Seal has been ordered by a British court to pay a former manager commissions on earnings from his first two albums.
John Wadlow claimed he was entitled to unpaid commissions due under a 1995 agreement. Both of the albums in question were recorded before that date.
On Thursday, Justice Charles Gray ordered Seal, whose real name is Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, to make an interim payment of $922,000. The full amount to be paid to Wadlow will be decided at a future court hearing.
Ian Mill, Wadlow’s lawyer, had told the court that Wadlow and Seal met in 1987 when Wadlow was a partner in a recording studio.
“At this point Seal was an undiscovered singer and songwriter and had not attracted any interest from record companies or publishers,” Mill said.
Seal released albums in 1991 and 1994, which both topped the British charts, before a management and publishing agreement was signed in March 1995.
His lawyers argued that no commissions were owed on the first two albums either under the 1995 agreement or a 1990 management agreement.
Though the judge ruled against Seal, he said the 43-year-old singer’s testimony had been “an honest attempt on his part to recollect events, most of which took place long ago.”
“He has now come to feel strongly — and, I believe, genuinely — that Mr. Wadlow, someone whom he once regarded as his mentor and, as he put it, a father figure, has betrayed him, in particular by ‘emotionally coercing’ him into the settlement agreement,” the judge said.