Childhood & Early Life
Seal was born Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel, on February 19, 1963, in London, England, to a Nigerian mother, Adebisi Ogundeji, and a Brazilian father, Francis Samuel. He grew up in a foster family for a few years, before being raised by his father and stepmother. His father was physically abusive.
He received a degree in architecture and did odd jobs before venturing into his music career. Seal once worked with the band ‘Push.’ His initial music career took him to many countries such as Thailand, India, and Japan.
He has a rare form of lupus due to which he started to develop scars on his face when he turned 23.
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Seal’s musical journey began with minor gigs in local bars and pubs. In 1987, he joined the British funk band ‘Push’ and traveled to many countries with them. He toured around India on his own, before returning to England.
In the following years, he met producer Adamski, and they came up with the song ‘Killer’ which became one of the biggest hits of 1990. The song helped Seal grow in his career and gain public attention.
Eventually, he signed a deal with ‘ZTT Records’ and released his self-titled debut album. The album, produced by Trevor Horn, released in 1991.
All his singles from his album ‘Seal’ received accolades from critics and his fans. Singles such as ‘Crazy,’ ‘Future Love Paradise,’ and ‘Killer’ performed immensely well on the charts. ‘Crazy’ rocked the ‘UK Singles Chart’ and reached the seventh spot on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ in the US.
In 1992, at the ‘Brit Awards’ held at the ‘Hammersmith Odeon,’ London, Seal had his first hat-trick of wins. He received awards for the ‘Best British Album’ (‘Seal’), the ‘Best British Video’ (‘Killer’), and the ‘Best British Male.’
Later, he contributed his track ‘Crazy (If I Was Trev Mix) to the ‘Red Hot Organization’s compilation CD ‘Red Hot + Dance.’ The sales proceeds of the album were donated to charities that worked for AIDS awareness.
It took him three years to complete his second album, ‘Seal II.’ This album too was released by Trevor Horn. The album, released in 1994, featured singles such as ‘Prayer for the Dying’ and ‘Newborn Friend’ and was highly successful. The album earned a ‘Grammy’ nomination for the ‘Album of the Year.’
Another single from the album, ‘Kiss from a Rose,’ became popular only after it was remixed for the soundtrack of ‘Batman Forever.’ The song won ‘Grammy Awards’ for the ‘Record of the Year’ and the ‘Song of the Year’ in 1996 and came to be known as his best single to date.
‘Human Being,’ Seal’s third album, was released during a very tumultuous time in his life. The album failed to impress his fans and did not do well commercially. Three noteworthy singles from the album were ‘Human Beings,’ ‘Latest Craze,’ and ‘Lost My Faith.’
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For the next few years, his fans waited eagerly for his next album. Meanwhile, Seal announced his next album, ‘Togetherland,’ but shelved it later.
In 2003, his third album, ‘Seal IV,’ was released. It was a self-titled album except in Australia, where it was released as ‘Seal IV.’ The album fared modestly but helped Seal gain attention in the US and in continental Europe. A few notable singles from the album were ‘Get It Together,’ ‘Love’s Divine,’ and ‘Waiting For You.’ ‘Love’s Divine’ was released in 2004 and was a huge hit in a number of European countries.
In 2004, he released the album ‘Seal: Best 1991–2004,’ which was a compilation of all his hits. It also included covers of the Bacharach/David classic ‘Walk on By’ and the ‘Echo & the Bunnymen’ song ‘Lips Like Sugar.’
In 2006, he released ‘One Night to Remember’ on DVD. It was a concert that was originally recorded in June 2005, and the DVD included a special “the making of” documentary.
In 2007, he released ‘System,’ for which he had collaborated with producer Stuart Price. ‘System’ was more dance-oriented compared to his other albums. The album’s first single, ‘Amazing,’ was nominated for the ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’ at the 50th ‘Grammy Awards.’
On November 3, 2008, his sixth studio album, ‘Soul,’ was released in the US. Its first single was a cover of Sam Cooke’s song ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’ A year later, ‘Hits,’ a compilation album, was released. It had two new tracks, ‘I Am Your Man’ and ‘Thank You.’
Seal’s seventh album, ‘Seal 6: Commitment,’ was released on September 20, 2010, internationally and a week later in the US. Its first single, ‘Secret,’ was made available on ‘iTunes’ in the US and the UK. The album was inspired by his then-wife, Heidi Klum.
Seal released his eighth album, ‘Soul 2,’ a cover album of classic soul music, in November 2011. On November 6, 2015, his album ‘7’ was released.
Awards & Achievements
In 1991, Seal’s single ‘Killer’ won the ‘Ivor Novello Award’ for ‘Best Contemporary Song.’ In 1992, ‘Crazy’ won the ‘Ivor Novello Award’ for the ‘Best Contemporary Song’ and the ‘International Hit of the Year.’
In 1992, ‘Killer’ won the ‘Brit Award’ for ‘British Video of the Year’ and ‘Seal’ won the ‘Brit Award’ for the ‘British Album of the Year.’ Seal won another ‘Brit Award’ in 1992, for ‘British Male Solo Artist.’
In 1995, ‘Kiss from A Rose’ received the ‘MTV VMA Award’ for the ‘Best Video from a Film.’ In 1996, the song earned Seal two ‘Grammy Awards.’ In the same year, he won a ‘BMI Film & TV Award’ and an ‘Ivor Novello Award’ for the same song.
Personal Life & Legacy
In February 2004, Seal began dating famous German model Heidi Klum. The couple tied the knot on May 10, 2005, in Mexico, near Seal’s home on Costa Careyes. Four years later, Klum officially adopted her husband’s last name and came to be known as Heidi Samuel.
On May 5, 2004, Klum gave birth to her daughter Helene “Leni” Boshoven Klum. Leni was her ex-boyfriend’s child. In 2009, Leni was officially adopted by Seal. Later, Leni’s last name was changed to “Samuel.”
The couple later had two sons and a daughter. Their first son, Henry Günther Adeola Dashtu Samuel, was born on September 12, 2005. Their second son, Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel, was born on November 22, 2006. Their daughter, Lou Sulola Samuel, was born on October 9, 2009.
In January 2012, Seal and Klum announced that they had decided to part ways. Their divorce was finalized in 2014, but they still remain friends.
Seal has actively donated large amounts of money to charity. In 2012, he shared the stage with other celebrities at a charity event for Brad Pitt’s ‘Night to Make It Right Foundation,’ hosted by Aziz Ansari.