Spirit [UK Version]

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Clive Davis's latest protégée, Leona Lewis, has already made a splash across the pond. Now the 22-year-old winner of Simon Cowell's British talent show, The X Factor, is poised to become an American idol with the Stateside release of Spirit, which topped the charts in the U.K.
Barnes & Noble
Clive Davis's latest protégée, Leona Lewis, has already made a splash across the pond. Now the 22-year-old winner of Simon Cowell's British talent show, The X Factor, is poised to become an American idol with the Stateside release of Spirit, which topped the charts in the U.K.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Clive Davis's latest protégée, Leona Lewis, has already made a splash across the pond. Now the 22-year-old winner of Simon Cowell's British talent show, The X Factor, is poised to become an American idol with the Stateside release of Spirit, which topped the charts in the U.K.
Barnes & Noble
Clive Davis's latest protégée, Leona Lewis, has already made a splash across the pond. Now the 22-year-old winner of Simon Cowell's British talent show, The X Factor, is poised to become an American idol with the Stateside release of Spirit, which topped the charts in the U.K.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The truest test of Simon Cowell's power within the music industry circa 2008 was not whether American Idol could produce a star in its seventh season or if its U.K. cousin, The X Factor, would have another success in its fifth season -- it was whether he could turn Leona Lewis into the international superstar he so clearly believed she is. Lewis was the third winner of The X Factor -- the Cowell-driven replacement to Pop Idol in Britain, a replacement that came to be because he wanted to own a significant piece of the show -- and one of the key differences between Factor and Idol is that the judges can mentor the contestants and therefore have a stake in the outcome of the show, more than they do on Idol, where the judges merely comment. Rightly impressed by Lewis' multi-octave voice -- reminiscent of a warmer, earthbound Mariah Carey -- Cowell continued his mentorship after the conclusion of the show, making her the first contestant in the whole Idol/Factor enterprise that he personally shepherded through the major-label process. He struck a deal with Clive Davis -- the executive producer behind all the American Idol projects, the producer who publicly bristled when Kelly Clarkson tried to take control of her career through her original compositions -- and the two launched a grand plan to break Lewis in her native U.K. first, then slowly roll her out in the U.S. a few months later, via an appearance on Oprah and a slightly re-sequenced and remixed version of her debut, Spirit. That U.S. version drops the bonus track of Leona's version of "A Moment Like This," her first hit single that is not so coincidentally a cover of Kelly's first big single. If Kelly became a thorn in Davis' side, Leona Lewis seems happy, even eager, to play the major-label game, singing anything that comes her way, never lodging a complaint when she has to cut a couple R&B-flavored tracks to appeal to the American market. These tunes -- "Misses Glass" and "Forgive Me" -- are just slightly glitzier than the rest of Spirit, surely bearing heavier rhythms but not to the extent that the beats obscure Lewis' voice, as the whole point of Spirit is to showcase her singing, particularly those high glory notes that are all the rage on Idol/Factor. Unlike most Idol/Factor alumni, Lewis can hit those big notes but make it seem easy, never straining her voice and building nicely to the climax. Unlike most divas, there is a human quality to her voice, as she's singing to the song, not singing to her voice. Then again, this was also true of Mariah Carey on her 1990 debut, which Spirit greatly resembles in how the handful of R&B-oriented songs camouflages how this is almost entirely a stuffy middle-of-the-road pop record. Not only that, but Spirit is so old-fashioned it sounds as if it could have been released in 1990 and compete with Carey's debut for the top of the charts; her first single, "Bleeding Love," opens with a crawling organ that recalls the muted gospel of "Vision of Love," even if the skin-crawling lyric "you cut me open and I keep bleeding love" wouldn't have suited the Top 40 in 1990. That stultifying adult contemporary atmosphere may makes Spirit stilted, but it's also as savvy a move as you could expect from Cowell: ever since Mariah long ago abandoned AC for the clubs, there has been a gaping need for a vocalist like Leona Lewis, a singer who can belt it out but is safe and tame, having no interest in the perks of stardom that exist beyond the stage. And boy is Leona Lewis ever that -- she is blessed with a terrific voice but very little on-record personality, something the very professional, very inoffensive tunes emphasize. Thanks to this collection of calculatingly commercial tracks -- tunes crafted to appeal to everyone yet no one in particular -- Lewis merely comes across as the most talented and most willing singer to ever play Cowell's game, so no wonder he loves her. But this also points out the big difference between how Cowell has taken Leona Lewis under her wing and how Tommy Mottola watched over Mariah. Mottola married Carey, having both an emotional and financial stake in her career, but those mixed emotions helped obscure the machinery that drove her career. Cowell is only in it for the cash with Lewis, so the machinations are too apparent on this otherwise appealing debut. And that's too bad, because Spirit surely reveals a singer who has a richer tonal quality than any diva to come along in the past 15 years or so -- if she had gotten the tunes to match her voice, this would have been a killer record in addition to the international blockbuster that it was so carefully crafted to be.
Billboard
A one-listen harmonic show-stopper, "Bleeding Love" is also a hip, soulful, beat-rippling and an undeniable vocal tour de force. And that’s all before adding the visual: Leona is simply stunning. Not since a youngster named Whitney Houston has arrived has Clive Davis had so much to work with…A colossal and timeless debut.”
Blender
This 22 year old British sensation has a supersize voice…- a little Celine, a little Toni, a lot Mariah.
Interview
Lewis’ strength is her powerful, gigantic voice: as showstopping as Whitney Houston’s.

The truest test of Simon Cowell's power within the music industry circa 2008 was not whether American Idol could produce a star in its seventh season or if its U.K. cousin, The X Factor, would have another success in its fifth season -- it was whether he could turn Leona Lewis into the international superstar he so clearly believed she is. Lewis was the third winner of The X Factor -- the Cowell-driven replacement to Pop Idol in Britain, a replacement that came to be because he wanted to own a significant piece of the show -- and one of the key differences between Factor and Idol is that the judges can mentor the contestants and therefore have a stake in the outcome of the show, more than they do on Idol, where the judges merely comment. Rightly impressed by Lewis' multi-octave voice -- reminiscent of a warmer, earthbound Mariah Carey -- Cowell continued his mentorship after the conclusion of the show, making her the first contestant in the whole Idol/Factor enterprise that he personally shepherded through the major-label process. He struck a deal with Clive Davis -- the executive producer behind all the American Idol projects, the producer who publicly bristled when Kelly Clarkson tried to take control of her career through her original compositions -- and the two launched a grand plan to break Lewis in her native U.K. first, then slowly roll her out in the U.S. a few months later, via an appearance on Oprah and a slightly re-sequenced and remixed version of her debut, Spirit. That U.S. version drops the bonus track of Leona's version of "A Moment Like This," her first hit single that is not so coincidentally a cover of Kelly's first big single. If Kelly became a thorn in Davis' side, Leona Lewis seems happy, even eager, to play the major-label game, singing anything that comes her way, never lodging a complaint when she has to cut a couple R&B-flavored tracks to appeal to the American market. These tunes -- "Misses Glass" and "Forgive Me" -- are just slightly glitzier than the rest of Spirit, surely bearing heavier rhythms but not to the extent that the beats obscure Lewis' voice, as the whole point of Spirit is to showcase her singing, particularly those high glory notes that are all the rage on Idol/Factor. Unlike most Idol/Factor alumni, Lewis can hit those big notes but make it seem easy, never straining her voice and building nicely to the climax. Unlike most divas, there is a human quality to her voice, as she's singing to the song, not singing to her voice. Then again, this was also true of Mariah Carey on her 1990 debut, which Spirit greatly resembles in how the handful of R&B-oriented songs camouflages how this is almost entirely a stuffy middle-of-the-road pop record. Not only that, but Spirit is so old-fashioned it sounds as if it could have been released in 1990 and compete with Carey's debut for the top of the charts; her first single, "Bleeding Love," opens with a crawling organ that recalls the muted gospel of "Vision of Love," even if the skin-crawling lyric "you cut me open and I keep bleeding love" wouldn't have suited the Top 40 in 1990. That stultifying adult contemporary atmosphere may makes Spirit stilted, but it's also as savvy a move as you could expect from Cowell: ever since Mariah long ago abandoned AC for the clubs, there has been a gaping need for a vocalist like Leona Lewis, a singer who can belt it out but is safe and tame, having no interest in the perks of stardom that exist beyond the stage. And boy is Leona Lewis ever that -- she is blessed with a terrific voice but very little on-record personality, something the very professional, very inoffensive tunes emphasize. Thanks to this collection of calculatingly commercial tracks -- tunes crafted to appeal to everyone yet no one in particular -- Lewis merely comes across as the most talented and most willing singer to ever play Cowell's game, so no wonder he loves her. But this also points out the big difference between how Cowell has taken Leona Lewis under her wing and how Tommy Mottola watched over Mariah. Mottola married Carey, having both an emotional and financial stake in her career, but those mixed emotions helped obscure the machinery that drove her career. Cowell is only in it for the cash with Lewis, so the machinations are too apparent on this otherwise appealing debut. And that's too bad, because Spirit surely reveals a singer who has a richer tonal quality than any diva to come along in the past 15 years or so -- if she had gotten the tunes to match her voice, this would have been a killer record in addition to the international blockbuster that it was so carefully crafted to be.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/29/2008
  • Label: Sony Bmg Europe
  • UPC: 886972224329
  • Catalog Number: 722243

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bleeding Love (4:23)
  2. 2 Whatever It Takes (3:27)
  3. 3 Homeless (3:50)
  4. 4 Better in Time (3:54)
  5. 5 Yesterday (3:54)
  6. 6 Take a Bow (3:54)
  7. 7 I Will Be (3:59)
  8. 8 Angel (4:14)
  9. 9 Here I Am (4:52)
  10. 10 I'm You (3:48)
  11. 11 The Best You Never Had (3:43)
  12. 12 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (4:26)
  13. 13 Footprints in the Sand (4:09)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Leona Lewis Primary Artist, Background Vocals
Ian Thomas Drums
Robin Clark Choir, Chorus
Vaneese Thomas Choir, Chorus
Tawatha Agee Choir, Chorus
Louis Biancaniello Keyboards
Michelle Cobbs Choir, Chorus
Jack Daley Bass
Benny Diggs Choir, Chorus
Tammy Lucas Choir, Chorus
Cindy Mizelle Choir, Chorus
Steve Pearce Bass
Fonzi Thornton Choir, Chorus
Dave Arch Organ, Piano
Walter Afanasieff Keyboards
Tony Reyes Guitar
John Parricelli Guitar
Billy Porter Choir, Chorus
Max Martin Piano
Espen Lind Guitar
Steve Mac Synthesizer, Keyboards
Vanessa Thomas Choir, Chorus
Amy Chang Violin
Wayne Wilkins Keyboards
Tavia Ivey Background Vocals
Josh Alexander Guitar, Keyboards
Chris Laws Drums
Daniel Laufer Cello, Celli
Phillip Lowman Drums
Steven Wolf Percussion, Drums
Stephen Ferrera Drums
Alonzo "Novel" Stevenson Keyboards
Ravaughn Brown Background Vocals
Karen Freer Cello, Celli
William Pu Violin
Olga Shpitko Violin
Technical Credits
Ewan MacColl Composer
The Runaways Composer
Dallas Austin Producer
Louis Biancaniello Composer, Programming, Producer, Engineer
Clive Davis Producer
Chris Garcia Engineer, Digital Editing
Eric Hudson Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Andrea Martin Composer
Doug McKean Engineer
Richard Page Composer
Leon Pendarvis String Arrangements, String Conductor
Robert Smith Engineer
Billy Steinberg Composer, Producer
Ren Swan Engineer
Geoff Foster String Arrangements
Dave Arch String Arrangements
Brett James Composer
David Krueger Composer
Walter Afanasieff Arranger, Composer, Programming, Producer
Sam Watters Composer, Producer, Engineer, Vocal Producer
Scott Roewe Digital Editing
Tony Reyes Composer
Carlton Lynn Engineer
David Channing Engineer
Max Martin Composer
Steve Mac Arranger, Producer
Chris Brooke Vocal Engineer
Per Magnusson Composer
Eddie Horst String Arrangements
Simon Cowell Composer, Producer
Emily Wright Engineer
Wayne Wilkins Composer, Programming, Producer, Engineer
Janne Hansson Engineer
Jörgen Elofsson Composer
Josh Alexander Composer, Programming, Producer, Engineer, Digital Editing
Chris Laws Engineer, Digital Editing
Daniel Pursey Engineer
Craig Durrance Engineer
Vlado Meller Mastering
Josh Wilbur Engineer
Jesse McCartney Composer
Nina Woodford Composer
Steven Wolf Producer
Rouble Kapoor Engineer
Seth Waldmann Engineer
Ryan Tedder Composer
Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald Composer
Shaffer Smith Composer
Aliaune "Akon" Thiam Producer
Keith Gretlein Engineer
J.R. Rotem Arranger, Composer, Producer, Instrumentation
Alonzo "Novel" Stevenson Composer, Programming, Producer
Matt Beckley Producer
Ne-Yo Producer
Tom Syrowski Engineer
Greg Ogan Engineer
Chris Soper Engineer
Mikkel Storleer Eriksen Composer, Engineer, Instrumentation
Wesley Seidman Engineer
Giorgio Tuinfort Producer
Tyler Gordon Programming, Digital Editing
Tatiana Gottwald Engineer
Leona Lewis Composer
Tim Blacksmith Management
Harry Magee Management
Jordan Omley Composer
Tor Erik Hermansen Composer
Michael Mani Composer
Chris Holmes Engineer
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!!!

    It is an outstanding album!! Highly recommend!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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