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’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.