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Seal - Biography

The Kiss from a Rose and Crazy singer who was once married to Heidi Klum was born in 1963

Seal holding a mic and singing on stage
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
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Who is Seal?

Seal, born Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, was born on February 19 1963 to mother Adebisi Ogundeji and father Francis Samuel. He is a singer-songwriter and record producer, most widely known for his 1994 song 'Kiss From a Rose' and 1991's 'Crazy'. He is a successful award winner, earning accolades ranging from BRIT Awards to several Grammys. 

Childhood and Upbringing

Following his birth in Paddington, London, Seal was adopted by white foster parents from Romford, Essex. At the age of four he was later reclaimed by his natural mother. Soon after, he came under the care of his father in Kilburn, where he says he suffered beatings until he finally left home aged 15. "I don't regret anything that happened in my childhood," he would reflect later, adding: "It was all integral to making me what I am today."

In the following years, Seal worked as a bike messenger, fast food worker and for a King's Road designer. He also received a two-year diploma in architecture.

Early Career

In the mid-80s Seal got his first taste of the music life by touring Japan with London funk group Push, as well as enjoying a short-lived stint with a Thai blues band. After parting ways with the group he spent time journeying through India by himself.

Rise to Fame

His first taste of fame came a few years later in 1990 with the hit single Killer, a collaboration with house and techno producer Adamski. The following year, he released his first solo album, Seal, which sold three million copies worldwide and spawned the classic song Crazy. "I knew the album was good," he said, "but never expected so much success so soon."

Towering at a height of 6ft 4in and handsome, Seal had a dramatic image to match his pop-funk-dance sound. And his striking facial scars from a childhood struggle with the auto-immune disease lupus only helped to make him more memorable in the image-dominated world of pop.

In 1994, the singer released his follow-up album, Seal II, which featured the Top 40 hit 'Prayer For The Dying'. The disc had been on shelves for more than a year, however, when 'A Kiss From A Rose' reached number one after being included on the Batman Forever soundtrack. The single subsequently spent 45 weeks on the US charts. The album sold four million copies in the US alone and earned him three Grammys.

Career Shift

It took four years before his next project, Human Being, was released, and though it was critically well-received, sales were disappointing. Suffering from writers' block, the musician left LA, where he'd lived during most of the 90s, to return to London. "I'd been away from home for so long I'd forgotten who I was, where I came from, what I was doing and why it was people responded to my music," he explained. "Going back to the places I grew up, I just realised there's no place like home."

Returning to his adopted California home with "a whole new perspective", he wrote the soulful 'Love's Divine'. The single, which appeared on 2004's Seal IV, was a chart success and the album hit the top ten throughout Europe.

Later Career

Seal continued to produce records throughout the 00s and into the 2010s, including two live albums, two greatest hits compilations and five new albums. 

Elsewhere, Seal has appeared on a variety of television shows. In 2012 he starred as a coach in the first season of Australia's The Voice, while in 2016 he was cast as Pontius Pilate in the Fox musical The Passion.

He was also revealed as The Leopard in the second season of America's The Masked Singer, finishing in fourth place.

Seal's Personal Life

In his personal life, Seal started dating supermodel Heidi Klum not long after she split from Flavio Briatore in 2003 while pregnant with the Formula One boss's child. The two enjoyed a long-lasting romance, with the singer stepping into the role of father to little Leni. Just before Christmas 2004, Seal popped the question and the pair were married in Mexico in May 2005. Their son, Henry, arrived in September of that year, followed by Johan in November 2006.

Sadly the couple split up after seven years of marriage in 2012. A joint statement issued by the couple read: "We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart."

Klum would go on to explain that distance proved an issue in their marital life. "[Seal] traveled a lot. The kids knew it was part of his job. I'm a mom and a dad at the same time."

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