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Olusegun Samuel (Seal) International Pop Star
‘There used to be a grand tower alone on the sea…,’
Many Nigerians recall the above lyrics from one of Seal’s international hits, Kiss from a Rose, soundtrack to the movie, Batman Forever. In this edition of Nigerians In Diaspora, we celebrate Olusegun, Olumide, Adeola, Samuel, known by his stage name – Seal! And yes, he is a Nigerian, and living up to his Yoruba name, Olusegun which means ‘God is victorious!’ having made a whopping record sale of over 30 million albums across the globe.
The songwriter, singer and performer was born to a Brazilian father and a Nigerian mother. In spite of his British citizenship he still is very Nigerian, as his names would spell out! He was born in Paddington, London, on 19 February, 1963. He grew up in the City of Westminster, what is now a popular highbrow area, raised by foster family. He went to college where he obtained a two year diploma in architecture. He worked countless jobs around London.
What you don’t know about the singer is that the scars on his face were not as a result of a botched up surgery to cover up tribal marks, but a skin condition resulting from a type of lupus called discoid lupus erythematosus, that affects the face. Apparently music runs in the family, as Seal’s brother Jeymes Samuel is also a successful singer and song writer.
Seal began dating Heidi Klum in February, 2004 and proposed to her in December of same year. She legally adopted his surname, Samuel in 2009. The relation came to an end after seven years when the couple announced their separation, and in 2012 Heidi filed for a divorce. However in 2010 the couple announced they would be making a reality series on Lifetime titled Love’s Divine, named after same song he recorded and sang.
Seal was among those, who in order to raise money to build homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina, went on 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 which was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
Dancing with legends, some of his projects include, ‘Manic Depression’a cover of ‘for the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. He also contributed vocals to a cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, ‘The Imagine Project,’ together with famous popstar P!nk, Oumou sangare and others.
Seal’s awards include; three Brit Awards – Best British Male in 1992, then four Grammy Awards, and an MTV Video Music Award. He also as a songwriter was conferred with the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and lyrically for, ‘Killer,’ in 1990 and ‘Crazy’ in the following year 1991. He was also a judge for the 10th annual Independent artistes’ careers.
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Seal also was part of the Charity group Band Aid 30, together with other British and Irish pop stars to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.
Seal has had his own fair share of criticism too, when he turned up at an event in Grozny, Chechnya to what turned into celebration of a birthday party for Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of Chechnya who was accused together with his militia for torture, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of political opponents and human rights workers. He was accused by Human Rights watch and other human rights organisations.
His labels include ZTT, Sire, Warner Bros, and Reprise. The Nigerian Briton currently lives in Los Angeles California.
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