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seal (in zoology)

seal, carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called earless seals, hair seals, or phocid seals. More narrowly the term is applied only to true seals. The so-called performing seal of circuses is actually a sea lion.

Characteristic Features of All Seals

Pinnipeds have streamlined bodies, rounded in the middle and tapered at the ends, with a thick layer of fat beneath the skin. Their limbs are short and their feet are long and webbed, forming flippers. The sea lions and fur seals (family Otariidae) and the walrus (family Odobenidae) are able to turn their hind flippers forward for walking on land; they swim chiefly by a rowing action of the long front flippers. The true seals (family Phocidae) are unable to rotate the hind flippers. They progress on land by wriggling on their bellies, pulling themselves with the short front flippers; in the water they are propelled by a side-to-side sweeping action of the hind flippers.

Nearly all pinnipeds are marine, and most inhabit cold or temperate regions. Some spend most of the year in the open ocean, while others inhabit coastal waters and spend varying amounts of time on shores, islands, or ice floes. Occasionally they ascend rivers. All pinnipeds leave the water at least once a year, at breeding time. In nearly all species the females give birth a year after mating, so that the births take place on land, just before breeding begins. The pups are nursed during the period, usually of several months duration, spent on land. Some species spend most of the year far from their breeding grounds; the northern fur seals make particularly lengthy migrations each year. Most pinnipeds have diets of fish and shellfish; many are bottom feeders, with physiological adaptations for deep diving. They have acute hearing and some, if not all, make use of echolocation (sonar) for underwater navigation.

True Seals

True seals are called earless seals because they lack external ear projections; they have functional inner ears. They have short, coarse hair, usually with a close, dense undercoat. Their color and pattern vary with the species; many are spotted. The pups of most species have fluffy coats of a light color. True seals are generally polygamous and gregarious, but most do not form harems at breeding time, as do the eared seals. Some species have definite migrations, but in most the seals spread out after breeding, singly or in groups, over a wide area of ocean. Some polar species migrate in winter to avoid the advancing ice; members of other species winter under the ice, surfacing through holes to breathe.

Most true seal species fall into one of three geographical groups: northern, antarctic, and warm-water species. Nearly all are marine, but the Baykal seal (Pusa siberica) is confined to the freshwater Lake Baykal of Siberia, and the Caspian seal (P. caspica) to the brackish Caspian Sea. In addition several populations of the normally marine harbor seals and ringed seals are found in freshwater lakes. The northern seals include two species of temperate coastal waters: the common seal, or harbor seal, of the N Atlantic and N Pacific, and the larger gray seal of the N Atlantic. The former is the only seal frequently seen off U.S. coasts. The Greenland seal, or harp seal, is found in the arctic Atlantic; the ribbon seal in the arctic Pacific. The small ringed seal and the larger bearded seal are circumpolar arctic species. Antarctic seals include the voracious leopard seal, which feeds on penguins and other sea birds, and the Ross, Weddell, and crabeater seals. The warm-water seals are the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Hawaiian species of monk seal. A fourth group includes the elephant seal and hooded seal. There are two elephant seal species, one of the Northern and one of the Southern Hemisphere. They are distinguished by their immense size and trunklike snouts. The hooded seal, distinguished by an inflatable bladder over the snout, is found in the arctic Atlantic.

Sealing

Seals have been used by the Eskimo and other northern hunting peoples for food, oil, and hides. Commercial sealing has been largely confined to a few species, most notably the fur seal. Commercially important species of true seals are the harp seal, whose pups are valued for their fluffy white coats, and the ringed seal. The hunting of these seals is regulated by international treaties, and they are not in danger of extinction. The elephant seals were formerly hunted for oil and almost exterminated, but they are now protected and are stabilized or increasing in numbers. The monk seals have been greatly depleted by hunting in past centuries and their survival is threatened, although they are no longer of commercial importance. The Caribbean monk seal is believed by some authorities to be extinct. The ribbon seal and Ross seal are not much hunted; estimates of their populations have varied considerably, but they are not thought to be endangered.

Classification

Seals are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, suborder Pinnipedia.

Bibliography

See B. Davies, Savage Luxury: The Slaughter of the Baby Seals (1971); V. B. Scheffer, The Year of the Seal (1972); J. E. King, Seals of the World (2d ed. 1983); R. L. Gentry and E. L. Kooyman, Fur Seals (1986).

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Seal

SEAL

Born: Sealhenry Olumide Samuel; Paddington, London, England, 19 February 1963

Genre: Rock, R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Seal (1994)

Hit songs since 1990: "Crazy," "Kiss from a Rose," "Prayer for the Dying"


Fusing techno dance rhythms with classic soul, Seal was one of the most commercially successful English R&B acts of the late 1990s.

Born to Brazilian and Nigerian parents, Seal grew up in England along with his five brothers. He graduated from school with an architectural degree and bounced around in odd jobs before joining an English funk band called Push. Push's tour itinerary took Seal as far as Japan; he later joined a blues band in Thailand and spent time in India as well.

Returning to England, Seal found the London club scene and radio waves dominated by the electronic beats and ambient sounds of techno music. Seal hooked up with techno producer Adamski and provided lyrics and vocals for Adamski's demo "Killer." Released to clubs and later to radio, "Killer" became a Top 15 hit in the United Kingdom and established Seal as an up-and-coming artist.

Sire Records signed Seal to a recording contract and released his self-titled debut album in 1991. The single "Crazy" was an immediate sensation. Though at heart a soulful song, "Crazy" sets Seal apart from traditional R&B artists with its pulsing back beat and detached, otherworldly vocal. The unique sound and memorable hook ("But we're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy") made "Crazy" an international hit; the single reached the Top 15 in the United Kingdom and the Top 10 in the United States. Seal also became somewhat of a visual icon on MTV, as the singer's lanky six-foot-four-inch frame, dreadlocks, and distinctive facial scars from a childhood skin ailment made him an instantly recognizable figure, particularly cast against the stark background of the promotional video for "Crazy." The success of "Crazy" spurred sales of Seal to more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Seal's debut earned him the respect of critics as well as members of the rock elite. In 1993 he appeared on Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, covering Hendrix's "Manic Depression" along with British guitar legend Jeff Beck. Seal also appeared as a vocalist on folk icon Joni Mitchell's album Turbulent Indigo (1995).

Seal's much-anticipated second album, also self-titled, was even more successful than its predecessor. At first, the album was a slow mover, with the single "Prayer for the Dying" barely denting the Top 40. "Prayer for the Dying" features Seal contemplating various forms of death ("Fearless people / Careless needle / Harsh words spoken / And lives are broken / Forceful ageing / Help me I'm fading / Heaven's waiting"); the song's morbid subject matter, coupled with the lack of a big chorus in the fashion of "Crazy," prevented "A Prayer for the Dying" from becoming the anticipated hit lead single. Seal (1994) did not take off until the track "Kiss from a Rose" appeared on the soundtrack to the film Batman Forever (1995). An ornate ballad with lush, classically styled strings, "Kiss from a Rose" features an impassioned Seal celebrating his romantic lover: "Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey / Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels yeah / Now that your rose is in bloom / A light hits the gloom on the grey." Seal (1994) sold 5 million copies on the strength of its hit single, which landed at number one on the pop charts and also spent twelve weeks atop the adult contemporary charts. Seal won critical plaudits for his work, earning Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance honors at the 1996 Grammy Awards.

Seal struck commercial gold again with a movie soundtrack when he covered Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" for the film Space Jam (1996). Seal's airy version of "Fly Like an Eagle," replete with electronic drum machines, was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard singles chart.

Seal released his third album in 1998. Human Being was a commercial disappointment, briefly appearing in the Top 20 on the album charts before quickly falling into obscurity. In the years following the release of Human Being, Seal kept a relatively low profile, appearing only as a guest vocalist on other artists' albums, including Santana's Shaman (2002).

Though his recorded output was meager by most standards, Seal nevertheless developed into one of the most groundbreaking artists of the 1990s, offering a unique and forward-looking spin on the time-honored R&B genre.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Seal (Sire, 1991); Seal (Sire, 1994); Human Being (Warner Bros., 1998). Soundtracks: Batman Forever (1995). Soundtrack: Space Jam (1996).

scott tribble

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Seal

SEAL

To close records by any type of fastening that must be broken before access can be obtained. An impression upon wax, wafer, or some other substance capable of being impressed.

The use of seals began at a time when writing was not common, but when every person of means possessed a coat-of-arms or other distinctive device. Great significance was attached to the use of seals as a means of distinguishing persons. With the spread of education, the signature on an instrument became more important than the seal, and seals lost their former dignity and importance.

Modern judicial decisions minimize or eliminate the distinctions between sealed and unsealed instruments, and most statutes have abolished the use of seals. Other statutes abolishing the use of private seals do not make sealed instruments unlawful, but merely render the seals ineffective. In jurisdictions that still recognize the use of seals, the seal can assume the form of a wax impression, an impression made on paper, or a gummed sticker attached to the document. The letters L.S., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase locus sigilli, meaning "the place of the seal," can also be used in place of a material seal, as can the word seal or a statement to the effect that the document is to take effect as a sealed instrument.

Seals are currently used for authenticating documents, such as birth and marriage records and deeds to real property. They are also used to authenticate signatures witnessed by a notary public and in formalizing corporate documents.

In regard to contracts, at common law a promise under seal was enforceable without the necessity of legal consideration—something of value—either because the seal was a substitute for consideration or because the existence of consideration was conclusively presumed. Although most states have abolished seals, some states have provided by statute that a seal raises a presumption of consideration. Article 2 of the uniform commercial code (UCC)—a body of law adopted by the states to govern commercial transactions—has eliminated the seal as consideration in commercial sales to which the act is applicable. At one time, the statute of limitations—the prescribed period during which legal proceedings must be instituted—was longer for an action brought on a contract under seal than for one not under seal.

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seal

seal Any of several species of carnivorous, primarily marine, aquatic mammals. It feeds on fish, crustaceans, and other marine animals; various species are hunted for meat, hides, oil, and fur. Species of true, earless seals such as the leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), hooded seal (Cystophora cristata), and bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) are included in the family Phocidae. They swim with powerful strokes of their hind flippers and sinuous movements of the whole trunk, but are clumsy on land and move by wriggling. Members of the eared family Otariidae have longer fore flippers used for propulsion, and use all four limbs when moving on land. They include fur seals (genera Callorhinus and Arctocephalus) and species of sea lion. Order Pinnepedia.

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seal

seal2 (piece of wax for impressing) a device used in attesting a document. XIII. — AN. seal, OF. seel (mod. sceau) :- L. sigillum small picture, statuette, seal, dim. of signum SIGN.
So seal vb. XIII. — OF. seeler (mod. sceller).

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seal

seal1 aquatic mammal. OE. sḗol-, inflexional form of seolh = MLG. sēl, MDu. seel, zēle, OHG. selah, ON. selr :- Gmc. *selχaz, of unkn. orig.

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seal

seal1 in folklore, seals (as in the legend of the selkie) were believed able to take human form. The name is recorded from Old English, and is of Germanic origin.

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seal

seal See PHOCIDAE.

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seal

sealallele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, feel, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal •airmobile • Dormobile • snowmobile •Popemobile • bookmobile •automobile • piecemeal •sweetmeal, wheatmeal •fishmeal • inchmeal • cornmeal •wholemeal • bonemeal • oatmeal •kriegspiel • bonspiel • Glockenspiel •newsreel • imbecile • Jugendstil •cartwheel • treadwheel • millwheel •pinwheel • flywheel • gearwheel •waterwheel

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SEAL

SEAL (siːl) US Navy sea-air-land

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seal

seal2 a piece of wax, lead, or other material with an individual design stamped into it, attached to a document to show that it has come from the person who claims to have issued it. Recorded from Middle English, the word comes via Old French from Latin sigillum ‘small picture’, diminutive of signum ‘a sign’.
seals of office in the UK, are engraved seals held during tenure of an official position, especially that of Lord Chancellor or Secretary of State, and symbolizing the office held.
seal of the confessional in the Catholic Church, the obligation on a priest not to disclose any part of a person's confession.

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Seal

Seal

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Scored Hit With Killer

Overwhelmed by Fame

Released Another Unique Album

Selected discography

Sources

Eclectic British pop artist Seal told Rolling Stones David Thigpen, All my songs are therapy. Im giving therapy to myself. After a splashy 1991 debutincluding a Number One U.K. single and a top-selling albumhe experienced several tumultuous and difficult years that caused him to confront the meaning of his sudden fame and, more importantly, his life.

Seal returned wiser and more assured with his 1994 sophomore effort, though in certain fundamental respects he was back where he began: with the same influential and supportive producer and the same title. Yet the variety of styles he enlistedbuilding on the already rich mixture of rock, soul, folk, and dance music that fills his first albumwas, if anything, even greater. The journey to this achievement, as he told Q, necessitated a self-acceptance with which he struggled all his life. You have to work out why you feel so undeserving, he insisted, adding you have to start healing and you have to start saying to yourself, OK, I am worth it, I do deserve this.

Seal was born Sealhenry Olumide Samuel in London, England; his parents had moved there from Nigeria and divorced when he was still an infant. Raised first by foster parents and then by his own father, he had what he described to Rob Tannenbaum of Rolling Stone as a rough childhood. In an interview with Mark Cooper of Q he called his father a bitter person whod missed a lot of opportunities in life. I think he loved me but was just incapable of showing it. Seal earned a degree in architecture and worked a variety of jobs, from electrical engineering to posting ads for London prostitutes; the latter occupation resulted in an arrest.

After trying to build a music career in London, Seal hooked up with a band called Push, playing funk music on tour in Japan. It was important more for geographical than for musical reasons: Id never been to that part of the equator before, he noted to Tannenbaum. It was right up my alley. Every day was a new experience. After a jaunt with a Thailand blues group, he made his way to India and there had what he called a few spiritual experiences. The happiness he felt there, he insisted, bestowed a calm and contentment about his future and allowed him to stop wanting a record deal so fervently. He believes this is why he soon got one.

Seal also became convinced that the half-moon scars under his eyes left by a skin ailment were a kind of omen of stardom. I got really depressed about [the scars] at first, as you can understand, he recalled. Now I really like them. The scars, he ultimately reasoned, would serve as a kind of insignia. If I could design something, I dont think I could do it better. He did design the rest

For the Record

Born Sealhenry Olumide Samuel, February 19, 1963, in London, England; son of Francis (a plumber and interior decorator) and Bisi (a homemaker) Samuel; raised by father and stepmother, Joyce. Education: Received degree in architecture.

Recording and performing artist, c. late 1980s. Joined first band, Stay Brave, at age 15; worked as designer of leather clothing and as an electrical engineer; toured Japan with member of funk group Push; sang with blues band in Thailand; released single Killer, a collaboration with Adam Adamski Tinley, 1990; signed with ZTT records and released debut album Seal, 1991; collaborated with Jeff Beck on contribution to Jimi Hendrix tribute album Stone Free, 1993.

Awards: Q award for Best New Act, 1991; Brit Awards for Best Album, Best Male Artist and Best Video, 1992; Grammy Award nomination for album of the year, 1995, for Seal.

Addresses: Record company ZTT/Sire, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019-6908. Fan club P.O. Box 102, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 2PY, England.

of his distinctive look: head-to-toe leather clothes and long dreadlocks, adding even more flash to his 64 frame.

Seal met producer Trevor Hornwho had made a fortune making records for the Art of Noise and Yes, among others, and had his own label, ZTT. I thought he looked a bit frightening, Horn remembered to Tannen-baum. I thought he was gonna like all kinds of music I wasnt gonna like. Then he told me he liked [folk-rockers] Crosby, Stills and Nash and Joni Mitchell. It was quite refreshing. Even so, he was disinclined to sign the fledgling artist.

Scored Hit With Killer

In 1990, however, Seal took his fate into his hands, achieving immediate success that would grab the attention of Horn and much of the pop world. He co-wrote a song called Killer with British keyboardist Adamski, and its mix of dance and rockhelped by heartfelt singing and lyricstook it to the top of the U.K. charts. I remember the first time we got to No. 1, he recollected in an interview with Giles Smith of The Independent, Adamski and myself were in one of those family inn restaurants on a Sunday near Cambridge, [and] the week before we were No. 4 and [pop diva] Madonna was No. 1. When they realized that Killer had gained the top position, I let out this huge roar. Honestly, families around us were going for their childrenthere was this six-foot-four black man gone wild in Cambridgeshire.

Seal was unprepared for what would follow. I guess I was the epitome of the phrase meteoric success, he told Cooper of Q. My kind of success was different because I had a hit record with something which wasnt immediately commercial in the pop sense. I took [my song] Crazy round to lots of record companies before Killer and although everybody really liked it, they wouldnt touch it. But if you manage to get a hit with a record like that, its like youve broken through with something which allows you so much room. Soon ZTT found itself in competition with other labels that wanted to sign Seal; Horns company recruited the young artist by offering him artistic freedom and, as Seal himself told Tannen-baum of Rolling Stone, quite a bit of money, too.

Overwhelmed by Fame

Though Seal initially brought in various friends from the dance music world to help him produce the album, he eventually surrendered the reins to Horn. The producer told Tannenbaum that the singers crowd were very interested in Chicago house music. I thought that was absurd, when you have that much talent. Its limitedyou dont sit and listen to it. You cant go to concerts and things like that. The resulting album, Seal, appeared on ZTT/Sire in 1991 and complemented the dance-floor grooves with acoustic guitars and an overall emphasis on melody and song structure.

Rolling Stone writer Thigpen called the Seals debut album a startlingly original synthesis that seemed to come from some undiscovered place along the axis of rock and soul. Seals lyrics on this first album reflected what he later referred to in the Independent interview as a very young, very idealistic point of view: if we only stick together we can save the world. His travels in the east had made him unstoppable in that respect.

Seal was an international smash, thanks to Killer and Crazy, an idealistic slice of pop-funk that was soon co-opted for a television commercial. And Seal himself was overwhelmed by fame. You live one way for 26 years, and then suddenly theres a dramatic change, he reflected to Thigpen. Five years ago I would get annoyed when my dole [unemployment] check arrived a day late. The next thing I know, Im getting pissed off if my limo didnt turn up.

Indeed, as Seal told Cooper, the experience was completely the opposite of what Id imagined. If youre a sensitive person, like myself, you quickly realise that not everybodys intentions are genuine. And, yes, you have more people around you, lots more people around you, but your space becomes much smaller. People come up to you constantly in the street and they treat you like youre an alien. Most tragically, I thought that the adoration would replace the attention that I sought from my father. I thought success or fame would bring me all these things. All of this led to a very bad period when I had a lot of panic attacks. As he complained to Rolling Stone, I wanted the money. I wanted to be a millionaire. But fame can be a pain in the ass.

Along with the anxiety, however, came laurels: the Q award for Best New Act of 1991, and three 1992 Brit Awards. Seal even performed at the Grammy Awards ceremony, though he took home no trophies. The best thing that came out of the Grammys, he reflected to Smith of the Independent, was that I did an interview for the LA. Times and for the umpteenth time I was asked about my musical influences and for the umpteenth time I said I really like Joni Mitchell and reeled off this whole piece on why. On tour in France two months afterward, Seal received flowers and a note that said Thanks for appreciating the work, love Joni. Seal had another brush with greatness when he joined British guitar legend Jeff Beck on a cover version of rock trailblazer Jimi Hendrixs Manic Depression for the Hendrix tribute album Stone Free.

Released Another Unique Album

After relocating to Los Angeles, Seal gradually began work on a follow-up album. Intent on astylistic departure rather than a recreation of his debut, he selected a new producer. Steve Lillywhite, whod worked with Irish rock superstars U2, among others, was his choice. But he soon asked Horn to take over. Steve was wrong for all the reasons Trevor was the right producer, he commented to Thigpen. Trevors a musician first and foremost.

The resulting albumagain called Seal replaced the debuts pounding rhythms with slyer grooves, while Seals singing moved away from the anthemic shouts of his earlier hits and became more nuanced and intimate. The first single, Prayerforthe Dying, asober, reflective tune with an insistent funk beat, became a Top Ten hit. Jeff Beck played guitar on another track, Bring It On, and Joni Mitchell joined Seal for a duet in the song If I Could. It was difficult for Seal to stop working on the project. One time, I was going to the airport and I just turned round and came back to do more vocals, he confessed to Cooper. I was dragged screaming from this record and so was Trevor. It was probably the most important thing about the whole record.

Seals new looka shaved headat once represented a concession to California temperatures and a clean break from the past. Hed lived through a number of losses and near catastrophes between the two albums. I had a really heavy duty car crash in California, he told Cooper. I nearly flew off a canyon on to a freeway a hundred feet below at peak hour. The car was completely written off and, miraculously, I walked away virtually unscathed. Then I got double pneumonia. The doctors said it was touch and go atone stage but I came out of that unscathed too, with no scarring on my lungs or anything. Then there was a shooting right in front of me on [Hollywoods] Sunset Boulevard.

Seal claimed that a London healer helped him recover from his illness and clarify his life; he appears on the cover of his second album in the nude, his newly shorn pate adding to the overall image of strength through vulnerability. My whole approach to this record was one of openness, he told Cooper. He also emphasized in various interviews that the idealistic world-saving stance of his first album had neglected the necessity of healing oneselfspiritually and otherwisebefore one could truly help others. Part of this healing meant putting fame in perspective, and allowing his celebrity self to surface when he needed to protect his private self. The days I wanted to be noticed, wanted some feedback, he informed Smith in the Independent, I could go out there and kind of exude and Id get recognized, becoming Seal, pop star, impervious to everything.

Seal the second was generally greeted with critical raves. This British neo-soul singers gift flows from his ability to transform dancefloor tracks into spine-tingling, magical experiences, enthused James Bernard of Entertainment Weekly, who gave the album an A grade. Reviewer Hobey Echlin of the Detroit Metro Times labeled the effort Brilliant, subtle, indulgent and sentimental. Thigpen noted that Seals husky, expressive voice sounds even richer and more aged; the new record has an almost folky feel, with an undercurrent of melancholy and introspection that wasnt there before.

But it wasnt so much good reviews as good old fashioned radio airplay that helped the achievement sink in. Somebody played the single on the radio the other day, Seal related to Smith. I was speaking to my friend Oswald on the carphone. He said: They seem to be playing your record a lot. I said, rather grumpily: Really? Cos I havent heard it once. Ironically enough as I said that, it came on the radio. I said: Oswald: Im going to have to call you back.

Pulling over to the side of the road, Seal finally appreciated the finished product. Id been listening to it as a song and now I wanted to hear this thing that Trevor had always talked about: I wanted to hear the record. It sounded better on the radio than it did on the stereo at home. And the DJ said, That was the new one from Sealwell worth waiting for. The feeling, he noted, was one hed felt only occasionally: almost unquantifi-able just this rush.

Selected discography

Killer (single), 1990.

Seal (includes Killer and Crazy), ZTT, 1991.

(With Jeff Beck) Crosstown Traffic, Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Reprise, 1993.

Seal (includes Prayer for the Dying and If I Could), ZTT, 1994.

Sources

Entertainment Weekly, June 3, 1994.

Guitar Player, October 1994.

The Independent, May 12, 1994.

Metro Times (Detroit), June 22, 1994.

Q, July 1994.

Rolling Stone, November 28, 1991; August 25, 1994.

Simon Glickman

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Seal

Seal


Singer, songwriter




Eclectic British pop artist Seal told Rolling Stone 's David Thigpen, "All my songs are therapy. I'm giving therapy to myself." After a splashy 1991 debutincluding a number one single in the United Kingdom and a top-selling albumhe experienced several tumultuous and difficult years that caused him to confront the meaning of his sudden fame and, more importantly, his life.

Seal returned wiser and more assured with his 1994 sophomore effort, though in certain fundamental respects he was back where he began: with the same influential and supportive producer and the same title. Yet the variety of styles he enlistedbuilding on the already rich mixture of rock, soul, folk, and dance music that fills his first albumwas, if anything, even greater. The journey to this achievement, as he told Q, necessitated a self-acceptance with which he struggled all his life. "You have to work out why you feel so undeserving," he insisted, adding "you have to start healing and you have to start saying to yourself, OK, I am worth it, I do deserve this."


Had "A Rough Childhood"

Seal was born Sealhenry Olumide Samuel on February 19, 1963, in London, England; his parents had moved there from Nigeria and divorced when he was still an infant. Raised first by foster parents and then by his own father, he had what he described to Rob Tannenbaum of Rolling Stone as "a rough childhood." In an interview with Mark Cooper of Q he called his father "a bitter person who'd missed a lot of opportunities in life. I think he loved me but was just incapable of showing it." Seal earned a degree in architecture and worked a variety of jobs, from electrical engineering to posting ads for London prostitutes; the latter occupation resulted in an arrest.

After trying to build a music career in London, Seal hooked up with a band called Push, playing funk music on tour in Japan. It was important more for geographical than for musical reasons: "I'd never been to that part of the equator before," he noted to Tannenbaum. "It was right up my alley. Every day was a new experience." After a jaunt with a Thailand blues group, he made his way to India and there had what he called "a few spiritual experiences." The happiness he felt there, he insisted, bestowed a calm and contentment about his future and allowed him to stop wanting a record deal so fervently. He believes this is why he soon got one.

Seal also became convinced that the half-moon scars under his eyes left by a skin ailment were a kind of omen of stardom. "I got really depressed about [the scars] at first, as you can understand," he recalled. "Now I really like them." The scars, he ultimately reasoned, would serve as a kind of insignia. "If I could design something, I don't think I could do it better." He did design the rest of his distinctive look: head-to-toe leather clothes and long dreadlocks, adding even more flash to his 6'4" frame.

Seal met producer Trevor Hornwho had made a fortune making records for the Art of Noise and Yes, among others, and had his own label, ZTT. "I thought he looked a bit frightening," Horn remembered to Tannenbaum. "I thought he was gonna like all kinds of music I wasn't gonna like. Then he told me he liked Crosby, Stills and Nash and Joni Mitchell. It was quite refreshing." Even so, he was disinclined to sign the fledgling artist.

In 1990, however, Seal took his fate into his hands, achieving immediate success that would grab the attention of Horn and much of the pop world. He co-wrote a song called "Killer" with British keyboardist Adamski, and its mix of dance and rockhelped by heartfelt singing and lyricstook it to the top of the U.K. charts. "I remember the first time we got to No. 1," he recollected in an interview with Giles Smith of the Independent, "Adamski and myself were in one of those family inn restaurants on a Sunday near Cambridge, the week before we were No. 4 and Madonna was No. 1." When they realized that "Killer" had gained the top position, "I let out this huge roar. Honestly, families around us were going for their childrenthere was this six-foot-four black man gone wild in Cambridgeshire."

Seal was unprepared for what would follow. "I guess I was the epitome of the phrase 'meteoric success,'" he told Cooper of Q. "My kind of success was different because I had a hit record with something which wasn't immediately commercial in the pop sense. I took [my song] 'Crazy' round to lots of record companies before 'Killer' and although everybody really liked it, they wouldn't touch it. But if you manage to get a hit with a record like that, it's like you've broken through with something which allows you so much room." Soon ZTT found itself in competition with other labels that wanted to sign Seal; Horn's company recruited the young artist by offering him artistic freedom and, as Seal himself told Tannenbaum of Rolling Stone, "quite a bit of money, too."

Though Seal initially brought in various friends from the dance music world to help him produce the album, he eventually surrendered the reins to Horn. The producer told Tannenbaum that the singer's crowds "were very interested in Chicago house music. I thought that was absurd, when you have that much talent. It's limitedyou don't sit and listen to it. You can't go to concerts and things like that." The resulting album, Seal, appeared on ZTT/Sire in 1991 and complemented the dance-floor grooves with acoustic guitars and an overall emphasis on melody and song structure.


Debut Was An International Success

Rolling Stone writer Thigpen called the Seal's debut album "a startlingly original synthesis that seemed to come from some undiscovered place along the axis of rock and soul." Seal's lyrics on this first album reflected what he later referred to in the Independent interview as a "very young, very idealistic" point of view: "if we only stick together we can save the world." His travels in the east had made him "unstoppable in that respect."

For the Record . . .

Born Sealhenry Olumide Samuel on February 19, 1963, in London, England; son of Francis (a plumber and interior decorator) and Bisi (a homemaker) Samuel; raised by father and stepmother, Joyce. Education: Received degree in architecture.


Joined first band, Stay Brave, at age 15; worked as designer of leather clothing and as an electrical engineer; toured Japan with member of funk group Push; sang with blues band in Thailand; released single "Killer," a collaboration with Adam "Adamski" Tinley, 1990; signed with ZTT records and released debut album Seal, 1991; collaborated with Jeff Beck on contribution to Jimi Hendrix tribute album Stone Free, 1993; released Seal, 1994; released single, "Kiss From A Rose," which was featured in the movie Batman Forever, 1995; released Human Being, 1998; released Seal VI, 2003.


Awards: Q Award, Best New Act, 1991; Brit Awards, Best Album, Best Male Artist, and Best Video, 1992; Grammy Awards, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for "Kiss From A Rose," 1995.


Addresses: Record company Warner Bros., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91595, phone: (818) 846-9090, website: http://www.wbr.com. Website Seal Official Website: http://www.seal.com/.



Seal was an international smash, thanks to "Killer" and "Crazy," an idealistic slice of pop-funk that was soon co-opted for a television commercial. And Seal himself was overwhelmed by fame. Indeed, as Seal told Cooper, the experience "was completely the opposite of what I'd imagined. If you're a sensitive person, like myself, you quickly realise that not everybody's intentions are genuine. And, yes, you have more people around you, lots more people around you, but your space becomes much smaller. People come up to you constantly in the street and they treat you like you're an alien." Most tragically, "I thought that the adoration would replace the attention that I sought from my father. I thought success or fame would bring me all these things."


After relocating to Los Angeles, Seal gradually began work on a follow-up album. Intent on a stylistic departure rather than a recreation of his debut, he selected a new producer. Steve Lillywhite, who'd worked with Irish rock superstars U2, among others, was his choice. But he soon asked Horn to take over. "Steve was wrong for all the reasons Trevor was the right producer," he commented to Thigpen. "Trevor's a musician first and foremost."


The resulting albumagain called Seal replaced the debut's pounding rhythms with slyer grooves, while Seal's singing moved away from the anthemic shouts of his earlier hits and became more nuanced and intimate. The first single, "Prayer for the Dying," a sober, reflective tune with an insistent funk beat, became a top ten hit. Jeff Beck played guitar on another track, "Bring It On," and Joni Mitchell joined Seal for a duet in the song "If I Could." It was difficult for Seal to stop working on the project. "One time, I was going to the airport and I just turned round and came back to do more vocals," he confessed to Cooper. "I was dragged screaming from this record and so was Trevor. It was probably the most important thing about the whole record."


Seal's new looka shaved headat once represented a concession to California temperatures and a clean break from the past. He'd lived through a number of losses and near catastrophes between the two albums. "I had a really heavy duty car crash in California," he told Cooper. "I nearly flew off a canyon on to a freeway a hundred feet below at peak hour. The car was completely written off and, miraculously, I walked away virtually unscathed. Then I got double pneumonia. The doctors said it was touch and go at one stage but I came out of that unscathed too, with no scarring on my lungs or anything. Then there was a shooting right in front of me on [Hollywood's] Sunset Boulevard."


Seal claimed that a London healer helped him recover from his illness and clarify his life; he appears on the cover of his second album in the nude, his newly shorn pate adding to the overall image of strength through vulnerability. "My whole approach to this record was one of openness," he told Cooper. He also emphasized in various interviews that the "idealistic" world-saving stance of his first album had neglected the necessity of healing oneselfspiritually and otherwisebefore one could truly help others. Part of this healing meant putting fame in perspective, and allowing his "celebrity" self to surface when he needed to protect his private self. "The days I wanted to be noticed, wanted some feedback," he informed Smith in the Independent, "I could go out there and kind of exude and I'd get recognized," becoming "Seal, pop star, impervious to everything."

Seal the second was generally greeted with critical raves. "This British neo-soul singer's gift flows from his ability to transform dancefloor tracks into spine-tingling, magical experiences," enthused James Bernard of Entertainment Weekly, who gave the album an "A" grade. Reviewer Hobey Echlin, of Detroit's Metro Times, labeled the effort "Brilliant, subtle, indulgent and sentimental." Thigpen noted that "Seal's husky, expressive voice sounds even richer and more aged; the new record has an almost folky feel, with an undercurrent of melancholy and introspection that wasn't there before."


Realized His Own Accomplishments

But it wasn't so much good reviews as good old fashioned radio airplay that helped the achievement sink in. "Somebody played the single on the radio the other day," Seal related to Smith. "I was speaking to my friend Oswald on the carphone. He said: 'They seem to be playing your record a lot.' I said, rather grumpily: 'Really? Cos I haven't heard it once.' Ironically enough as I said that, it came on the radio. I said: 'Oswald: I'm going to have to call you back.'"

Pulling over to the side of the road, Seal finally appreciated the finished product. "I'd been listening to it as a song and now I wanted to hear this thing that Trevor had always talked about: I wanted to hear the record. It sounded better on the radio than it did on the stereo at home. And the DJ said, 'That was the new one from Sealwell worth waiting for.'" The feeling, he noted, was one he'd felt only occasionally: "almost unquantifiable just this rush."

In 1995, Seal released the single, "Kiss From A Rose," which was featured in the blockbuster hit movie Batman Forever. Joel Schumacher, the music video director for "Kiss From A Rose" talked about Seal in Entertainment Weekly, "He sings with his whole body and his hands and his fingers. He is very sensual." Seal won three Grammy Awards for "Kiss From A Rose," including Record of the Year, in 1995.

Seal then set out to create a third album. "I wanted to make a more raw record," he stated for Time. "Not as produced. I wanted to make sure it was more open, more from the heart." Originally, he signed Horn to produce it. Then, he explored ideas with two other producers, eventually coming back to Horn. "[Seal] got a bit manic with the whole thing," Horn told Time. "He was going through a fair amount of turmoil as we started working. By the end of the record it was like having an old friend back. Taking people, calling them a star, it screws people's heads up. It did change him a bit."

The result was Human Being, released in 1998. Most of the numbers are love songs, but he also explores race issues in "Colours," questioning if there would still be discrimination if there were no race issues.


After Human Being, Seal worked for three and a half years on a follow up album, but was suffering from a creative block. In frustration, he sold his Los Angeles home and moved back to England. "I think I needed to be around the smells, the sounds, the pace, the grind of London," he told People. After eighteen months in London he produced an album that was entirely different from what he had been working on in the United States. Again, he titled it Seal. People reviewer Chuck Arnold praised Seal for remaining "a unique talent, singing about love and longing with a richly textured voice that is at once soothing, sensual and oh-so-soulful."



Selected discography

"Killer" (single), 1990.

Seal, ZTT, 1991.

(Contributor) Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Reprise, 1993.

Seal, ZTT, 1994.

(Contributor) Batman Forever (soundtrack), Atlantic, 1995.

Human Being, Warner Brothers, 1998.

Seal IV, Warner Brothers, 2003.



Sources

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, June 3, 1994; February 16, 1996.

Guitar Player, October 1994.

Independent, May 12, 1994.

Metro Times (Detroit, MI), June 22, 1994.

People, September 15, 2003.

Q, July 1994.

Rolling Stone, November 28, 1991; August 25, 1994.

Time, November 16, 1998.


Online

Recording Academy Grammy Awards, http://www.grammy.com (January 27, 2004).


Simon Glickman and Sarah Parkin

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SEAL

SEAL / sēl/ • n. a member of an elite force within the U.S. Navy specializing in guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency.

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seal

seal1 / sēl/ • n. 1. a device or substance that is used to join two things together so as to prevent them from coming apart or to prevent anything from passing between them: blue smoke from the exhaust suggests worn valve seals. ∎  [in sing.] the state or fact of being joined or rendered impervious by such a substance or device: many fittings have tapered threads for a better seal. ∎  the water standing in the trap of a drain to prevent sewer gas from backing up through the drain, considered in terms of its depth. 2. a piece of wax, lead, or other material with an individual design stamped into it, attached to a document to show that it has come from the person who claims to have issued it. ∎  a design embossed in paper for this purpose. ∎  an engraved device used for stamping a design that authenticates a document. ∎ fig. a thing regarded as a confirmation or guarantee of something: the International Monetary Fund is likely to give a seal of approval to the Mexican plan. ∎  a decorative adhesive stamp. ∎  (the seal) (also the seal of confession or the seal of the confessional) the obligation on a priest not to divulge anything said during confession: I was told under the seal. • v. [tr.] fasten or close securely: he folded it, sealed the envelope, and walked to the mailbox. ∎  (seal something in) prevent something from escaping by closing a container or opening. ∎  (seal something off) isolate an area by preventing or monitoring entrance to and exit from it: anti-terrorist squad officers sealed off the area to search for possible bombs. ∎  apply a nonporous coating to (a surface) to make it impervious: seal the finish with a satin varnish. ∎  fry (food) briefly in hot fat to prevent it from losing too much of its moisture during subsequent cooking: heat the oil and seal the lamb on both sides. ∎  fix a piece of wax or lead stamped with a design to (a document) to authenticate it. ∎  conclude, establish, or secure (something) definitively, excluding the possibility of reversal or loss: to seal the deal he offered Thornton a place on the board of the nascent company. ∎  (in the Mormon church) mark (a marriage or adoption) as eternally binding in a formal ceremony. PHRASES: my (or his, etc.) lips are sealed used to convey that one will not discuss or reveal something. put (or set) the seal on give the final authorization to: the UN envoy hopes to set the seal on a lasting peace. ∎  provide or constitute the final confirmatory or conclusive factor: the rain set the seal on his depression. seal someone's fatesee fate. set (or put) one's seal to (or on) mark with one's distinctive character: it was the Stewart dynasty which most markedly set its seal on the place. under seal under legal protection of secrecy: the judge ordered that the videotape be kept under seal.DERIVATIVES: seal·a·ble adj. seal2 • n. a fish-eating aquatic mammal with a streamlined body and feet developed as flippers, returning to land to breed or rest. Two families: Phocidae (the true seals) and Otariidae (the eared seals, including the fur seals and sea lions). ∎ another term for sealskin. • v. [intr.] [usu. as n.] (sealing) hunt for seals.

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Seal

SEAL

Ancient seal devices were frequently used throughout the ancient Near East. The Israelites were acquainted with the usage of seals by other peoples (Gn 41.42; Est3.12; Dn 6.17), but they also used them from earliest times, the first recorded incident being preserved in the clan saga of Judah where the patriarch surrendered his signet and cord, probably a cylinder seal, to Tamar (Gn 38.18). Probably every free citizen owned a seal bearing his name and emblem.

The seal was used to authenticate or ratify legal, commercial, or official documents. In an age when the art of writing was in the hands of a special class of scribes, such documents had to be certified. The seal established rights and fixed responsibility. A Mesopotamian could simply roll his cylinder seal across a clay tablet, thereby authenticating its contents. If his seal depicted his gods, he would also be placing the document under their protection. In areas where papyrus or leather was used as writing material, the owner could impress his stamp seal into the lump of clay that had been pressed on the string holding the rolled or folded document, or he could use ink and stamp the document itself. Thus Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his ring" (1 Kgs 21.8), Jeremiah sealed the deed for the field he bought from Hanamel (Jer 32.10, 44), and Isaiah had a cylinder seal made for his future son (Is 8.12).

Besides authenticating a document, the seal often was used as a means of security. Thus sealed documents could be opened only by authorized persons. Closed doors were sealed by stretching a rope over the stone blocking the entrance and then impressing a seal into the lump of wax or clay affixed to the rope. Isaiah, for example, entrusted a sealed oracle to his disciples (Is 8.16). Only the proper person might open the scroll sealed with seven seals in Rv 5.2, 5, 9. The lion's den was sealed shut

to keep unauthorized persons out in Dn 6.17, and the tomb of Christ was sealed to prevent the disciples from stealing the body (Mt 27.66).

Finally, in some areas, seals, especially scarab seals, lost all significance and were worn by women and children as decorative amulets. On the other hand, the mere possession of a seal could be regarded as a badge of delegated authority. Examples are found in Gn 41.42; Est3.10; and 1 Mc 6.15. The word for seal was used frequently in the Bible in a metaphorical sense, the general signification being that of authentication, ratification, or security (Sg 8.6; Dt 32.34; Rom 4.11).

Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, translated and adapted by l. hartman (New York, 1963) 214751. j. hastings and j. a. selbia, eds., Dictionary of the Bible, 5 v. (Edinburgh 1963) 892893. o. tufnell, Interpreters' Dictionary of the Bible, 4 v. (Nashville 1962) 4:254259. a. g. barrois, Manuel d'archéologie biblique v.2 (Paris 1953). d. diringer, Le iscrizioni antico-ebraiche palestinesi (Florence 1934); "The Royal Jar-Handle Stamps of Ancient Judah," The Biblical Archaeologist (New Haven 1938) 12 (1949) 7086. p. w. lapp, "Late Royal Seals from Judah," The Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 158 (1960) 1122.

[t. h. weber]

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