reached number one in 1990 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 "premix" 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.
His 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.
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".
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 didn't think it made the grade, although this conflicts with other reports that said the album was turned down by the label because producers felt the album wouldn't 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.
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.
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.
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 CD/DVD package, simply titled Live in Paris.
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 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.
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 official 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.
On 4 December 2009, Hits, a compilation album was released. It contains two new tracks, "I Am Your Man" and "Thank You".
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.
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 returns to The Voice Season 2, which debuted on 7 April 2013..
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:
Seal refused to apologize 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.
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 their 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.
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.
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.
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 artists' careers.
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Image from Discogs