The Little-Known Meaning Behind Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" Sunday November 26 2023, 10:15 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
The Little-Known Meaning Behind Seal's "Kiss From A Rose"

Kiss From A Rose Meaning

Seal wrote "Kiss from a Rose" which is most known for its feature on the soundtrack of the 1995 film "Batman Forever," and oddly enough, he's said he's embarrassed by it as he looks back.

We all have heard and fallen in love with this emotional hit, but what is it about, and what's got Seal so disappointed in his songwriting skills here? The song's dark and romantic quality complemented the movie's atmosphere.

The song became a massive hit and won three Grammy Awards in 1996, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Sounds like something to be proud of to me!

As I dove into the lyrics, Seal's opinion, and different interpretations of the song, I believe the song's meaning and story obviously come together, and I can only think of one reason it could bring him shame. 

The Story Behind The Songwriting

After writing it, Seal experienced feelings of embarrassment and casually discarded the tape he recorded on, leaving it in a corner.

It wasn't until the recording sessions for Seal II that Seal finally presented the song to producer Trevor Horn. Reflecting on the song in 2015, Seal said in an interview:

"To be honest, I was never really that proud of it, though I like what Trevor did with the recording. He turned that tape from my corner into another 8 million record sales, and my name became a household name."

The meaning of "Kiss from a Rose" has been subject to interpretation, and Seal has been somewhat elusive about providing a definitive explanation.


However, the lyrics suggest a complex and metaphorical exploration of love, combining elements of beauty, passion, and pain.

One thing for sure that he explained in an interview was that "some kind of relationship that inspired the lyrics."

What I think happened here is that Seal made a great, although cheesy, love song that he felt was a bit too cheesy, and it's also the type of performance that has so much emotion and poetry in the lyrics that listeners will come up with their own interpretations for. 

He told an interviewer:

"The song is always larger in the listener's mind because with it, they attach imagery which is relative to their own personal experience. So it is your perception of what I'm saying rather than what I actually way that is the key."

To further drive Seal's frustration with the fact that this love song was unique, it had an interesting response from fans after its initial release in 1994. I thought it was too flowery and that it didn't fit," Seal told The Guardian.

Seal detailed the initial drop of the song from the charts shortly after its release.

Following this, Joel Schumacher reached out to him, asking for permission to use the song in a love scene featuring characters portrayed by Nicole Kidman and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever.

It seems like this fairytale-like ballad just needed to find a good place for its marketing in order to be really appreciated, which it turned out to be years later after chart and award success. 

Related Post: The Emotional Meaning Of Keane's Somewhere Only We Know

Lyrical Breakdowns Of "Kiss From A Rose"

There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea
And you became the light on the dark side of me

Seal is singing about how he used to be like a greying tower, alone and without the vibrancy of color before the love of his life entered his world as a light. 

But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and
The light that you shine can't be seen?

This is a line where people get the feeling that there is a comparison to drugs, but I think he is simply speaking of how he gets anxious and wide-eyed in some moments when they are together, causing him to experience pain. 

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you, stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

Seal suggests that the more he experiences or gets to know his partner, the more mysterious or unfamiliar the feelings become. There are some poetic complexities that can be interpreted in many ways here. 

The mention of "a light hits the gloom on the grey" indicates that the presence of this love brings illumination and brightness to what was once a more somber or dull existence.

There is so much a man can tell you
So much he can say
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me, you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny
Won't you tell me, is that healthy, baby?


It's almost like the newness and unsureness that Seal's character is experiencing is a first love, and that's why the song is so mysterious and complex at the same time. He's going through all the pain, the pleasure, and the emotions that love brings.

In all this newness, he's even asking if this intoxicating addiction he feels is normal, wondering if it's healthy. It's a very vulnerable moment in love. 

Different Interpretations Of "Kiss From A Rose"

Many people don't even realize that the song says "Kiss from a rose on the grey" and not "Kiss from a rose on the grave." 

If that's you, don't worry; you're not alone. It's that type of song that's sweet and poetic, but you may not feel like digging deep enough to know what the heck he's singing about. 

Some listeners interpret the lyrics as a reflection of Seal's personal struggles with addiction. The rose could symbolize the allure and challenges of substances, and the lyrics may express the internal conflict associated with addiction.

The lyrics, with their mystical and poetic quality, have led some to interpret the song as an exploration of a higher, spiritual form of love. The kiss from a rose could be seen as a transcendent experience or connection.

The song's emotional depth and Seal's soulful delivery allow listeners to connect with it on a personal level. Some interpret the lyrics based on their own experiences, finding resonance with themes of passion, longing, and heartache.

It may be cheesy, but some cheesy things are still great! 

Related Post: The Meaning Behind America's "A Horse With No Name"

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

Check Out My Latest Single Release Below:

You May Also Like