Unlocking the door

Seal discusses life ahead of his visit here.

seal 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
seal 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Imagine that you had sold more than 15 million albums and won three Grammy awards in a career spanning more than two decades, but it turns out that most people know you for something else: being the “beast” half of a beauty-and-beast marriage with a supermodel.
It doesn’t seem to bother Seal, who’s experienced as many curves and twists in his life as he has given names – Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel being the full appendage of the world class soul/r&b singer who’s married to German super model Heidi Klum. But while he’s accepting of the tabloid aspect of his life, even going so far as to host a TV reality show with Klum based on their successful marriage, he’s more than pleased when the subject reverts to music.
Because it’s music that enabled the son of Nigerian and Brazilian parents to overcome turbulent times, a childhood that saw him being given up for adoption, and tough teen years when an autoimmune cell condition – long in remission – attacked his facial tissue and left him with deep scars.
Rising out of the British house music/rave scene, the 47-year-old Seal scored a hit early in his career with legendary producer Trevor Horn, 1990’s Killer (with techno artist Adamski), with his earliest material still showing signs of the acid house he excelled in. But by the time of his 1991 debut album, which spawned the Top-Ten single “Crazy,” he had created a distinctive fusion of soul, folk, pop, dance, and rock with his husky baritone voice leading the way that established him as the top 1990s practitioner of romantic, crooning r&b.
Seal’s star really rose in 1995, when his song “Kiss from a Rose,” featured in the film Batman Forever, propelled his second album, titled like his first – Seal – into multi-platinum status. While he may never have hit that peak again, Seal’s resultant albums have been full of stylistic changes, experiments and musical challenges, all the while remaining identifiably Seal.
HIS MOST recent album, Soul, produced by hit maker David Foster, found him putting his own touch on a batch of classic soul songs, like Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” In an email interview with The Jerusalem Post, Seal explained that the songs chosen were ones that he and Foster were instinctively drawn to.
“Actually the songs really chose themselves. When you set about making an album of covers of some of the greatest popular songs ever written, it’s really a case of working out which songs you can do justice to,” he said. “You have to respect the music and the song so much. I felt very fortunate that the songs we chose felt very natural to sing for me.”
Having emerged in the pre-digital era, Seal said that the current age of downloads and social marketing provides a mixed blessing for young artists starting out.
“It’s just a different time, not necessarily an easier or more difficult one. The one advantage of the digital age is that you can get your music out to the whole world with the click of a mouse. The problem is, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ out there, and it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd if you’re just starting off,” he said.
Seal has had no problem standing out, and his 2005 marriage to the 34-year-old Klum only propelled him to another level of celebrity. With three children together, four-year-old Henry, three-yearold Johan, and seven-month-old Lou, the couple decided this year to take their big love to the small screen on a new reality show for the Lifetime channel called Love’s Divine, based on Seal’s song from his 2004 album Seal IV.
“It’s not a reality show about us at all actually,” Seal clarified. “We’re simply the hosts of the show, but the show itself is about other couples. Something that we do every year is very privately renew our vows to one another, and get ‘remarried’.
It’s something so many of our friends said they love being a part of, and in fact many of them have started doing it themselves.
So it got to a point where a lot of people were saying ‘you know what, you should offer other couples the chance to do the same as you guys’.
And that’s how the concept came about.”
Besides having a supermodel for a wife, Seal said that the key to a successful marriage is laughter. “It’s so important to keep things fun,” he said.
KLUM AND the kids won’t be travelling with Seal this week when he arrives in Israel for a show on Wednesday night at the Ra’anana Amphitheater, but they will undoubtedly not be far from his thoughts.
At the same time, he said he was psyched to be on the road doing what he does best.
“I’m just so pleased to be on tour with my band – we’re playing in some great cities this time around, and Tel Aviv [sic] is one of them,’ he said.
Having overcome diversity early in life to seemingly have it all – including a fleet of vintage automobiles – Seal offered a small piece of advice to young people who may also have gotten off on the wrong foot.
“I wouldn’t profess to know what to say to a bitter teenager, but what I would say when reflecting about my own experiences, is that you have to believe, really believe,” he said. “ If you visualize success, more often than not, you’ll get there.”
If that’s how he did it, Seal must have the widest flat-screen TV in the world.