Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” Lyrics Meaning

Those who are familiar with “Kiss from a Rose” know that the lyrics are highly-symbolic and not the easiest to decipher. As such, widely-accepted interpretations of this song vary and are for the most part unrelated. This is partially because the writer and songwriter himself, Seal, has refused to state outright the inspiration behind this song. Instead of explaining the true meaning of the lyrics, he has constantly ambiguously stated that it is based on “some kind of relationship”

In fact for years he forsook “Kiss from a Rose” altogether. This may be due the fact that he wrote it during the pre-fame era of his life, when he was living in London under apparently economically-challenging conditions. As such, he encourages listeners to derive their own meaning from the track.

In other words, he believes that what the listener perceives through the lyrics is more-important than what he was actually referring to when he wrote them.

What do we think about this song?

Judging from the profoundness of the song’s lyrics, we have no doubts that the song was indeed inspired by a relationship Seal was in. Whoever he was in this relationship with must have meant so much to him at the time he wrote this song. Why do we say so? The sheer depth and overpowering nature of the lyrics show how special this person was to him.

And what really does Seal mean when he says the following: “I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray”?

We all know that roses naturally grow and blossom in warm climates. It will therefore be a very rare sight to see one exist on the gray (winter/snow/frozen wilderness). Seal is apparently comparing the rarity of a blossoming rose in the gray and it’s ability to kiss to his lover. Such is how extraordinarily special she is to him.

Lyrics of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose"

“Kiss from a Rose”

  • Seal authored this track all by himself. He penned this tune in 1987, many years before it finally came out in July 1994.
  • Record producers Richard Lowe and Trevor Horn were responsible for the production of “Kiss from a Rose”.
  • This classic appeared on Seal’s 2nd studio album Seal (Seal II). Furthermore, it also appeared on his 2004 compilation album entitled Best 1991-2004.
  • According to Seal, “some kind of relationship” was the inspiration behind the mysterious lyrics on this song.
  • “Kiss from a Rose” has been used in multiple movies and TV series. Most notably, it featured on the end credits of the 1995 movie Batman Forever. It also appeared on the 2015 movie Vacation.
  • The track’s original music clip was jointly directed by William Levin and Matthew Rolston. Joel Schumacher was in charge of directing the later version of this song’s video.
  • At the 1995 MTV Movie Awards, “Kiss from a Rose” was judged the Best Video from a Film.
  • American singer Chris Brown sampled parts of this track on his 2017 song named, “Nowhere”. The classic was also sampled in “Auditions” by Sing cast, in 2016.
  • In Australia and in the UK, the single earned a Platinum certification. It got Gold certification in the USA, Norway and in France.
Seal performing “Kiss from a Rose” live at the studios of SiriusXM in 2017.

How did “Kiss from a Rose” perform on the charts?

The single was a global chart-topper. In 1995, it made it to No.1 on the Australian charts, U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40, and Mainstream Top 40 charts. It was No. 2 in Canada and No. 4 on the UK Singles chart.

Which artists have covered “Kiss from a Rose”?

The song has been a subject of several cover versions performed by numerous singers, such as: John Williams (1996), 12 Stones (2012), April Divine (2010), Katherine Jenkins (2007), and No Fair Fights (2014).

Did “Kiss from a Rose” win a Grammy Award?

In 1996, “Kiss from a Rose” received earned Seal 3 Grammy Awards. He won in the following categories:

  • Song of the Year
  • Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
  • Record of the Year

5 Responses

  1. Doug Taylor says:

    Grey = Dismal, Gloomy: lacking cheer or brightness in mood, outlook, style, or flavor (“gloom on the grey”) Hence… “Baby I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey,… ooo, 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.” Basically I think the lyrics mean… a not so thrilling affair (maybe as thought to be love but not in reality) leaving a lot to be desired.

  2. Ray says:

    He probably can’t explain the meaning himself. To me it’s just words put together to make a song. That’s why he can’t explain it himself and never will.
    Much like America’s “Horse with no name” – another nonsense song.

  3. Gary says:

    This song is clearly about drug addiction, probably “coke” (snow). However, the singer meets a girl who can replace his drug craving (gray) for craving her love (light), but he feels it is probably unhealthy to replace one addiction (“coke”) for another (love).

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s about his love for Satan. “The light hits the gloom on the grey”, the earth was void and without form before Elohim (angels(fallen)) formed the firmament. In their eyes, lucifer’s fall was the ultimate sacrifice that granted them freedom to sin, Satan (the light bearer) took what once was desolate and created beauty. Please read your bibles, this stuff is very clear to those who have ears to hear! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light!! The enemy is very deceptive, this world is darker than anyone wants to believe! 🙏🏼

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