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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 08:46 GMT
Lewis makes footprints in States
By Liam Allen
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

The video shoot for Leona Lewis's new single, Better In Time, comes at the end of a tiring but momentous week.

Leona Lewis on the video shoot
Leona Lewis is nominated for four Brit Awards
While the UK woke up on Monday to the news of Amy Winehouse's quintuple award success at the Grammys, fewer Britons were aware of Lewis's lower-profile Grammy adventure.

While Winehouse picked up her trophies via a satellite link from London, Lewis was in Los Angeles.

"I got invited to sing at the pre-Grammy party," she says, referring to the annual Beverly Hilton Hotel bash held by the music mogul Clive Davis, who also happens to be Lewis's US label boss.

"Just to go there with Clive and to be introduced to Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson - Alicia Keys was there as well... To be amongst all those people was really special," she says.

The appearance was the opening salvo in Lewis's campaign for US stardom. The 22-year-old hopes to emulate Winehouse's Grammy success after her debut album is released there in April.

Amy Winehouse celebrates her Grammy success
Lewis says she would love to emulate Winehouse's US success
"Everyone would love to have her achievements," she admits.

In the UK, however, the two singers are roughly on par.

Winehouse had the top selling album in the UK last year - shifting 1.85 million copies of Back to Black.

But Lewis's Spirit was a close second, notching up 1.59 million sales in just two months.

Both singers have been dubbed the best voice of their generation despite having very different sounds - Lewis's smooth controlled power contrasts with Winehouse's rugged soul timbre.

But similarities between the two are less striking than their differences.

ACHIEVEMENTS
A Moment Like This - Fastest-selling female debut single selling 600,000 in first week in December
Bleeding Love - Top-selling single of 2007, 489,153 copies
Spirit - Fastest-selling UK debut album of all time selling 375,872 copies first week
Aesthetically, Winehouse, complete with tattoos and unkempt beehive hairdo, looks rough and ready while Lewis exudes polished, styled glamour.

Winehouse's current stint in rehab is the latest episode and a long and very public battle with drug addiction.

Teetotal Lewis, meanwhile, has the sort of wholesome clean-cut image that has had top designers falling over themselves to provide her with a frock for next week's Brit awards - where she is nominated in four categories, including best single and best breakthrough act.

The ceremony is the next milestone in Lewis's short but already record-breaking career.

I was in the audience at the Brits when I was 14 so to be actually performing on stage is a real achievement
Leona Lewis
"I'm excited about the Brits," she says. "I'm excited about performing.

"I was in the audience when I was 14 so to be actually performing on stage is a real achievement."

But while there is much to look forward to, Lewis - wearing a sequinned 25,000 Versace couture dress - must now get ready for the umpteenth take of yet another scene on the second day of her video shoot.

The song will be released on 10 March as a double A-side with Footprints in the Sand, which is this year's Sport Relief song.

Sponsored mile

Making videos is still a relatively new experience for Lewis, but her record label's head of video, Michael O'Keefe, says the singer has been "keen to learn and take on ideas".

Leona Lewis returns to X Factor
Lewis returned to X Factor as a guest last year
The video, directed by Sophie Muller - who previously worked with Gwen Stefani, The Killers and Coldplay - takes its inspiration from fashion photography, with Lewis performing in front of "unrelated photographic set-ups", he adds.

The clip for Better In Time's flipside, Footprint in the Sand, will be shot when Lewis visits orphanages in South Africa to find out about Sport Relief's work in poverty-stricken communities.

She flies out to Africa immediately after the Brits.

"We're going to Africa to make sure that there keeps on being awareness," she said.


Just playing at the pre-Grammys party with Clive Davis - I had to keep pinching myself then

Leona Lewis
"Footprints was actually a poem and it's about standing by someone and being there for people who need your help."

As we part company, I remind Lewis that, the last time she spoke to the BBC News website in October, she described her post-X Factor success as "a whirlwind".

Had anything changed, I wondered?

"There's always something different and new going on," she says.

"Just playing at the pre-Grammys party with Clive Davis - I had to keep pinching myself then.

"I don't think it's ever something I could get used to."

Footprints in the Sand / Better In Time is released on 10 March.

SEE ALSO
Brit Awards take pick of the pops
15 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Take That lead Brit nominations
14 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Winehouse and Lewis head charts
31 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Singer Lewis grabs record debut
19 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Lewis hit song is 2007 top seller
12 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Grammy glory for absent Winehouse
11 Feb 08 |  Entertainment

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