Leona Louise Lewis (born 3 April 1985) is a British singer, songwriter, actress, model and activist. She was born and raised in the London Borough of Islington in London, where she attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Lewis achieved national recognition when she won the third series of The X Factor in 2006, winning a £1 million recording contract with Simon Cowell's record label, Syco Music. Her winner's single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This", peaked at number one for four weeks on the UK Singles Chart and it broke a world record for reaching 50,000 digital downloads within 30 minutes. In February 2007, Lewis signed a five-album contract in the United States with Clive Davis's record label, J Records.
Lewis at the 2014 Mercy For Animals charity event, in Los Angeles
Leona Louise Lewis
3 April 1985
|Residence||Hackney, London, England and Hidden Hills, California, US|
|Net worth||US$30 million (April 2018)|
Dennis Jauch (m. 2019)
Lewis's success continued with the release of her debut album, Spirit, in 2007; it was certified 10× platinum in the United Kingdom and became the fourth best-selling album of the 2000s. It is one of the best-selling albums in UK chart history. In the US, Lewis became the first UK solo artist to debut at number one with a debut album, with Spirit. The lead single, "Bleeding Love", spent seven weeks at number one in the UK where it became the best-selling single of 2007. She achieved international recognition with the album in 2008 when it topped charts around the world. Spirit has sold more than eight million copies worldwide, and "Bleeding Love" peaked at number one in over 30 countries, including the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming the best-selling single of 2008. As a result, she was proclaimed Top New Artist by Billboard in 2008. Under the guidance of Cowell and Davis, Lewis released her second UK number-one album Echo and recorded the theme song for the film Avatar in 2009. She embarked on her first UK arena tour, The Labyrinth, in 2010.
In 2011, Lewis released the non-album single "Collide", a collaboration with Swedish DJ Avicii, and her first extended play, Hurt: The EP. Her third album, Glassheart, was released in 2012. It marked a new creative direction for Lewis, drawing inspiration from dubstep and electronic music. However, it failed to match the commercial performance of her two previous albums, peaking at number three in the UK and becoming her first to not be certified platinum. Lewis began to record material for her first Christmas album during her Glassheart Tour, which took place in mid 2013. Christmas, with Love was released later that year. Its lead single, "One More Sleep", peaked at number three in the UK. With this chart entry, Lewis became the first British female solo artist to reach the top five with eight singles, surpassing Olivia Newton-John's record of seven.
In 2014, Lewis made her film debut in the supporting role of Elena in the romantic comedy musical, Walking on Sunshine. Her fourth studio album, I Am, was released the following year. In 2016, Lewis made her Broadway debut as Grizabella in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats. A year later, she signed a modelling contract with Wilhelmina Models. She then collaborated with Calum Scott on the single "You Are The Reason" (2018) which achieved chart success, and had a recurring role in the American television series The Oath (2019).
As of 2015, Lewis is the second best-selling act from The X Factor franchise in the UK, behind One Direction, having sold over 30 million records worldwide. The OCC recognises Lewis as the most successful winner from the UK's The X Factor. Lewis has won two MOBO Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award, and two World Music Awards. She is also a six-time Brit Award and three-time Grammy Award nominee. Lewis is known for her expansive four-octave vocal range, power, technical control and, in particular, her frequent use of the falsetto register. Aside from her musical career, Lewis is a philanthropist and an animal welfare campaigner for World Animal Protection and is a supporter of other animal rights charities and organisations; she is also vegan.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 2001–2005: Struggles and setbacks
- 2.2 2006: The X Factor and debut single
- 2.3 2007–2008: Spirit and international breakthrough
- 2.4 2009–2010: Echo and The Labyrinth
- 2.5 2011–2013: Hurt, Glassheart, and Christmas, with Love
- 2.6 2014–2015: Walking on Sunshine and I Am
- 2.7 2016–present: Broadway debut, collaborations, modelling and television
- 3 Artistry
- 4 Activism and other activities
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Theatre credits
- 8 Discography
- 9 Tours
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Leona Louise Lewis was born on 3 April 1985, in Islington, London, England, to a Welsh mother and a father of Guyanese descent. She has an older half-brother, Bradley, and a younger brother, Kyle. Noticing Lewis's passion for singing, her parents enrolled her at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and later at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, the Ravenscourt Theatre School and the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology until they could no longer afford to do so, making cutbacks when necessary to help their daughter achieve her aspiration of being a singer.
2001–2005: Struggles and setbacksEdit
At the age of 17, Lewis decided to leave BRIT School to "get out there" and pursue a career in music. By then, she had already begun to write and record her own material, and she worked as a receptionist at a solicitor's office and as a Pizza Hut waitress in order to fund the studio sessions. At 18, Lewis secured a lead role in The Lion King theatre show in Paris; however, she withdrew after injuring her back while she was ice-skating.
Lewis recorded a demo album, called Twilight, in collaboration with Spiral Music, a production company based in Fulham, but it failed to secure her an album deal with any record companies. Although the album was never released commercially, Lewis performed a couple of the tracks live on BBC Radio 1 music station in 2004. Another demo album was recorded under license from UEG Entertainment, Best Kept Secret, which have reportedly claimed to have spent £70,000 trying to launch Lewis's career with no success. A track from the album, "Private Party", became a hit on the underground urban music scene in London in 2005. Speaking about her struggle to secure a record contract, Lewis said, "I tried to secure a record deal by doing things my own way. I worked very hard but I never managed to land a contract. That's why I decided to audition for The X Factor. It's programmes like these which provide the best place to showcase fresh new talent."
2006: The X Factor and debut singleEdit
Lewis auditioned for the third series of The X Factor in 2006, singing "Over the Rainbow" for judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and guest judge Paula Abdul. She was placed in the 16-24 category, with Cowell as her mentor. Throughout the course of the show, Lewis was compared with artists such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, performing songs by all three of them. Lewis defeated Ray Quinn to win the competition on 16 December 2006, receiving 60% of over eight million televotes cast in the final. As a prize for winning, Lewis signed a £1 million recording contract with Cowell's record label, Syco Music. Upon winning, Lewis said:
I'm just shocked. It's unbelievable. I feel like my dream has come true, the dream I've been dreaming since a little girl has come true. There were points I thought, 'You know what, I don't know if this is going to happen'. But with the help from my friends and my family, they all kept telling me to believe in myself and keep on doing it and I did and now I'm here and thank you so much to them.
Lewis's winner's single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's song "A Moment Like This", was released on 17 December 2006. In the United Kingdom, it broke a world record after being digitally downloaded more than 50,000 times in less than 30 minutes. The song became the 2006 UK Christmas number-one single, selling 571,000 copies in its first week and selling more than the Top-40 combined. It spent four consecutive weeks atop the UK Singles Chart and was number one in Ireland for six weeks. Despite being released on 17 December, "A Moment Like This" became the second best selling single in the United Kingdom in 2006, and it has been certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments of over 600,000 copies. As of December 2014, Lewis's version has sold 900,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
2007–2008: Spirit and international breakthroughEdit
In February 2007, Lewis signed a £5 million (US$9.7 million) five-album contract in the United States with Clive Davis's record label, J Records, and showcased for several American music executives. A press release described how Cowell and Davis would work together in a "first-of-its-kind" partnership on both the song and producer selection for Lewis's debut album, Spirit. Lewis recorded tracks for the album in London, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta, where she worked with several songwriters and record producers including Dallas Austin, Walter Afanasieff, Salaam Remi, Steve Mac, Stargate and Ne-Yo. It was released in November 2007 and entered both the Irish Albums Chart and the UK Albums Chart at number one, becoming the fastest-selling debut album in both countries, and the United Kingdom's fourth fastest selling album of all time. It was released in several other nations in January 2008, and it went to number one in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Two more tracks were recorded in 2008 for the US release of the album: "Forgive Me", produced by Akon, and "Misses Glass", produced by Madd Scientist. It was released in the United States in April 2008 and entered the Billboard 200 at number one, making Lewis the first British artist to reach number one with a debut album. A special edition of Spirit was re-released in November 2008 in Europe, including the songs "Forgive Me", "Misses Glass" and a cover of the Snow Patrol song "Run". The album again went to number one in the UK Albums Chart. The album has sold over 9 million copies worldwide and has a 9× platinum certification in the UK where it is the fourth best-selling album of the 2000s decade.
Lewis's second single, "Bleeding Love", produced by Ryan Tedder and written by Tedder and Jesse McCartney, was released in October 2007 in the UK, where it sold 218,805 copies in its first week, giving it the biggest first-week sales of 2007 to date. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number one, where it stayed for seven weeks, and in the Irish Singles Chart, it remained at number one for eight weeks. It reached number one in the singles charts of New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Canada and the United States. "Bleeding Love" won The Record of the Year in December 2007. In February 2008, "Bleeding Love" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 85 and then went on to peak at number one for four non-consecutive weeks. The song became the first track by a UK female to reach number one since Kim Wilde's "You Keep Me Hangin' On" in 1987. Lewis's third single, a double A-side featuring "Better in Time" and "Footprints in the Sand", was released in the United Kingdom in March 2008, in aid of Sport Relief, and she visited South Africa for the charity. The single reached a peak of number two in the UK singles chart selling over 40,000 copies in its first week of physical release. "Better in Time" was released as Lewis's second single in the US, where it peaked at number 11 in the Billboard Hot 100. "Forgive Me" was released as Lewis's fifth single in November 2008; it reached number five in the UK. "Run" was released as a download-only single in the UK, reaching number one and becoming the UK's fastest-selling download-only single, with 69,244 copies sold in two days. Lewis's last single from Spirit, "I Will Be", was released in January 2009, only in North America.
In August 2008, Lewis performed "Whole Lotta Love" with guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing, representing the handover to London as the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics. In September 2008, she joined several female singers to perform a single for the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer. The single,"Just Stand Up!", was performed live during the one-hour telethon that aired on all major US television networks. Lewis received three nominations for the 51st Grammy Awards in December 2008. "Bleeding Love" was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Spirit was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album. She was nominated for four BRIT Awards: or British Female Solo Artist, British Breakthrough Act, British Album for Spirit, and British Single for "Bleeding Love", but despite being the favourite to win the most awards, she received none. She won two awards at the 2008 MOBO Awards: Best Album for Spirit and Best Video for "Bleeding Love". In December 2008 Lewis was named 'Top New Artist' by Billboard magazine.
2009–2010: Echo and The LabyrinthEdit
Lewis's second album, Echo, was given a worldwide release in November 2009. Production took place throughout 2009, including work with Ryan Tedder, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Arnthor Birgisson, Kevin Rudolf, and John Shanks. It was recorded in Los Angeles and took nine months to produce. Lewis described the album as "more guitar-driven" compared to Spirit. Lewis performed her first full UK show at the Hackney Empire in London on 2 November 2009, performing songs from Spirit and Echo. Echo reached number one in the UK Albums Chart and the top ten of Austria, Ireland and Switzerland. Despite previous attempts from Lewis's lawyers to ban the release of Best Kept Secret by UEG Music, claiming that the singer had not given her consent, the album was released in January 2009, when the label insisted it owned the rights to the music and Lewis would receive a 50% share of the album's profits. However, a television advert for the album was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, who said in a statement: "We considered that the claim 'Leona Lewis's new album' misleadingly implied it was the singer's latest recording rather than a new CD of tracks recorded some years ago." The album was released to iTunes in standard and deluxe editions, and two EPs, "Private Party" and "Dip Down"/"Joy", were released in September 2009.
The first single released from Echo was "Happy", which was written by Lewis, Tedder and Evan Bogart and produced by Tedder. The single was released on 15 September 2009, peaking at number two in the UK, and reaching the top ten in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Switzerland. Lewis also recorded the theme song for the 2009 science fiction film Avatar, directed by James Cameron. The song, "I See You", was written by James Horner and Simon Franglen. It was nominated for Best Original Song at the 67th Golden Globe Awards. Another usage of Lewis' album can be found in "My Hands", which was used in the international release of the Square Enix video game Final Fantasy XIII. In January 2010, Lewis provided vocals on a cover of "Everybody Hurts", released to help raise money for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The second single from Echo, "I Got You", was released in February 2010. In April 2010, she featured on a duet with Italian singer Biagio Antonacci, called "Inaspettata (Unexpected)", from his album Inaspettata. They performed the song on the Italian TV show Io Canto on 22 October 2010. Lewis performed a 13-piece set list at the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal, on 22 May 2010, including songs from Spirit and Echo.
Lewis signed a book deal in January 2009 to release an illustrated autobiography in October 2009. The book, Dreams, contains mostly pictures taken by photographer Dean Freeman. At a book signing for Dreams on 14 October 2009, at the Piccadilly branch of Waterstone's book store in central London, Lewis was assaulted by a 29-year-old man from south London who began punching her in the head. He was arrested at the scene; The assailant was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 2007 and was charged with common assault. He admitted to the offence and was hospitalised for an indeterminate period.
Lewis's first tour, titled The Labyrinth supporting Spirit and Echo, started in May 2010, with a theme based on the film Labyrinth. Lewis was scheduled to tour North America from July to August 2010 supporting Christina Aguilera's Bionic Tour, but Aguilera cancelled the tour, leaving Lewis's plans unknown. A DVD of the tour, along with a ten-track CD, was released with the title The Labyrinth Tour Live from The O2 on 29 November 2010.
2011–2013: Hurt, Glassheart, and Christmas, with LoveEdit
Lewis began work on her third album, Glassheart, shortly after she had completed The Labyrinth tour. Though originally announced to be released on 28 November 2011 in the UK, it was eventually released in October 2012. The album was released on the RCA Records brand after RCA Music Group disbanded J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. Reports suggested that the album had taken a dubstep direction, with songwriters asked to submit dance songs and no ballads. Lewis described Glassheart as "energetic, deep, [and] unique" and said it would have a darker tone. She cited Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears as the album's primary influences. For the album, Lewis worked with numerous writers and producers including Ammo, Jonas Quant, Chuck Harmony, Claude Kelly, Ryan Tedder, Fraser T Smith, Al Shux, Steve Robson, Dallas Austin, Rico Love and Ne-Yo.
Lewis released a single, the dance-pop song "Collide", written by Autumn Rowe and produced by Sandy Vee, in the UK on 4 September 2011 and Germany on 9 September 2011. It debuted on the official UK top 40 singles chart at number 4. Furthermore, Collide charted at number one on the Dance Club Songs (Billboard) in the US, with the Afrojack remix nominated for Best Remixed Recording at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Lewis released an EP on 9 December 2011, Hurt: The EP, containing three covers. Lewis went on to perform on the American version of X Factor, and as the featured performer for the closing of the 2011 Doha Film Festival, where she sang ten songs, including several cover versions. In June 2012, she performed at BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend 2012 after being announced on 25 May 2011 as an ambassador for the event. It was the BBC's biggest ever free-ticketed live music event. Following the announcement that Lewis would be an ambassador, she performed a special Live Lounge at the Hackney Empire, with a reggae version of "Better in Time", which incorporated Rihanna's "Man Down", and a cover of Labrinth's "Let the Sun Shine". At the Hackney Weekend, Lewis performed further cover versions and debuted the song "Come Alive" from Glassheart.
In August 2012, Lewis announced that the lead single from Glassheart would be "Trouble", released on 7 October 2012. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number seven. The album debuted at number three in the UK and at number four in Ireland, respectively. The second single, "Lovebird", failed to reach the UK top 200 in the absence of radio support. Lewis embarked on a 16-date tour in the UK beginning in April 2013.
In February 2013, Lewis left her management, Modest! Management. It was announced that she would begin work on her fourth studio album, which would be released later in the year. In July 2013, Lewis revealed that her new studio album would be a "Motown-influenced" Christmas collection, with both classic covers and original material. The album, Christmas, with Love, was released on 2 December 2013 and the lead single, "One More Sleep", was released on 5 November 2013. Lewis performed the song on the semi-final of the tenth series of The X Factor on 8 December 2013. The same day, "One More Sleep" debuted at number 34 on the UK Singles Chart with Christmas, with Love debuting at number 25 on the UK Albums Chart. A week later, Christmas, with Love advanced to number 13 and "One More Sleep" climbed 31 places to number 3, making it Lewis' highest charting single since 2009's "Happy". With "One More Sleep" peaking inside the top five on the UK Singles Chart, Lewis set a new record for British female solo artist with the most top five singles in the history of the chart, bringing her total eight top five singles. She has overtaken Olivia Newton-John's tally of seven top five singles.
2014–2015: Walking on Sunshine and I AmEdit
On 23 September 2013, it was announced that Lewis would appear in Holiday!, a 1980s-inspired musical film. In February 2014, the film was renamed Walking on Sunshine, and it was released on 27 June 2014. With Michael Bolton, Lewis recorded a duet of the Motown song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", which features on Bolton's album of the same name, released in the United Kingdom on 5 May 2014. On 17 May 2014 at the FA Cup Final Lewis performed two songs: the traditional pre-match anthem, "Abide with Me", and "God Save the Queen" (the national anthem). On 27 May, at the 2014 World Music Awards, Lewis performed a cover of "La La La", a song originally performed by Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith. Lewis was joined on stage by Naughty Boy.
On 3 June, it was announced that Lewis had parted ways with her record label of seven years, Syco Music, and label boss Simon Cowell tweeted: "Congratulations Leona. We had 7 great years together and now wish you all the best for the future. You put X Factor on the map". Lewis had already secured a new deal with rival Universal Music's Island Records UK, joining artists such as Robbie Williams, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Jessie J, and she has said of her joining the label: "After seven incredible years at Sony I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to sign to perhaps the most iconic label of all, Island Records".
Lewis later revealed that her departure from Syco had come after "several years" of consideration. She also stated that when she expressed her desire to part with the label, she was threatened with the public being told that she had been dropped instead of parting amicably. However, further creative differences in relation to her fifth studio album finally caused Lewis to leave the label. Of her departure, she stated, "I was asked to make a record that would not have been true to myself. By all means as an artist in this climate, I was thankful to even get the chance to make another record. But I cannot make music that does not speak to my soul, and as scary as it seemed, I could no longer compromise myself, and so I decided to leave".
On 27 November 2013, the singer confirmed to Digital Spy that she would begin recording sessions in January 2014, after she finished promoting Christmas, with Love. She revealed that during the production of Christmas, with Love in summer 2013, she had met with some producers to conceptualise a theme for the fifth album, but the main focus then was songs for the Christmas album. With regard to style and composition, Lewis said that 2013 allowed her to become re-inspired; she stated that after recording songs for the 1980s-inspired film Holiday!, she wanted the album to have a 1980s sound. Later, however, after she recorded Motown-inspired songs for the Christmas album, that allowed her to "just get out of [her] head and go into something completely different". She stated that she was now leaning towards a "retro throwback sound" for the album. Lewis stated that she has "reached out" to a couple of different people, including Bruno Mars and his frequent collaborators, The Smeezingtons. Lewis also stated that given the opportunity, she would also "love" to record a full length classical album in the future because of the positive reception of her classical rendition of "Ave Maria" on Christmas, with Love, which she performed in Latin.
In December 2013, Lewis told Billboard magazine, "Earlier in the year, I was getting in with a few different producers, I actually got in with DJ Poet, who is an amazing producer. We did a couple of songs together, which has been really exciting. I will probably get back in and work with him again".
On 12 February 2015, Lewis uploaded a video to YouTube, which showed her performing a new song, "Fire", in a studio. On 16 February, she uploaded a video to her Instagram account, which showed her recording vocals in the studio for new tracks. On 14 April 2015, she performed an intimate showcase in London, where she revealed "Fire Under My Feet" to be the lead single from her fifth studio album. She also showcased four other songs: "I Am", "I Got You", "Ladders" and "Thank You". Shortly afterward, the album title was confirmed to be I Am. "Fire Under My Feet" premiered on BBC Radio 2 on 11 May 2015. Lewis later revealed that I Am would be released on 11 September 2015, in the UK. On 13 June 2015, Lewis premiered another song from the album, "Essence of Me," via Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2. In July 2015 "I Am" and "Thunder" were released as second and third single from the album, respectively. "Thunder" serves as the lead single from the album in the US.
On 11 September 2015, following the album's release, Lewis announced her third live tour, with an initial leg of fourteen UK dates. On the tour, Lewis visited major cities, including Birmingham, London, Cardiff and Glasgow. Lewis performed new songs from the album during her set on the main stage at BBC Radio 2: Live in Hyde Park. On 12 December, the singer performed at The X Factor UK final, alongside fellow X Factor UK winner Ben Haenow. On the show the duet sang Lewis's song "Run" and Haenow's "Slamming Doors". The same month, Lewis performed a cover of "Girl Crush" with Adam Lambert. In May 2016, the performance earned the pair a CMT Music Award nomination.
2016–present: Broadway debut, collaborations, modelling and televisionEdit
On 18 March 2016, Lewis headlined Cirque du Soleil's One Night for One Drop performance in Las Vegas. On 26 May 2016, it was announced that Lewis would make her Broadway debut, as Grizabella, in the July 2016 revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats. She left the role, after almost four months of playing the character, on 9 October 2016. In June 2016, after two years with the label, Lewis and Island Records parted ways because of "something that didn't click". Later that month, she released the song "(We All Are) Looking for Home", a charity single created in collaboration with Diane Warren for the Vanderpump Dog Foundation's public service announcement, in opposition to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. In December 2016, Lewis reimagined Hans Zimmer's "Now We Are Free" on the album Hans Zimmer: The Classics.
In 2017, Lewis signed a modelling contract with Wilhelmina Models. In December 2017, Lewis paid tribute to Lionel Richie at the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. In February 2018, Leona Lewis collaborated with Calum Scott on a new version of "You Are the Reason" recorded as a duet. The song peaked at number 43 in the UK and charted across the world, and was later certified gold by the BPI and platinum by the RIAA. In May 2018, Lewis performed at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C. In June 2018, she collaborated with Pitbull on "Amore", the lead single for the 2018 film Gotti. In October 2018, Lewis featured on a song called "Headlights", a track produced by Hellberg. In November 2018, Lewis performed at the 92nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. In December 2018, Lewis performed a duet of her hit Christmas single "One More Sleep" on The X Factor at London's Wembley Arena. The song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number eight.
In February 2019, Lewis appeared in six episodes of Sony Crackle's The Oath. In March 2019, Lewis performed "Endless Love" with Miguel, also sharing the stage with Lionel Richie, Ne-Yo and Shania Twain at The Power of Love Gala, which raises funds for Cleveland Clinic. In May 2019, Lewis was announced as a musical guest on NBC's Songland, searching for upcoming songwriters. In June 2019, Lewis performed alongside Chaka Khan at the Butterfly Ball, a children's charity event. In August 2019, Lewis led an episode of Songland, releasing the winning song "Solo Quiero (Somebody to Love)" after the show aired. In September 2019, Lewis performed alongside Kodi Lee's finale performance in America's Got Talent. In November 2019, Lewis performed at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, at Royal Albert Hall, London, honouring servicemen and veterans.
Lewis has a mezzo-soprano vocal range, which spans four octaves, and has had classical training. She has stated that she practises operatic scales every week. Music critic Neil McCormick, of The Daily Telegraph, has praised Lewis's technical skills: "Her mezzo-soprano range allows her to take melodies from luxurious low notes to high-flying falsetto, gliding with elegant power and impressive control through all kinds of fluctuations and modulations". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic added, "Lewis can hit [high belted] notes but make it seem easy, never straining her voice and building nicely to the climax.... Unlike most divas, there is a human quality to her voice, as she's singing to the song, not singing to her voice". In the same vein, Slant describes Lewis's vocals as "technically unimpeachable" in a review of her album "Echo", but the author goes on to say they "lack any warmth or emotional expression".
Lewis commented on the musical style of her debut album describing the album as "classic songs with a contemporary edge", with R&B and "fresh pop" styles, ballads and "soulful up-tempo numbers". It has an American style, with some electronic 1980s sounds. However, the songs are not beat-driven or following the latest trends but can be performed acoustically. Lewis's second album, "Echo", mixed pop and R&B; during an interview with Variety magazine, she said on the album's sound that she "wanted the album to have a little bit more of a live feel to it, with a little more live instrumentation." In February 2011, talking about her third studio album "Glassheart", Lewis said that the album would be more experimental than Spirit and Echo by embodying a "different" yet "classic" sound. She added, "I'm really, really excited about it. I'm working with some new producers, some up and coming people and it's going to be kind of a different sound – but still classic". Lewis described it as "energetic, deep, [and] unique". She also commented that it would have a darker tone and that she would be putting her "heart into [her] lyrics".
Lewis credits Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as her major influences: "when I was growing up I used to listen to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, those kind[s] of big powerful kind of singers so that influences a lot of my music and a lot of the songs I like to sing". Lewis cited Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears as her third studio album's primary influences.
Activism and other activitiesEdit
In October 2008, The Times reported that Lewis had turned down a seven-figure sum from Mohamed Al Fayed to open a Harrods sale. Lewis commented that she turned down the deal on the grounds that Harrods is the only UK department store that continues to stock clothing made from animal fur: "It wasn't a million pounds that I was offered, as the papers reported, but even if it had been, I still would have turned it down". "I got a lot of flak for that. There were people who said I should have done it and given the money to charity, but that would have been such a contradiction." She announced in October 2008 that she was in the "bargaining period" of launching her own ethical line of accessories through Topshop and that she was in the late stages of releasing her own perfume in Europe. Her perfume, Leona Lewis, was launched by LR in July 2009. In 2010, she set up a fashion company with her then-boyfriend, Lou Al-Chamaa, called LOA Clothing Ltd, which was dissolved in 2012. In 2010, Leona featured in Modern Dog Magazine, where she confessed to a love for dogs, rabbits and meat free Mondays.
In 2011, Lewis was a guest judge on Platinum Hit, and in May 2012, she returned to The X Factor as a guest judge during auditions in London for the ninth series. In March 2013, Lewis was announced as the new brand activist for The Body Shop. She has also shown support for Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged US public schools by donating items for auction to raise money for the organization.
On 18 March 2016, Lewis headlined Cirque du Soleil's One Night for One Drop performance in Las Vegas. Lewis helped to raise funds and awareness for critical water issues worldwide. Lewis attended and supported the annual H.E.A.R.T Organization in 2017, a violence intervention programme. In 2017, Lewis became Ambassador of MTV Staying Alive to "empower and educate the new generation" in the fight against HIV/ AIDS. Lewis and MTV Staying Alive partnered with Kiehl's to create a Creamy Eye Treatment, with £10 from every product sold going towards educating young people in preventing HIV/ AIDS. Moreover, Lewis supports (RED)'s Global Fund to end AIDS, and in association with the app Calm contributed narration of a sleep story, thus providing 100,000 people with life- saving HIV medication.
In 2017, Lewis attended the Mercy for Animals Hidden Heroes Gala, honouring Diane Warren with the presentation of the Mercy for Animals Compassionate Leadership Award. Lewis continues to support, and remains a Trustee, of Hopefield Animal Sanctuary In 2018, Lewis designed Christmas themed jumpers with Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, with all net profits going towards the charity. Furthermore, Lewis continues to support animal welfare and animal rights, attending the Humane Society Gala in May 2019. Lewis performed alongside Chaka Khan at the 2019 Butterfly Ball, a children's charity event supporting disabled children.
Lewis lived in Hackney, East London. Lewis has been vegetarian since she was 12, and has been vegan since September 2012. She won PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, in 2008 and Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian in 2009, along with actor Scott Maslen. She also was named PETA's Person of the Year for 2008. Lewis is a supporter of World Animal Protection and is a patron of the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood, Essex.
In September 2014, in an open letter to fans, Lewis revealed that she felt extremely depressed around the time of her departure from Syco. She later emphasised that it was not clinical depression from which she had been suffering. She credited her professional separation from Simon Cowell and her practice of meditation with helping her "still the madness".
Lewis married her long-term fiancé, professional dancer and choreographer Dennis Jauch, in July 2019. The couple married in Tuscany, Italy, at Sting's 16th century, 865-acre, Il Palagio estate. The ceremony hosted celebrity guests, including celebrity performances. The couple had been dating since 2010.
|2014||Walking on Sunshine||Elena||Supporting role|
|2006||The X Factor||Herself||Contestant; Winner (Series 3)|
|2010||The Labyrinth Tour: Live from the O2||Herself||Watch|
|2011||Platinum Hit||Guest Judge||Bravo|
|2012||Project Hackney||Herself||BBC Three|
|The X Factor||Guest Judge||Series 9|
|2018||The Voice UK||Guest Mentor||Series 7|
|The X Factor||Guest Judge||Series 15 (Judges Houses)|
|2019||The Oath||Amber Hall||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|Songland||Musical Guest||Episode: "Leona Lewis"|
|2019||Queen of Drags||Guest Judge||Series 1, episode 3: "Fairytale"|
|2019||The X Factor: The Band||Guest Judge||Series 1|
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance Club Songs chart
- List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
- List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Downloads Chart
- List of awards and nominations received by Leona Lewis
- List of Billboard Hot 100 number-ones by British artists
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