Leona Lewis Biography
The British pop singer shot to fame from obscurity when she won the third series of the X-Factor on 16th December 2006. She is the most successful winner the show has ever had, and her debut single "A Moment Like This," was the fastest selling UK single. There were over 50,000 downloads within 30 minutes of its release.
She followed this with a second single "Bleeding Heart" which was Number 1 in 30 countries throughout the world. In November 2008 she set a record for the fastest download-only release with her cover version of the Snow Patrol song "Run." It sold over 69,244 copies in just two days.
Leona has been nominated three times for a Grammy Award, and was named Top New Artist by Billboard Magazine in 2008. When her first album "Spirit" was released in 2007 it was the fastest-selling debut album, and made Leona the first British solo artist to top the Billboard 200 with a debut album.
She released her second album "Echo" in 2009 and is currently working on her third, which will be released in 2011.
Born in Islington to an Afro-Guyanese father and a Welsh mother, with Irish and Italian descent, she went to the Sylvia Young Theatre School, before moving on to the Italia Conti Academy. She finally ended up at the BRIT School where she learnt to play piano and guitar.
She wanted to become a singer-songwriter and wrote her first song at the age of 12-years-old. But she initially trained in opera before switching to jazz and blues. This led her into popular music.
She was considering taking a break and going to University when her long-term boyfriend Loual-Chamaa persuaded her to enter the competition which changed her life.
She had known her boyfriend since she was 10 years-old and lived with him until they split up in June 2010. She has a tattoo in Hebrew on her left wrist which symbolises their former relationship.
Leona is a keen supporter of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and she turned down a lucrative offer to open Harrods sale in October 2008, because the department store still sells items made of real fur.
Her autobiography "Dreams" was released in October 2009, and shortly afterwards she made the headlines when she was attacked at a book signing in Waterstones, Piccadilly. 29-year-old Peter Kowalczyk punched her in the head, causing bruising and shock, and he was later sectioned by the Mental Health Act.
She is a supreme example of how you can achieve your dream if you are determined enough.