By Michael P Coleman

International superstar Seal burst onto the national scene in 1991, racking up a dozen or so hits, selling over 30 million records, and establishing himself as pop music’s next big thing.

Somehow, I was relatively late to that party.  I always loved Seal’s voice, but I didn’t really “hear” him until a decade or so ago when he recorded the first of a pair of impeccable collections of soul music covers.  I think I was just waiting for him to sing something that was worthy of his gift. 

With his new Standards collection, Seal has done just that, and in doing so he has recorded the best album of his career.  He’s taken 14 songs that have been covered to death — like “Smile,” “My Funny Valentine,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and ”They Can’t Take That Away From Me” — and placed his unique stamp on them. 

seal twoSeal taken one tune, Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady,” and put some swing in it that I honestly didn’t know Seal had.  He may have stolen that one from Ol’ Blue Eyes.  Contrastingly, Seal’s plaintive version of Nat “King” Cole’s “Autumn Leaves” prompted a tear, as I watched the fall breeze coax the copper leaves off of a maple tree. 

The legend sounds as if he’s been singing these songs forever.   As it turns out, he has.   

“This is the album I have always wanted to make,” Seal said.  “I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifetime dream. It was a true honor to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favorite artists, in the very same studio where the magic was first made.”

The deluxe edition of Standards includes a couple of charming holiday chestnuts, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “The Christmas Song.”  To be blunt, it takes some holiday chutzpah to record that latter tune, and Seal’s gorgeous version had me reaching for the egg nog.  While many artists have fallen flat on their faces trying to record songs from the Great American Songbook, Seal absolutely shines on Standards

It’s entirely possible that Seal’s fans will get to hear those songs and the rest of Standards live, as he will be performing with the San Francisco Symphony on November 30th.  At press time, it’s the only stateside show on Seal’s schedule, and it’s certain to be one of the highlights of northern California’s holiday season. 

Seal’s new Standards album is available at iTunes and all digital outlets. 


Connect with Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman at or on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP. 


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