The ?spirit? of singing


By: Pamela Maluleke

Spirit is Leona Lewis?s debut album which was released by J Records/Syco on April 8, 2008. The album comes right after her win inX factor UK. Due to Leona Lewis public appeal and strikingly unique voice her debut single ?Bleeding love? which was co- written and produced by Ryan Tedder from One Republic became Britain?s fastest selling debut album. Leona Lewis has a mesmerising voice which encapsulates the listener and transports them to a place of absolute harmony; she manages to achieve this by adding classical instruments to some of her songs. ?Footsteps in the sand? and ?Here I am? have violin?s playing in the background which emphasizes the whole romantic aspect which is quite evident in all her songs.

Leona Lewis collaborated with the powerhouses of the music industry in her first album. With the likes of Ryan Tedder (lead singer of popular group one republic), singer/songwriters Akon and Ne-Yo (Platinum selling Rnb star) songwriters Josh Alexander and Billy Steinberg and songwriter/producers Dallas Austin and Stargate, J.R. Rotem, and Lukasz ?Dr. Luke? Gottwald. All these people have worked with the best in the business, from Beyonc?? to Pink. The range of producers gives the album a different dimension. With that said some of the songs do seem to lack creativity and this may be attributed to the fact that most of her songs are about the same subject. Taking the whole album into consideration I would say that, it was well constructed and displayed her raw talent. There wasn?t a lot of additional background vocalist or loud upbeat tempo?s to draw attention away from her voice. She managed to accomplish want few singers can and that is to simply sing, with no additional ?riffraff? or exaggerated antics to draw the listener?s attention. This aspect is first and foremost what makes her album an outstanding piece of work.

She remixed the original version of ?A moment like this,? which was also superbly sung by Kelly Clarkson. The way Leona Lewis sings it in this album is slower and contains less instrumental background than Kelly Clarkson?s version. Thus Leona Lewis? version makes the song more soulfully and that kind of mirrors some of the great soul singers of our time. Her album to some degree lacks variety in terms of the beats in the songs and the song writing, it doesn?t have mass appeal. It?s a great vocal performance if that?s what a listener wants but with respect to other aspects like a broader scope of song choice, it doesn?t measure up. The only song in the album that deviates a little from her other songs is ?Im you? which has a pop feel to it, unlike the usual soulful RnB.

Leona Lewis album has being very popular not only in Britain but all over the world, songs like ?Bleeding love,? ? Better in time? and ?Yesterday? have catapulted her to superstar status and multiple Grammy awards. A second album will probably draw an even bigger buzz than her debut album, because she?s set the bar very high already. The next album will probably have more variety and collaborations. The simple verdict on this album is that it?s one of the best vocal performances you?re likely to hear from any female artist at the moment and certainly an album worth investing in. It has timeless quality and some of her songs will still echo in weddings around the world for decades to come.



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