By Kev Geoghegan
Leona Lewis performs during the MTV Asia Awards 2008
A small London-based record label is planning to release an album that Leona Lewis recorded before winning the third series of The X Factor in 2006.
UEG Music claim they spent around £70,000 trying to launch the 23-year-old, who is now signed to Sony BMG.
They have already released the album, called Best Kept Secret, in Japan and plan a UK release in January.
But Lewis's lawyers insist UEG does not have her consent or the rights to start selling the record.
UEG's Barry Bee has told Newsbeat his company had approached Lewis's new label after she won the TV talent contest.
He said: "We went to her and said, 'Look, we've got the album here, do you want to buy the rights?', and they refused.
"We had costs that we incurred and we needed to recoup them.
"So, as per the arrangements we have with all our artists, we put them out and they get a 50% share of any profits."
In an interview with Newsbeat in 2007, Lewis acknowledged the album's existence but seemed sure it would never see the light of day.
She said: "Like lots of people who want to be singers, I used to record stuff and put it down.
"But for me, it's just songs that I did to get experience in the studio and not songs I would release in that form.
Leona Lewis performs at the end of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing
"Obviously, they won't be released because it's not in their rights to do so because I never signed anything to say that they could be released."
The album even features a track called Private Party that became an underground hit on the urban music scene in 2005.
But Best Kept Secret isn't the only material Lewis recorded before she found fame.
She recorded another album, called Twilight, which was never released commercially - although she did perform some live tracks with Radio 1's Colin Murray in 2004.
UEG plan to release Best Kept Secret in the UK in January but rolled it out in Japan this July, where it sold more than 10,000 copies in its first week.
In a statement, Lewis's lawyers said: "This album is a rework of demo recordings that Leona did before she entered the X Factor.
"As far as we are concerned, UEG do not have either the right for these recordings to be released or Leona's consent for such a release.
"We are in the process of taking the appropriate action in relation to this.
But UEG's Barry Bee insisted the label was in control of the recordings.
He said: "We do have the rights. We had stuff out in 2004-2005.
"All we seek is acknowledgement and to let people hear what she did. It's good stuff."