In “A Moment Like This”, the world fell in love with Leona Lewis. Her “Spirit” soared high. But has it all been “Happy” since…?
Leona Lewis (b.1985) always wanted to be a singer and attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology until she was 17, when her family could no longer afford for her to continue. She was working in an office when she auditioned for the third series of The X Factor in 2006, which she went on to win, receiving more than eight million televotes from the British public, with Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”, the song Clarkson had won the 2002 series of American Idol with.
Lewis’ version went straight to the top of the UK singles chart, where it spent four week and became that year’s Christmas number one, eventually selling over 940,000 copies. Leona was set for a glorious new career and hopes were higher than at any time before for a winner of a reality contest in the UK. After ten months of recording, she emerged in October 2007 with her first single proper, “Bleeding Love”, which was produced by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and went to No.1 in over twenty countries worldwide, including America, where it had sold over 4.5 million copies and more than seven million globally.
Her debut album “Spirit” was released the following month and followed the single to the top of the charts around the world and shifting more than ten million copies, including 3.1 million in the UK, where it became the fastest selling debut album by a female artist ever. Further singles “Better In Time” (UK No.2, US No.11), “Footprints In The Sand” (UK No.2) and “Forgive Me” (UK No.5) followed during 2008, which concluded with her appearance on that year’s X Factor, performing Snow Patrol’s hit “Run” to a stunned audience. The song was released as part of an expanded edition of “Spirit” and went on to top the UK singles chart, becoming much more successful than the original.
Leona was soon back in the studio and in September 2009, she released a new track, “Happy”, which entered the UK chart at No.2 and peaked at No.31 in the US. Her second album “Echo”, followed soon after and followed her debut to the top of the UK chart, receiving a double Platinum certification. It fared less well Stateside, where it stopped at No.13 and sold 200,000 copies. A global total of three million indicated the downsized appeal of this new album, as did the response to the single “I Got You” (UK No.14) which was not released in America.
Leona was back on form in 2011 when she guested on Avicii’s “Collide” which put her back in the UK top five and topped the US dance chart. The following year she released the song “Trouble” with actor, comedian and singer ‘Childish Gambino’ (Donald Glover), which went top ten in the UK and reached No.2 on the US R&B chart. The single was the lead single from her third album “Glassheart”, which peaked at No.3 in the UK, earning a Silver certification.
Christmas songs are always guaranteed to give every year and Leona joined that bus in 2013 when she released a holiday album “Christmas, With Love”. The album centred around the single “One More Sleep”, which reached No.3 in the UK upon release and has charted continually every December since, receiving a Platinum disc for sales of more than 600,000 copies! Leona left Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco, the following year and signed with Def Jam Recordings, releasing her fifth album “I Am” in 2015. The album was preceded by the single “Fire Under My Feet”, which reached No.51 in the UK, with the album peaking at No.12 in the UK and No.38 in America. Two further singles, “Thunder” and the title track were just released digitally.
Leona scored a big hit in 2018 when she performed a new duet version of Calum Scott’s “You Are The Reason” and in 2019 she joined up with Columbian duo Cali y El Dandee and Spanish singer Juan Magán for the song “Solo Quiero” (Somebody To Love), which was co-written and produced by Tedder. Leona has branched out into acting, appearing in the 2014 film ‘Walking On Sunshine’ and in 6 episodes of the TV series The Oath (2019). She married her long-term partner Dennis Jauch in 2019, and they live in Hidden Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. Leona has recently been signed as a judge on the upcoming series of X Factor – The Band and it has been reported that she is also writing new music!