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Last Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008, 08:00 GMT
Leona Lewis: US number one incredible
By Maddy Savage
Newsbeat reporter

Leona Lewis
Last year Lewis signed a 5m record deal in the US

Leona Lewis says being the first British woman to make it to number one in the American pop charts for more than 20 years is "incredible".

The 22-year-old has told Newsbeat that it is hard to believe her single Bleeding Love has done so well.

She said: "I do find myself having those pinch-me moments. People have really believed in me."

The track, which was last year's best-selling single in the UK, was released in the US six weeks ago.

Kim Wilde was the last UK female to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with her 1987 cover version of the Supremes hit You Keep Me Hangin' On.

Leona Lewis said she was only two at the time: "I don't really remember her stuff."

Boost from Oprah

Apart from getting a US number one, the X Factor winner told us her highlight from the last week was meeting her hero Oprah Winfrey.

Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis recorded Sport Relief song Footprints In The Sand
She said: "I never, ever thought I'd be on Oprah, that was an achievement in itself!

"She's a great lady, really charitable and inspirational. It meant a lot to me."

It is claimed download and mobile phone track sales soared after her appearance on the show, along with her agent Simon Cowell.

Leona thinks it is her hard work and choice of tracks that has caused her to have success in the States, where so many other UK artists have failed.

She said: "People have really believed in me and connected with the songs and with what I'm doing."

Throat rumours untrue

Any rumours she is taking a rest because of throat problems are untrue.

Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis released new single Better In Time on 10 March
She said: "A sore throat is a sore throat! But because I am a singer people blow it out of proportion.

"I am not having an operation. I have had tonsillitis about a million times though."

There are still no immediate plans for a UK or US tour.

She has concerts coming up in Australia and Japan in the next few weeks but says she does want to perform here when she can.

She said: "Hopefully soon. I can't wait to go on tour. I am looking forward to that so much."

US chart triumph for Leona Lewis
Thursday, 27 March 2008, 15:40 GMT |  Entertainment
Leona Lewis does Sport Relief in South Africa
Monday, 10 March 2008, 10:46 GMT |  Entertainment
In pictures: Leona Lewis in South Africa
Monday, 10 March 2008, 15:13 GMT |  Entertainment

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