Tuesday 11 October 2016

[Q&A] What happened to Leona Lewis' career

Everyone has an email address, me included. And since it's out there for all to hit me up on (heeeeey!), it's inevitable that I get questions sent to me regarding Divas. I'll be posting my answers to some of these questions under the new heading of Q&A.

Sometimes they'll be in-depth. Sometimes they'll be flippant. But one thing they'll always be is posted with the mailer's consent.

If you want to ask me a question for this segment, you can do so @Divadevotee on Twitter, or via email [divadevotee@gmail.com].

Leona Lewis is undoubtedly very talented yet very underrated. At one point (during her debut) she was the next big thing (she was compared to Whitney, Mariah and Celine) and many people speculated that she would eventually be legendary; now that seems quite unlikely. What went wrong in her career and please do you think she can get back to reigning on the charts? Thank you!

You're right! Leona Lewis is a great singer. She has range, technique and the ability to emote. So what went wrong; why is Leona Lewis' music career basically in the toilet?

I think there's a few reasons for this.

First up, Divas with big voices have gone out of fashion. Look at the chart now and you'll see no other singers favouring that style of "showy" vocalising, dominating. We of course still have Ariana Grande, but I'd argue she's managed to stay relevant due to her established Disney fanbase and her suggestive image. She also has youth and record label backing on her side- both things Leona doesn't.

Ariana's latest video shows how she's able to disguise her vocal abilities beneath image and production.

It would be remiss to talk Divas and charts without mentioning Adele, who is SLAYING EVERYONE, but I don't put her vocal styling in the same pigeon-hole as your Leonas/ Mariahs/Whitneys. Her style is closer to that heard in Country circles, being cleaner and less ornamented. Of course she does take from those Divas I've mentioned- held notes and volume- but she does so sparingly.

Listen to how direct Adele keeps her delivery.

Next up is Leona's fans, who she gained quickly thanks to the X-Factor. They were always a fickle bunch, caught in the hype of the show and her "journey". As the hubbub died, it was inevitable that sales would follow, with fair-weather fans moving on to the next big thing. It was up to Leona to retain interest once this started to happen, but she's never been one to court the tabloids or play the showbiz game to her advantage. Thus people lost interest.

And finally we come to the biggest thing, and something which can be the difference between  success and a flop: money! As her sales have declined, less money has been spent on her subsequent albums and their campaigns. With less financing comes less big name producers, less push and (usually) less sales.Barring a song going viral on its own accord, it's pretty hard to get a hit without monetary backing. And this is the position Leona finds herself currently in, being an independent artist.

Contrast the difference between Leona's first and last/current single. Do you think money has affected the overall package?

What Leona Lewis needs now is to cultivate a base in her own right and on her own terms. That seems to be what she's doing, impressing audiences in CATS. However, whether she has another massive hit in her future, akin to Bleeding Love, I doubt it. But I can definitely see her continuing to put out music for years to come, with moderate success. And I think she's ok with that.

But what do you think Leona Lewis could do to get people's attention again? And where did it go wrong?

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