Leona Lewis: I Am

Posted October 11, 2015 by in Pop



3.5/ 5


Producer: ,
Genre: Pop
Producer: Toby Gad, Kevin Anyaeji, James Eliot, Naughty Boy, TMS, Eg White, Wayne Wilkins
Label: Island, Def Jam
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 35:35
Release Date: 11 September 2015
Spin This: "Thunder," "Ladders"


Ballads, Adele soul, a dance track and transparency in lyrics make this a fruitful adventure for Lewis


Gad's selection of music often sound like pale imitations of what's been done before on others

Leona Lewis’s fourth studio album exposes changes with new label and production work by “All of Me” producer

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Leona Lewis’s fourth studio album exposes changes with new label and production work by “All of Me” producer

“Bleeding Love” was the song that turned Leona Lewis into an international household name. Since then, the greatness of theĀ X-Factor (UK) winner has been confined to her native land. Music critics were proping her up to become the next Mariah Carey, but that overture of praise has been diminished by her limited success in the US. Now free from Simon Cowell’s Syco label and now firmly planted in Def Jam, Lewis is hoping that a reinvention will spur new beginnings for her career. I Am, the first album birthed from the exodus, finds her teaming up with Toby Gad (Jessie J, Beyonce, Carly Rae Jepsen). Gad is a hit-or-miss producer, but lucked up recently with John Legend’s latest opus “All of Me,” a chart-topping song he also co-wrote.

I Am is entirely in Gad’s control, and it covers a lot of ground. It finds her drapped around Adele soul (“Fire Under My Feet”), Diane Warren balladry (“You Knew Me When”) and coming-of-age drama (“I Am”). A good dose of midtempo power ballads make up the set, with “The Essence of Me”,” the angelic “Power” and the warm family tribute of “Thank You” leading the path. “Thank you for seeing the worst of me/The angel underneath, thank you,” she sings as she goes for syurpy inspirational poetry like Whitney did on “I Look to You” and Mariah did on “Fly Like a Bird.” But don’t get the wtong impression; Lewis isn’t oversaturated with the predictable slow ballads. On “Ladders,” Lewis sounds like she’s climbing the same ladder of transcendent electro that Sam Smith encountered on “Latch.” It’s not as dreamy or catchy, but hearing Lewis on something clubby speaks to the power of ambition and change.

It’s relatlvely a short set (ten tracks in all), but it feels pretty void of bad tracks. That’s very good news. It’s just thatĀ I Am sounds so familiar to the ear, even though it may sound relatively new on Lewis. The sounds have been done before on others, which undermines her homework here.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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