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Echo is the second studio album by Englishmarker R&B/pop singer-songwriter Leona Lewis. It was released on 16 November in the United Kingdom by Syco Music, followed by 17 November in the United States under J Records. Its worldwide release was through Sony Music.

Lewis worked with Ryan Tedder, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, John Shanks, and Harvey Mason, Jr. amongst others to produce the follow-up to her debut album Spirit. The album was preceded by the single "Happy", released on 15 September.

Background and production

As with Lewis's debut album, Spirit, each of Echo s producers were enlisted by her mentors Simon Cowell and Clive Davis. Unlike her debut album where she travelled between cities, Echo was recorded entirely in Los Angelesmarker and took nine months to produce. It will contain ballads, racier tracks and dancefloor anthems. Lewis titled the album Echo "since an echo describes a big, organic sound." In August 2009 she told her official website: "I'm in the midst of the recording process, working with incredible songwriters and producers, and my music has really evolved. It's so exciting to create something new." She also said, "I'm actually more confident with this album than the last. I've taken more control this time and I feel more at ease with everything." She told Variety magazine that she "wanted the album to have a little bit more of a live feel to it, with a little more live instrumentation," and described Echo as "more guitar-driven" compared to Spirit, with a "harder edge" in an interview with Seventeen.

Lewis worked with Ryan Tedder, producer of her second single "Bleeding Love", on the album's lead single "Happy", written by Lewis, Tedder and Evan Bogart, and "You Don't Care". Tedder commented, "I pushed [Lewis] vocally more on this song than any song she's ever done. I mean, she did some stuff on "Happy" that's awesome, but this other song she takes it to another level." The song "Lost Then Found" was also co-written by Tedder and Lewis along with Dan Muckala, Jess Cates and Lindy Robbins, and features Tedder's band OneRepublic. Another Tedder song, "Shadows", was written with AJ McLean for the Backstreet Boys. After it failed to make the Backstreet Boys' album, Cowell wanted it for Lewis but then decided it better suited Westlife.

Justin Timberlake contributed production and backing vocals to several songs, including "Don't Let Me Down", written and produced with Timberlake's production team The Y's and recorded at Chalice Recording Studios. Arnthor Birgisson worked with Lewis on the songs "My Hands" and "Heartbeat", which were written by Ina Wroldsen and Birgisson. "My Hands" features on Echo, while "Heartbeat" does not. Max Martin and Birgisson worked with Lewis on the song "I Got You" with Martin also contributing to the dance track "Outta My Head" written by Martin, Johan Karl Schuster and Kotecha. Schuster also produced the upbeat "Naked" along with Kristian Lundin. It was written by Lewis, Lundin and Kotecha.

John Shanks produced two songs, a ballad and an uptempo song, one of which is "Broken", written by Shanks, Novel and Lewis. Julian Bunetta worked with Lewis along with Andrew Frampton to produce "Brave", which was written by Frampton, Bunetta, Kotecha and Lewis. Kevin Rudolf produced "Love Letter", which he co-wrote with J. Kasher. In September 2009, Lewis worked with Harvey Mason, Jr., Uriel Kadouch, Keith Ross, and Gavriel Aminov to produce "Can't Breathe". The album also contains a cover of Oasis's "Stop Crying Your Heart Out", which was produced by Steve Robson.

Lewis also worked with several writers and producers on songs that failed to make the album. Toby Gad worked with Lewis including writing the song "Unreachable" with Lewis and Robbins. Taio Cruz was hired by Cowell to write and produce tracks for the album, and Irish Indie band The Script agreed to write a song. Production and songwriting team Xenomania were reported to have written five songs for Lewis's second album, described by songwriter Miranda Cooper as "tragic songs with a twist." Ne-Yo wrote songs for the album, including "Can't Fight It". Lewis expressed interest in working with Chris Martin of Coldplay to give the album a rockier edge, though a collaboration never came to light. Several demos are said to be influenced by Coldplay, and Lewis collaborated with rock singer Aqualung. She was also reported to have worked with DJ Infamous, Claude Kelly, and Los Da Mystro. She worked with Timbaland in April 2009, and explained the reason for his tracks not appearing on Echo: "I went in the studio with Timbaland and we vibed out. The thing is, on this album, there were a lot of people that I'd been with on the first album so I knew them and we kinda got into the vibe straight away. Obviously I'm still getting to know Timbaland, it's kind of a continuing and evolving relationship, so this time he's not on the album, but hopefully next time he will be".

The album will be released in three formats. In addition to the standard edition, an extended deluxe edition will be released featuring two extra songs and a 32-page insert, whilst albums downloaded from iTunes will receive two live performance songs. The two live songs, "Brave" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", were recorded at a concert at London's Hackney Empiremarker on 2 November 2009.

Stolen demos

In August 2009, several of the album's unfinished songs leaked onto the internet and it is believed that computers at Lewis's record label were hacked into. An investigation was launched by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, working with the record label and police to track down those responsible. Lewis confirmed during an interview with an Australian radio station that some of the songs that leaked would be included on the album.

Album packaging and design

In an interview with Seventeen magazine, Lewis described the album's packaging and design as having a desert setting. Each of Lewis's outfits, described as "modern, 'heroine' gowns", was designed by Vivienne Westwood. Each gown was made-to-measure in Westwood's central London atelier. They are created in gold lamé and white satin, are fitted around a boned leotard and feature the designer's signature cleavage-enhancing corset, with a crinoline-style skirt. One costume depicts Lewis as a mermaid, an idea that Lewis suggested. Lewis also wears Westwood's dresses in her music videos and during promotional events for the album and singles. The album's cover debuted on 5 October 2009.

Promotion

"Happy", the first single from the album, premiered on the UK'S The Radio 1 Chart Show on 6 September 2009. The first televised performance of "Happy" was on the fourth series finale of America's Got Talent on 16 September 2009, and Lewis performed it at the VH1 Divas concert on 17 September 2009. On 29 October Lewis performed at the Malmö Arenamarker's Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Gala in Sweden. She is set to perform at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards in Berlin on 5 November 2009. Lewis performed "Happy" on The X Factor on 8 November.

Lewis was scheduled to appear on the BBC's The One Show on 14 October 2009, but she pulled out following an incident at a booksigning of her autobiography Dreams where a man punched her in the face. She also cancelled a two-day promotional trip to Germany. She rescheduled her appearance on The One Show to 26 October. On 24 October, Lewis performed on the Swiss television show Benissimo, and on 25 October, she performed "Happy" live on the Dutch show Life4You.

Lewis performed an exclusive live show at the Hackney Empiremarker in London on 2 November 2009, her first full UK show, where she performed nine songs in total, including four from Echo. Lewis will start her debut world tour in May 2010. Dates in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker have been confirmed.

The track "My Hands" was chosen as the theme song for the video game Final Fantasy XIII's release in North America and Europe.

Critical reception

The Observer s review of Echo gave the album three out of five stars, with reviewer Peter Robinson writing, "Unusually for an X Factor graduate, there was actually something at risk if the second album didn't work, but Echo hits its target. A handful of upbeat numbers — including an unexpected foray into frothy high-speed electro — pull Leona back from the brink of boring." Jim Farber of the New York Daily News agreed, writing "Echo has a sense of fun, and a youthful vim, rarely on display on Spirit. It's faster, harder and way catchier." Neil McCormick, writing in The Daily Telegraph, said Lewis's "mezzo-soprano range allows her to take melodies from luxurious low notes to high-flying falsetto, gliding with elegant power and impressive control through all kinds of fluctuations and modulations. [...] The approach of the album's producers is to throw Leona at a song, with multi-tracked vocals shooting off in every direction, until you feel like you're listening to a room full of cloned divas fighting over who gets the top line. It's an exhausting yet strangely exhilarating experience." Heat s Karen Edwards awarded the album five stars out of five, sayng "From girlie pop to big ballads, this album will remind you what the fuss is all about. Future X Factor winners take note: this is what real talent sounds like."

Chart and sales performance

Echo made its first chart appearance on the Irish Albums Chart at number two. In Belgium the album charted at 69 on the Flanders Album Chart and 67 on the Walloniamarker albums chart. Echo debuted at Number 1 on the UK Album Charts on 22 November selling 161,000 copies. However, it only stayed there for one week before falling to number 5, selling a 75,000 copies. The album debuted at number 13 in the US with sales of 68,413

Track listing

The track listing was first released on 6 October 2009 on the UK version of Lewis's official website. Later the official website in Switzerland revealed the album credits on 20 October 2009.




Charts and certifications

Chart Positions
Charts (2009) Peak

position
Australian Albums Chart 31
Austrian Album Charts 7
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl) 69
Belgian Albums Chart (Wa) 67
Canadian Albums Chart 16
Dutch Albums Chart 36
European Top 100 Albums 4
French Albums Chart 51
German Albums Chart 12
Irish Albums Chart 2
Italian Albums Chart 40
New Zealand Albums Chart 26
Spanish Albums Chart 16
Swedish Albums Chart 19
Swiss Albums Chart 3
UK Albums Chart 1
UK R&B Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 13


Certifications and sales


Country Certification Sales/Shipments
United Kingdom 2x Platinum 600,000
United States 90,000


Release history

Region Date Format Label Catalogue
Philippines 9 November 2009 CD Sony Music Entertainment 88697570012
Australia 13 November 2009
Germany 886975882229
Ireland CD, digital download 88697570012
Italy CD, digital download
Netherlands CD 0886975700127
Switzerland Digital download, CD

(standard & deluxe)
Belgium 16 November 2009 88697588222
Czech Republic
France
Greece
Hong Kong CD 88697570012
Luxembourg Digital download, CD

(standard & deluxe)
New Zealand
Norway 88697570012
Poland 0886975882229
Portugal
Spain Digital download (standard & deluxe)
United Kingdom CD, digital download Syco Music 88697570012
United States 17 November 2009 CD J Records 886975966028
Canada Sony Music Entertainment
Denmark 18 November 2009 88697570012
Finland
Sweden
Brazil 23 November 2009 886975700127
Japan 25 November 2009 CD Sony Music Japan SICP2465
CD + DVD SICP2466


References

External links




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