Mr. Klum (Seal) takes Tampa stage

By Sean Daly
Published May 24, 2007

Before he married Heidi Klum, before he became the patron saint of soccer moms, before he made music perfect for candle shops, Seal was a cool underdog, a pop star worth your rooting interest.

In 1991, during his rookie year, the 6-foot-4 Brit (of Nigerian-Brazilian descent) excelled at spacey, funky dance music with a resounding soulful message, a remedy to the vapid fun of the '80s. With his curious name (born Sealhenry Samuel) and different look (facial scarring caused by a childhood battle with discoid lupus), Seal was utterly, fantastically different, cranking out some of the best pop singles of the '90s: Crazy, Killer, Future Love Paradise, even Bring It On.

Although 2004's Seal IV had a few bright moments, Seal has never matched the mystique of his early days, instead resorting to music that is pleasant and nothing more. (Perhaps wedding a supermodel can make a man complacent?) But there's a heck of a performer lurking inside the tall, muscular Seal, and if he can tap into the magic of his younger days, Saturday's show could have surprising oomph.

Seal performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Morsani Hall at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa. $55-$75. (813) 229-7827.