Seal was born Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel on February 19, 1963 to a Nigerian mother (Adebisi Samuel, who was a wig maker) and a Brazilian father (Francis Samuel, a plumber). He was raised in inner London by a foster family. As a result of a childhood skin disorder called discoid lupus erythemathosus (DLE), he developed distinctive facial scarring. He received a diploma in architecture and also worked in a variety of jobs: at McDonald’s, as a designer of leather clothing and as an electrical engineer.
His music career began when he started singing at a night club. Seal succeeded in creating a distinctive fusion of soul, folk, pop, dance, and rock, and in the mid 1980’s, he joined Push, an English funk band, and together they toured Japan. For a short time he was a member of a Thailand-based blues group. He returned to England and in 1990, He released the song ‘Killer’ in collaboration with Adam "Adamski" Tinley (a British keyboardist) and thereafter was signed with ZTT Records.
Seal won the attention of Trevor Horn who eventually became his producer. The hit track, ‘Crazy’ – off his first album Seal (1991) – which was produced by Horn, reached number two on the UK music charts. In 1994 his second album Seal II was released. The third single from the album, 'Kiss from a Rose,' was part of the soundtrack for the blockbuster film Batman Forever (1995). The song gained international airplay and both the album and the single won 1996 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year respectively.
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 Horn, as well as Seal's parting with ZTT Records (he signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1997) and was not as successful as its predecessors. However, it received gold record certification by the RIAA just two months after its release date.
Seal’s other albums include Seal IV (2003), System (2007), Soul (2008), Commitment (2010) and Soul 2 (2011).
Awards and Personal Life
Seal has been nominated on several occasions for MTV Base Awards, Grammys, American Music Awards, and BET Awards. He has won three Brit Awards (for Best British Male Solo, Best British Album and Best British Video in 1992), and three Grammys for Pop Male Vocalist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year in 1996. He also won an MTV Video Music Awardfor Best Video from a Film. Seal is also a coach on The Voice Australia, a musical reality show.
Seal was married to German supermodel Heidi Klum. The couple have three children: sons Henry Günther Adeola Dashtu and Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo, and daughter Lou Sulola. In 2009, he adopted Klum’s daughter with Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, Helene "Leni" Boshoven Klum (who is now referred to as Leni Samuel). The couple were divorced in January 2012.
Watch the video for "Kiss from a Rose"