J RECORDS RELEASES LEONA LEWIS’ “SPIRIT – THE DELUXE EDITION”
In 2007, 24 year old British singer/songwriter Leona Lewis burst onto the European music scene with her debut CD “Spirit”. A protégé of American Idol’s Simon Cowell, Leona was the 2006 winner of Simon’s UK talent show “The X Factor”. Under Simon’s incredible guidance and expertise, “Spirit” went on to become the fastest selling debut album in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Not bad at all. In 2008 “Spirit” was released in North America and become a smash hit here also. Now Leona starts off 2009 with the re-release of “Spirit – The Deluxe Edition”. The Deluxe Edition has 17 tracks, 4 of which have never been released in the U.S. After listening to Spirit, I can certainly agree with earlier comparisons to superstar Mariah Carey, which is a good comparison; but I also hear influences of Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton. And although Leona has a beautiful voice, she doesn’t seem to have the verve of Mariah or Whitney or Toni. But you be the judge of that.
The majority of the songs on “Spirit – TDE” are ballads – I Will Be, I’m You, Here I Am, Run, Forgiveness – all ballads. I get that Leona loves to sing ballads, and she does them well. But at 24 years old, I would think she would do more up-tempo songs. Overall, the stand outs are easily Bleeding Love – Radio Remix, I Will Be (Carrie Underwood could have had a hit with this song) and Forgive Me. On many of these songs Leona’s high notes are almost angelic. Leona also tackles the classic Roberta Flack song, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. I prefer Roberta’s version; Leona’s version sounds too gloomy and dark.
After listening to Spirit – The Deluxe Edition I really don’t know who Leona Lewis is. There’s no denying her beautiful voice but isn’t it a sound we’ve already heard time and time again?