Seal shares the story behind 'Kiss from a Rose': The hit that almost never was

Can you imagine the 90s without it?
Photo credit Sarah Morris/Getty Images

Singer Seal and his longtime producer Trevor Horn sat down for the Song Exploder podcast to dive into their decade-defining hit, “Kiss from a Rose.”

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First released in 1994, “Kiss from a Rose” wasn’t an instantaneous hit. Rather, its feature in Tim Burton’s Batman Forever launched the song into the mainstream, and the top ten charts globally. The single swept the 1996 GRAMMYs, awarding Seal 3 of his 4 GRAMMY wins, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Audiences loved it - and who could ever forget that cascading introduction of ‘ba-da-das’ and Seal’s isolated, echoing vocals? Yet in the latest Song Exploder podcast, Seal and his producer revealed “Kiss from a Rose” was far from an easy and quick hit.

“I could play an instrument at the time, so I tried to imagine what an orchestra would do… And I remember kind of, listening to the tape and kind of, tossed the tape to one side because I wasn’t particularly proud of it,” Seal said.

The song was long disregarded, until Seal landed a record deal with Trevor Horn. With the encouragement of Horn’s wife, Seal begrudgingly brought the song back. “I loved it, you’re kidding!” Horn exclaimed, describing the first time he’d heard Seal’s demo. “I didn’t quite know how to do the song, but then I thought probably the best thing is to keep it straight, rather than try to get clever with any techno stuff on it.”

As the two reminisce and dive into each step of creating the song, they reveal not only why “Kiss from a Rose” was a smash-hit, but how it remains so ear-catching decades later. To hear more about the building of “Kiss from a Rose,” check out Seal’s episode on Song Explorer above, free on the Audacy App.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sarah Morris/Getty Images