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Soundtrack Of My Life: Leona Lewis

The first song I remember hearing

The O’Jays – ‘Love Train’

“It was my dad’s favourite song, and I always used to sit in the back of his car and he used to play the radio or play cassette tapes, and he said I would always sit in the back singing along. ‘Love Train’ is something that’s quite an early memory, and I think it’s because it’s one of the songs he would play. I love The O’Jays, my first dance with my dad at my wedding was to that song, so it has quite a significance in my life.”

The first song I fell in love with

Des’ree – ‘Kissing You’

“It was in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and I was obsessed with that film; and I became obsessed with that song. Her voice and the strings, it was just everything to me. I think that’s why I love films so much, especially film and music together and how powerful that can be – seeing the visual put with this heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching song.”

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The first album I bought

Spice Girls – ‘Spiceworld’

“When I got my pocket money every Saturday I saved it up, and when I was maybe 10 years old, I went to the record store and bought my first record which was ‘Spiceworld’, by the Spice Girls, because I loved them. At that age, what else are you going to do?!”

The first gig I went to

Alicia Keys at Wembley Arena, 2002

“My first gig was Alicia Keys at Wembley Arena. I’m talking about big gigs, I’d been to other smaller gigs; but the first artist that I was a fan of was Alicia Keys. I think I was 16 or 17 when she played Wembley, and it was amazing. She sounded better than the record, so it was a really inspiring show. She’s a crazy musician, playing the piano, getting up and singing, it was so good.”

The song that reminds me of home

Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Three Little Birds’

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“Every Sunday is my reggae day. So I play reggae, soca, just all the tunes I grew up with. My family are Guyanese, so I grew up listening to a lot of that, especially on Sundays at my Auntie Laurette’s house. So that’s my Sunday thing, putting on my record player and ‘Three Little Birds’ is probably the one I’d choose. That’s my Sunday jam.”

The song I do at karaoke

Brandy & Monica – ‘The Boy Is Mine’

“I do sometimes like to do karaoke, and my favourite song if they have it is ‘The Boy Is Mine’; just because I’m usually karaoking with my crazy friends, who just want to scream over me, so I’m like ‘let’s do ‘The Boy Is Mine’ and just have a riff off!’”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Leona Lewis – ‘One More Sleep’

“I’ve been singing it a lot recently, I had a filmed performance and because I’m re-promoting my Christmas album, so I’ve been singing it so much. I literally wake up singing it, go to bed singing it, it’s just in my head now.

“Because I love Christmas so much I do love it – it gives me a chance to dust off the old Christmas dresses and come out and perform Christmas songs, and I just think especially now when we really need a bit of joy and happiness, I just love performing those songs. It’s crazy because my little goddaughter – the video has my best friends and my husband in it – she sees her mum on the TV, so it’s really cute. It’s a really close thing to my heart.”

 

The song that makes me want to dance

Cameo – ‘Candy’

“When we play it at family parties everyone does the Electric Slide. And also my friend who lives in New York actually sent me a video and everyone on the block was doing the Electric Slide when Biden won [the US election], so I was like, ‘this song is making me want to dance right now!’ There were big time celebrations around where I live [in LA] when Biden won. I’m in a place that’s very Democratic, and people were just happy. A lot of tension had been lifted.”

The album I went back to during lockdown

Stevie Wonder – ‘Songs in the Key of Life’

“I’ve got a record player and I have a very limited record collection – I used to have an insane one, but now I have very limited records and now I just want to play them on repeat; so ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ is one that’s come back, and especially ‘Love’s In Need of Love Today’ as I feel like it really points to what we need right now, as a society.”

Leona Lewis’ festive staple ‘One More Sleep’ is currently at No.25 in the charts

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