After experiencing love from his fans, Seal realized the kind of affection he deserved growing up.
During a two-part interview on the Think About It podcast, the musician opens up about the love he wishes he received from his family growing up — and how it's affected him in the long run.
"I'm the luckiest person on the planet. I can ... I wake up every day and I go, 'Oh, my God, I cannot believe how fortunate I am in my life,' you know, that I get to do the thing that I love, the thing that I would do anyway, but I get to do it for a living," Seal, 59, told host and tennis star Victoria Azarenka.
He continues, "And guess what? People tell me they like it. I mean, that is phenomenal. It's like the love that I always wanted from my parents. The love that I wanted my father to show me. The kind of putting his arm around me and telling me, 'You know, Seal, you did a great job.' Like, I never got that from my father, even on his deathbed."
Over time, however, Seal — whose real name is Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel — learned that love from his fans.
"But every time I get a compliment from a fan or from someone, that is like that proverbial hand around my shoulder, telling me, 'You did well.' That is my drive," the "Stand By Me" singer said. "But it only works if I am authentic, and if it initiated from me, for me. The fact that some other people happen to like it is a wonderful by-product."
The full episode is available now on multiple domestic and international Tennis Channel platforms, along with streaming platforms like Spotify, ITunes Google Podcasts and TuneIn.
Back for its second season, Azarenka interviews experts in health, fitness and various personalities outside the tennis world, including Seal, former NFL star Brandon Marshall, martial arts master and child development expert Melody Johnson and more.
Johnny Louis/Getty Seal
During the interview, Seal also reminisced on the first time he sang publicly and the emotions that came with it.
"I'll emphasize that my parents had never heard me sing. They didn't even know I could sing. But anyway, they were in the audience," he recounted. "I was so afraid and I kind of dragged my feet onto the stage, and I remember walking onto the stage, looking out at all of the parents and teachers in the audience, my parents included. And it being the scariest, loneliest place, and I just wanted the stage to open up and swallow me, and I just wanted to disappear."
He continued, "And I remember being so afraid, and closing my eyes and getting through this song and being lost in it, and finishing it. And it was like, one of those scenes in the movie, where you could hear a pin drop. And at the end of it, everyone clapped, and I opened my eyes and my parents are like, they'd never seen anything like that."
"That place that was the scariest place in the world for me to be [in], [and] all of a sudden, [it] became home, it became the warmest place," he concluded. "Because of the adoration and the love and the acknowledgment, that thing of being seen, I felt something at that point."