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Spirit is the debut album by Britishmarker singer Leona Lewis, released by Syco Music in November 2007 in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker with worldwide release during early 2008. The release of the album marks Lewis as the first winner of a major television talent show in both the UK and USA to be given a major global launch with a debut album. Lewis says she named the album Spirit because "it is my heart and soul and the voice within that says everything is possible."

Spirit debuted at number one in nine countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. It held the record for the biggest digital album sales in a week ever for a new artist, male or female. On 3 December 2008 it was announced that the album had been nominated for Best Pop Album at the Grammy Awards. "Bleeding Love" was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. The album was the 6th biggest selling of 2008 in the world, as according to the IFPI.

As of 23 November 2009, Spirit is the 24th best selling album of all time in the United Kingdom, with sales of 2,868,266 copies. It has gone on to sell over 6 million copies worldwide including the deluxe edition.

Background

In December 2006, Lewis won the third series of British reality singing contest, The X Factor, her prize being a £1 million recording contract with Sony BMG, for which Simon Cowell is an A&R executive. Cowell also mentored Lewis on the show. During the live final, Lewis duetted with Gary Barlow of band Take That, who told Cowell, "This girl is probably fifty times better than any other contestant you have ever had, so you have a big responsibility to make the right record with her." Cowell admitted that Barlow's words "rang in his ears", and thus the decision was made for a debut album not to be rushed out, as he wanted an "incredible record" of original material, which he believed could not be done in less than a year. Lewis also wanted a high quality album that would not be made quickly and that she could feel proud of. She wanted to be involved in the writing process, and says that Cowell allowed her to do so as it was "her album". Cowell told Lewis that he did not care if the album took three years to make, he wanted to get it right.

On 25 April 2007, a press release was sent out revealing that Simon Cowell and Clive Davis, chairman and CEO of J Records, would work together in a first-of-its-kind partnership on both the song and producer selection for the album. Writing began in Londonmarker with Steve Mac and then moved on to Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, Los Angelesmarker and Miamimarker, Floridamarker. Lewis also performed a showcase for several American music executives at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hillsmarker, Californiamarker.

The album was delayed due to Lewis suffering from tonsillitis and waiting for producers to become available. It was said to have a September 2007 deadline, but was finally released in November 2007 (see release history).

Production and songs

Lewis recorded the album in several locations, the first being Londonmarker, Englandmarker, where she worked with Steve Mac, who produced the songs "Homeless" and "Footprints in the Sand". "Footprints in the Sand", a "massive power ballad", was played on an episode of the fourth series of The X Factor and was written by Per Magnusson, David Kreuger, Richard Page and Simon Cowell. It is based on the poem "Footprints". "Homeless" is a song written by Jörgen Elofsson, previously recorded by Swedish singer Darin, and has been described as "a moody piano-heavy trembler" and a "haunting, blues-style ballad".

Most of the songs were recorded in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker. There, Lewis teamed up with OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder, with whom she recorded two songs, "Bleeding Love" and "Take a Bow". "Bleeding Love" was written by Tedder and Jesse McCartney and produced by Tedder. It was the first song confirmed to be appearing on the album, and was released as the album's lead single, which went straight to number one in both the UK and Irish Singles Charts. "Take a Bow" was written and produced by Tedder, Louis Biancaniello, Wayne Wilkins and Sam Watters. It has been described as starting with an "ice-cool synth riff" and having "big, crunchy beats and powerhouse chorus". Watters and Biancaniello also wrote "Yesterday", with Jordan Omley, Michael Mani, and Nina Woodford. "Yesterday" has been described as "a smoochy R&B slow jam". "Better in Time" was also recorded in Los Angeles with producer J. R. Rotem, who wrote the song along with Andrea Martin. Lewis also co-wrote "Here I Am" with Walter Afanasieff and Brett James in LA. "I Will Be" is a cover of an Avril Lavigne song, written by Lavigne, Dr. Luke and Max Martin, that was released as an iTunes bonus track and on the Limited edition of her album The Best Damn Thing. "The Best You Never Had", which was written and produced by Billy Steinberg and Josh Alexander, was also recorded in LA.

In Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, Lewis worked with producers Alonzo "Novel" Stevenson and Dallas Austin on the song "Whatever It Takes", which Lewis co-wrote together with Novel and Tony Reyes. The song has been described as a "chipper slice of soul-pop, anchored by a surprisingly bone-shaking beat". "I'm You" was recorded in Atlanta with Ne-Yo, The song features "delicate harps, echoey vocals and skittering beats". "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a cover of the Ewan MacColl song, was recorded in both Atlanta and Los Angeles. It was produced by Wayne Wilkins, Sam Watters and Louis Biancaniello.

In Miamimarker, Floridamarker, Lewis worked with Salaam Remi, and "Forgiveness" was recorded. It was written by Lewis, Remi and Kara DioGuardi, but was chosen as the B-side to "Bleeding Love" rather than an album track on the UK edition. "Angel", a Stargate production, was written by Stargate and Johnta Austin, and recorded in New Yorkmarker.

Lewis's debut single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This", is included as a bonus track on releases in the UK, Ireland and Japan. The U.S. release of the album features two songs recorded in 2008, in order to help the album appeal more to an American audience: "Forgive Me", which was written and produced by Akon, and "Misses Glass" written by Mad Scientist and RockCity.

Syco managing director, Sonny Takhar, states that they have at least five singles from the record, and that "every track is a potential single — we really are spoiled for choice."

Style and lyrical content

Lewis described the album's style as "classic songs with a contemporary edge", containing R&B and "fresh pop" styles, ballads and "soulful up-tempo numbers". It has an American style, with some electronic 1980s sounds. However, the songs are not beat-driven or following the latest trends, but are songs that can be performed acoustically. Commenting on the albums lyrics, Lewis said: "[They] reflect things that I'm really passionate about. I have to be able to put myself in the song for it to ring true to me. If it doesn't ring true to me, it's not going to be believable to anyone else."

Promotion

On 24 September 2007, Lewis performed a special album launch party at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridgemarker, Londonmarker. She performed "Bleeding Love", "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Homeless" and "Whatever It Takes".

Lewis went on a two-day UK regional radio tour to promote the album and single "Bleeding Love" on 11 and 12 October. This was followed by an appearance on This Morning on 15 October. Lewis performed "Bleeding Love" live on the fourth series of The X Factor on 20 October 2007.

From 29 October 2007, Spirit was BBC Radio 2's Album of the Week.

During February and March, Lewis promoted the album in Europe. In February, Lewis made her American TV performance debut on The Oprah Winfrey Show singing "Bleeding Love".Then through the course of Late March and Early April Lewis carried out a large scale promotional tour throughout America appearing and performing on TV shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tyra Banks Show, Good Morning America, Late Show with David Letterman and TRL, with a performance in late April on American Idol followed by a promotional tour of Australia.

In November 2009, dates in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker were confirmed for Lewis's debut world tour, supporing Spirit and Lewis's second album Echo.

Reception

Reaction to Lewis' debut album was generally favourable.IGN described Spirit as the "perfect showcase for her fantastic skills". MSN Entertainment concurred, saying the "highly impressive debut" album was worth the wait.

The Guardian and The Times were less complimentary, each giving the album a two-star (out of five) rating. The Guardian was disappointed by saying Lewis "has clearly invested every scrap of energy into these songs [...] but being able to belt 'em out is only half the story, and if there's a personality here, it's well hidden." The Times review concluded by saying, "If Lewis is looking for the greatest love of all — public adoration — she will have to do better than this."

The Daily Star's review was more positive, saying, "Fans of her sweet, soaring vocals and power ballads won't be disappointed." The ''[[Evening Standard]]'' review said that ''Spirit'' will be "a very successful album with some much-needed grit."{{cite web|title=CDs of the week|url=http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/music/article-23419301-details/CDs+of+the+week/article.do|publisher=''Evening Standard''|date=2 November 2007|accessdate=6 November 2007}} ''[[Popjustice]]'''s review was brief, summing up that "It has four absolutely blinding tracks on it, three far better than average tracks on it, and some others which are quite good. There are no totally chronic songs on 'Spirit' apart from 'A Moment Like This'." Digital Spy gave it four out of five stars, claiming that although Lewis had a pallet of different producers working with her, they managed to prevent her from sounding "too fusty or old-fashioned."

Sales and chart performance

In its first day of release in the UK, Spirit was reported to be outselling its nearest rival, the Spice Girls' Greatest Hits album, by two-to-one. It sold over 130,000 copies on 12 November 2007, and entered the UK Albums Chart on 18 November 2007 at number one, having sold 375,872 copies. It was the fastest selling debut album in the UK since records began beating Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, and the fourth fastest selling album of all time, until November 2009 when Susan Boyle's debut album was released. Sales of the album averaged around 200 per minute on the first day of release in the UK. In its fourth week of release, Spirit sold around 180,000 copies. In its fifth week it sold around 228,000 copies and in its sixth it sold around 286,000. Spirit stayed at the top of the UK Albums Chart for seven weeks, and as of 14 June 2009, Spirit is the 27th best selling album of all time in the United Kingdom, with sales of 2,812,524 copies.

The album became the second biggest selling album in the UK of 2007, and the fastest million-seller by a solo female in the UK in just 29 days. It was certified three-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 16 November 2007, five-times platinum on 14 December 2007, and six-times platinum on 18 January 2008, meaning it has shipped 1,800,000 copies. During the release of Lewis' double A-Side single, "Better in Time"/"Footprints in the Sand", sales of the album climbed and consequently the album climbed back into the UK Albums Chart top ten to Number 2.

Spirit entered the Irish Albums Chart at number one, breaking a record by being the fastest selling debut album ever, beating the Arctic Monkeys by a margin of 6,000 sales. It remained at the top of the chart for two weeks before being knocked off by Shayne Ward's Breathless. The album has since gone 7x platinum.

In February 2008, the album debuted at number one on the Australian ARIA Chart, New Zealandmarker RIANZ chart, and the album charts of Germanymarker, Austriamarker and Switzerlandmarker.

Within a few hours of its release in the United Statesmarker, the Deluxe edition of Spirit reached Number 1 on the iTunes Store, while the standard edition peaked at Number 2. Spirit also reached Number 1 on the iTunes Store in Canada on the day of its release. Several album tracks have made an impact on the U.S. iTunes Top Songs chart such as I Will Be (Number 58), Yesterday (Number 61), and Better In Time (Number 12). "I Will Be" debuted at Number 99 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. On the first official week of release Spirit went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 200, making her the only British solo artist to start at No. 1 with their debut effort in the United States, selling 205,000 copies. In its second week the album sold 96,000 units, then another 96,000 units in its 3rd week. The album slipped to Number 3 on the Billboard 200 in its 4th week with 81,803 units sold. The album has so far sold 1,553,397 units in the United States. As of 30 June 2008 the album has been certified platinum.

On 24 November 2008, Spirit rebounded from 137 to number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. On 18 October 2009, it re-entered the UK Album Charts for the third year in a row, at number 31.

Track listing

North American version (USA, Canada & Mexico)

  1. "Bleeding Love" – 4:23
  2. "Better in Time" – 3:54
  3. "I Will Be" – 3:59
  4. "I'm You" – 3:48
  5. "Forgive Me" (Aliuane Thiam, Claude Kelly, Giorgio Tuinfort) – 3:41
  6. "Misses Glass" (Theron, Terry & Timothy Thomas) – 3:41
  7. "Angel" – 4:14
  8. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – 4:26
  9. "Yesterday" – 3:54
  10. "Whatever It Takes" – 3:27
  11. "Take a Bow" – 3:54
  12. "Footprints in the Sand" – 4:08
  13. "Here I Am" – 4:52


Spirit: The Deluxe Edition

Spirit was re-released on 17 November 2008 in the UK and on 3 February 2009 in the USA following the release of "Forgive Me". It also included "Misses Glass" from the American version of the album, and Lewis' cover of Snow Patrol's "Run", which she originally covered on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. The Deluxe Edition debuted at number 1 in the UK Albums Chart, matching the success of the original edition of Spirit. The US version was released on 3 February 2009 and includes two out of three of her b-sides as well as the single mix for "Run," which is 34 seconds shorter than the international album version.

In addition to the extra tracks, the deluxe featured a DVD containing all of Lewis' music videos to date except the video for "Run". However this video is included on the iTunes version and will be included on the upcoming US edition along with a live video of "I Will Be". The music video for "A Moment Like This" will not be included, and the video for "Forgive Me" is being listed as a "UK version".

Deluxe Edition track listing

Japanese bonus tracks
  • "Forgiveness" – 4:19 (Japanese bonus track)
  • "You Bring Me Down" – 3:55 (Japanese bonus track)


Bonus DVD
  1. "Bleeding Love" (UK Edition) (4:23)
  2. "Bleeding Love" (US Edition) (4:40)
  3. "Better In Time" (3:57)
  4. "Footprints In The Sand" (3:59)
  5. "Forgive Me" (3:43)
  6. "A Moment Like This" (4:17)


North American version

  1. "Bleeding Love" – 4:24
  2. "Better In Time" (Single Mix) – 3:54
  3. "I Will Be" – 3:59
  4. "I'm You" – 3:48
  5. "Forgive Me" – 3:41
  6. "Misses Glass" – 3:41
  7. "Angel" – 4:14
  8. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – 4:26
  9. "Yesterday" – 3:54
  10. "Whatever It Takes" – 3:27
  11. "Take a Bow" – 3:54
  12. "Footprints in the Sand" (Single Mix) – 4:08
  13. "Here I Am" – 4:52
  14. "Myself" (featuring Novel) ("Forgive Me" b-side)
  15. "Run" (Single Mix) – 4:38
  16. "Forgiveness" ("Bleeding Love" b-side) – 4:21
  17. "Bleeding Love" (Jason Nevins Rockin' Radio Mix) - 3:40


Bonus DVD (U.S. Version)
  1. "Bleeding Love" (U.S. Edit)
  2. "Bleeding Love" (U.K. Edit)
  3. "Better In Time"
  4. "Footprints In The Sand"
  5. "Forgive Me"
  6. "Run"
  7. "I Will Be" (Live)


Personnel

  • Ryan 'Alias' Tedderproduction, engineering, arrangement, programming
  • Nate Hertweck – assistant engineering
  • Craig Durrance – assistant engineering
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Dallas Austin – production
  • Novel – producer, programming
  • Carlton Lynn – recording, mixing
  • Eddie Horst – string arrangement
  • Fonzi Thornton – vocal contractor
  • Kimberley L. Smith – project coordination
  • Steve Mac – production, arrangement
  • Chris Laws – recording, Pro Tools editing
  • Daniel Pursey – recording
  • J. R. Rotem – production, arrangement
  • Greg Ogan – recording
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Louis Biancaniello – production, programming, recording, mixing
  • Sam Watters – production
  • The Runaways – production, recording, mixing
  • Michael Mani – production
  • Jordon Omley – production
  • The Jam – production
  • Wayne Wilkins – production, programming, recording, mixing
  • Randy Winem – assistant recording
  • Dr. Luke – production
  • Chris Lord-Alge – mixing
  • Doug McKean – engineering
  • Rob Smith – engineering
  • Seth Waldmann – engineering
  • Keith Gretlein – engineering
  • Josh Wilbur – engineering
  • Tom Syrowski – engineering
  • Tatiana Gottwald – engineering, assistant
  • Chris Soper – engineering
  • Sam Holland – engineering
  • Chris Holmes – engineering
  • Rouble Kapoor – engineering
  • Wesley Seidman – engineering
  • Janne Hansson – engineering
  • Emily Wright – engineering
  • Markus Dextegen – engineering
  • John Adams – assistant
  • James Ingram – assistant
  • Leon Pendarvis – strings conducting, strings arrangment


Recording locations

  • Mansfield Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • Record Plant, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
  • Encore, Burbank, California
  • DARP Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Battery Studios, New York City, New York
  • Doppler Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Rokstone Studios, London, England
  • Air Lyndhurst Studios, London, England
  • Chalice Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • The Jam Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • Homeside 13 Studio, Novato, Californiamarker
  • Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • Dr. Luke's, New York City, New York
  • Opra Music and Oceanway, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
  • Westlake Recording Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Atlantis Studios, Stockholm, Sweden


Charts and certifications

Chart Positions
Chart Providers Peak

position
Year end

position

2007
Year end

position

2008
Australian ARIA Albums Chart ARIA 1 14
Austrian Albums Chart IFPI 1 16
Belgium (Flanders) Ultratop 50 Albums Chart IFPI 5 24
Belgium (Wallonië) Ultratop 50 Albums Chart IFPI 21 80
Canadian Albums Chart ABPD 1 13
European Albums Chart IFPI 1
Finnishmarker Top 40 Albums IFPI ÄKT 14 31 26
Frenchmarker Top 200 Albums Chart IFOP 21
Germanmarker Top 40 Album Chart Media Control 1 12
Greekmarker Albums Chart IFPI 3
Greekmarker International Albums Chart IFPI 1 19
Hungarianmarker Top 40 Albums Mahasz 22
Irish Albums Chart IRMA 1 1 3
Italianmarker Albums Top 100 FIMI 5 23
Japanmarker Oricon Album Chart RIAJ 5 64
Mexican Top 100 Albums Chart AMPROFON 69
Netherlands NVPI Album Chart Megacharts/NVPI 3
New Zealand RIANZ Album Chart RIANZ 1 14
Norwegianmarker Albums Top 40 VG-lista 10
Polishmarker Top 50 Albums OLiS 4
Portugalmarker Albums Top 30 AFP 12
Spanishmarker Top 100 Albums PROMUSICAE 26
Swedenmarker Albums Top 60 Sverigetopplistan 2 30
Switzerlandmarker Albums Top 100 Media Control 1 9
UK Albums Chart BPI/OCC 1 2 4
U.S. Billboard 200 RIAA 1 19
World
IFPI
1
34
6


Certifications and sales


Worldwide Sales: 7,000,000+
Chart Certification Sales
Australian ARIA Albums Chart Platinum 70,000+
Austrian Albums Chart Platinum 20,000
Belgian Album Chart Gold 15,000
Canadian Albums Chart Platinum 40,000
Europe Platinum Awards 2x Platinum 3,500,000+
French Top 200 Albums Chart Gold 75,960+
German Top 40 Album Chart Platinum 200,000+
Greek Albums Chart Gold 7,500+
Hungarian Top 40 Albums Gold 3,000
Irish Albums Chart 7× Platinum (standard edition)

4× Platinum (Deluxe Edition)

11× Platinum (total)
105,000 (standard edition)

60,000(deluxe edition)

165,000 (total)
Italian Albums Top 100 Platinum 108,221+
Japan Oricon Album Chart Gold 154,206
New Zealand Album Chart Platinum 15,000+
Philippines(Sony BMG Philippines) Gold 10,000+
Polish Top 50 Albums Gold 10,000+
Russia Album Chart Gold 10,000
Spanish Top 100 Albums 20,000+
Sweden Albums Top 60 Gold 20,000
Switzerland Albums Top 100 2x Platinum 40,000
UK Albums Chart 9× Platinum 2,812,524
U.S. Billboard 200 Platinum 1,558,966
  • Note: Sales includes sales of the deluxe edition.


Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
Ireland 9 November 2007 Syco Music CD, Digital download 88697185262
United Kingdom 12 November 2007
Sweden 23 January 2008 Sony BMG 88697222432
New Zealand 25 January 2008
Italy
Taiwan
Germany
Switzerland
Korea 8803581113907
Australia 26 January 2008 88697222432
Hong Kong 28 January 2008
Greece
Poland
Singapore
Spain 19 February 2008 886972224329
France 10 March 2008 88697222432
China 9787799427188A
Mexico 24 March 2008 886972224329
United States 8 April 2008 J Records 88697025542
Canada Sony BMG
Japan 23 April 2008 BMG Japan CD / CD+DVD BVCP24129
Brazil 24 April 2008 Sony BMG CD 88697222432
Australian Edition 6 September 2008 CD 88697367672
Australia (Deluxe Edition) 8 November 2008 CD/ CD+DVD 88697359692
Europe / Latin America (Deluxe Edition) 14 November 2008
United Kingdom (Deluxe Edition) 17 November 2008 Syco Music
Mexico (Deluxe Edition) Sony BMG
Japanmarker (Deluxe Edition) 19 November 2008 BMG Japan
United States (Deluxe Edition) 3 February 2009 J Records
Canadamarker (Deluxe Edition) Sony BMG


References

  1. Biggest Selling albums of 2008 (Worldwide) IFPI
  2. UK Songstress worthy of the hype on sparkling debut IGN, 23 April 2008
  3. Leona Lewis Makes Big Splash Atop Billboard 200
  4. Mariah Carey Remains Atop Billboard 200
  5. Leona Lewis SHM-CD Spirit
  6. Leona Lewis - Spirit - austriancharts.at
  7. Canoe -- JAM! Music
  8. Album Jahrescharts 2008 mtv.de
  9. http://www.ifpi.gr/chart01_annual.htm
  10. Mexican Top 100 Albums Chart - 11th September 2008
  11. Mexican Charts: Leona Lewis - Spirit
  12. Biggest Selling albums of 2007 (Worldwide) IFPI
  13. Austrian Database
  14. Gold & Platinum Certification Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), May 2008
  15. Westlife dominate IFPI Platinum Awards IFPI Platinum Europe Awards - Q3 2008
  16. Les Certifications disqueenfrance.com
  17. 75,960 in 2008
  18. Leona Lewis
  19. Azatbasis mahasz.hu
  20. MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS : Rico B bumps into his past Philippine Daily Inquirer; 9 July 2008
  21. International 2007 2m-online.ru
  22. SVERIGES OFFICIELLA TOPPLISTA
  23. http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/Search.aspx
  24. Recording Industry Association of America RIAA Certified Platinum on 27 June 2008
  25. Play Portal - Music, Videos, Dramas, Radio
  26. Amazon.fr
  27. Spirit【CD】-Leona Lewis/音楽/HMV
  28. Spirit【CD】-Leona Lewis/音楽/HMV
  29. Spirit: Australian Edition Sanity
  30. LEONA'S NEW SPIRIT auspOp, 14 October 2008
  31. Spirit UK re-release Leona Lewis
  32. Spirit - Complete Version hmv.co.jp
  33. Leona Lewis To Release Deluxe Version Of 'Spirit' Starpulse, 9 January 2009



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