ALBUM REVIEW | Leona Lewis – I Am…
At last! After a three-year hiatus, Leona Lewis is back with a new album and man, does it feel good this time!
I mean obviously, when somebody changes management, record label AND sound in a matter of 2 years, it’s surely that something went wrong. And so, long gone are Lewis’ X Factor, Syco Records and Simon Cowell days.
It’s indeed a brand new Leona Lewis who’s back. And by this, I don’t mean a new sound, but a new woman, with nothing holding her back anymore. Now signed under Universal Music’s Island Records UK and Def Jam, Lewis delivered her new album ‘I Am…’ early last month, on September 11th.
Her sound is by no way new, but seems definitively refreshed, as if Lewis wanted to brand new start.
Fully co-written by Lewis and Toby Gad to the exception of one song, ‘I Am…’ couldn’t have been titled better. In the 10-track record (15 for the Deluxe Edition) sounds like a breakup album, with Lewis standing her ground and speaking up about her issues with Simon Cowell’s record label all the while exposing throughout her songs the pain that followed the somewhat failed release of her latest album ‘Glassheart’. After the announcement of her and Syco parting ways, the singer had explained: “I was asked to make a record that would not have been true to myself. […] I cannot make music that does not speak to my soul, and as scary as it seemed, I could no longer compromise myself, and so I decided to leave.” Soon after, she had added, “After seven incredible years at Sony I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to sign to perhaps the most iconic label of all, Island Records.”
And that was definitively a big exciting step for the British singer, the first step to a more self-dependent career. Maybe this is why the feels like a brand new debut for the now 30-year-old, and like a brand new start for her fans, who are able with this 10-track-offering to rediscover Lewis’ great vocals, sound and songwriting skills through uptempo hits (“I Got You”, “Another Love Song”) and powerful ballads (“Power”, “Thunder”). The compilation of the two makes of I Am… not only a beautiful rendition of Lewis’ newly refreshed passion, but also an honest confession about the vulnerability, frustration and determination that come with break-ups.