Leona Lewis is a British singer, songwriter, actress, and also a campaigner for animal welfare. She attained national recognition after winning the third series of the British reality music show ‘The X Factor’. Her winning single was a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘A Moment Like This’ which peaked at the first position on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. She soon released her debut album ‘Spirit’ which was also a success, peaking at the top position in charts of several countries including the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard 200. It also became the second best-selling album of the year in the UK. Her second studio album ‘Echo’ was also a hit, though it didn’t perform as well as the first one. Besides singing, she has also played a supporting role in the British film ‘Walking on Sunshine’. She has won multiple awards in her career so far, including two MOBO Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award and two World Music Awards. She has also been nominated for the Brit Awards six times and for the Grammy Awards three times. She is known for her philanthropic works and animal welfare campaigns as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Leona Lewis was born on 3rd April 1985 in Islington, London, England. She is of mixed Welsh and Guyanese heritage. She has a younger brother and an older half-brother.
She had a passion for singing from an early age. Therefore, she was enrolled by her parents at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Later, she also studied at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and the Ravenscourt Theatre School. She attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology as well.
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Leona Lewis eventually decided to leave school to pursue a career in music at the age of 17. She did various jobs to fund her studio sessions. She soon recorded a demo album, ‘Twilight’; however, it failed to secure her a deal with any of the record companies. The album was, therefore, never released commercially though she performed some of the tracks live on radio.
After much struggle, she auditioned for the third series of the TV reality music competition ‘The X Factor’ in 2006. She eventually became the winner after earning 60% of the 8 million votes. Her winning single was a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s song ‘A Moment Like This’. It made a world record for receiving more than 50,000 downloads in less than 30 minutes. It also topped the UK Singles Chart and stood there for more than four weeks.
She released her debut album ‘Spirit’ in 2007. It was a monumental success. It sold over 6 million copies worldwide and became the UK’s fourth best-selling album of the 2000s. It stood at the first position in charts of many countries including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland. It also topped the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. It still remains the best selling debut album by a female artist.
Her next album ‘Echo’ was also a success. She worked with well-known artists, such as Ryan Tedder, Justin Timberlake and Max Martin. It peaked at the top twenty in several countries. It stood at the first position in the UK Charts with a sale of 161,000 copies in the first week itself. It received mixed reviews from critics. The song ‘My Hands’ from the album, was used as the theme song for the video game ‘Final Fantasy XIII’.
Her first tour was titled ‘The Labyrinth’ and it started in May 2010. Her third album ‘Glassheart’ was released in 2012. It was met with mixed reviews from critics. Though it achieved commercial success, it didn’t perform as well as her previous albums. The album peaked at the third position in the UK Albums Chart, and also entered the charts of various other countries. The following year, she released a Christmas album ‘Christmas, with Love’. It was a commercial success and was met with positive reviews.
Her most recent album ‘I Am’ was released in September 2015. It sold only 24,000 copies in its first week, becoming the least financially successful album of her career so far. It peaked at the 12th position on the UK Albums Chart and on the 38th position on the US Billboard 200.
Leona Lewis made her acting debut in the 2014 British film ‘Walking on Sunshine’. Directed by Max Giwa and Diana Pasquini, the film also starred Annabel Scholey, Giulio Berruti, Hannah Arterton, and Katy Brand. The film was met with negative reviews from critics. She made her Broadway debut in the 2016 revival of the musical ‘Cats’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
‘Spirit’, the debut album by Leona Lewis, is undoubtedly the most significant and successful work in her career so far. With hit singles such as ‘Bleeding Love’, ‘Homeless’ and ‘Better in Time,’ the album topped the charts in various countries, including the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. It was nominated for four BRIT Awards and three Grammy Awards and won the MOBO award for Best Album and the World Music Awards for Best New Artist and Best Pop Female.
Another successful album of hers is the Christmas Album ‘Christmas, with Love’. It was a commercial success, though not as successful as her previous albums. It peaked at the 13th position on the UK Albums Chart. It also entered the US Billboard 200 where it stood at the 113th position. It included tracks such as ‘One More Sleep’, and ‘Winter Wonderland’. It was met with positive reviews.
Leona Lewis is currently known to be single. She had earlier dated Dennis Jauch, Lou Al Chamaa and Tyrese Gibson.
She had been a vegetarian since the age of 12. She became a vegan in 2012. She was named the Sexiest Vegetarian and the Person of the Year in 2008 by PETA. She is also known for her animal welfare works and is a supporter of World Animal Protection.
She is involved with other philanthropic works as well. She has supported Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that helps restore music education in disadvantaged schools in the US.