"The X Factor" U.K. 2006 winner Leona Lewis has parted ways with Syco Music (the record company co-owned by Simon Cowell and Sony Music) and has signed a deal with Island Records, one of Universal Music's labels. On June 3, 2014, Lewis made the announcement on her official Internet outlets (website, Facebook, Twitter). It has not yet been announced when Lewis' first music for Island Records will be released.
Lewis tweeted: "So happy to finally be able to share the amazing news that I have joined the @islandrecordsuk family! Excited for this next chapter..."
Cowell, who was Lewis' mentor on "The X Factor" U.K., tweeted this statement: "Congratulations Leona. We had seven great years together and now wish you all the best for the future. You put X Factor on the map."
In a press release, Lewis commented: "After seven incredible years at Sony, I feel honored to be given the opportunity to sign to perhaps the most iconic label of all, Island Records. To me Island has always been a label where artists can really flourish and are encouraged to express themselves. Island stands for quality music and signing with such a legendary label is really like a dream come true for me. I can't wait to start making music with my new team."
Island Records president Darcus Beese added, "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Leona into the Island family. I've watched and admired Miss Lewis from afar, witnessed her grow into one of this country's most formidable female artists; witnessed a girl from Hackney making and breaking records, topping the U.K. and U.S. charts, earning numerous Brit and Grammy nominations, while remaining true to herself and her principles. All the while maintaining a genuine down to earth appeal. Soon as the ink dries, it's on to the most exciting part of all, getting into the studio and making the record we know Leona has in her."
As part of her "X Factor" grand prize, Lewis won a record deal with Syco/Sony Music. (In the U.S., her music was released under the Syco/J Records and later under Syco/RCA Records, which are all owned by Sony Music.)
Lewis' last album released by Sony Music was also her first Christmas album — "Christmas, With Love," which was released in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 3, 2013. The album's release in Europe was on Dec. 2, 2013.
According to chart rankings announced by the Official Charts Company, "One More Sleep" (the first single from "Christmas, With Love") was a No. 3 hit in the U.K., while "Christmas, With Love" reached No. 13 on the album chart in the U.K.
In the U.S., sales for "One More Sleep" and "Christmas, With Love" have been dismal. "One More Sleep" failed to make it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while "Christmas, With Love" debuted at a lowly No. 113 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Although Lewis became the first international breakout star from "The X Factor," her music career has been in a slump recently. "Glassheart," her third studio album of new material, failed to go gold in the U.K., where it was released in 2012. Her first album, 2007's "Spirit" (featuring her biggest hit, "Bleeding Love") went 10 times platinum in the U.K., while her second album, 2009's "Echo" went double-platinum in the U.K.
"Glassheart" sold only about 70,000 copies in the U.K., which was enough for it to reach silver certification, but it is far below the sales that Lewis used to have. "Lovebird," the second single from "Glassheart," flopped in the U.K. and didn't make it onto the Top 100 singles chart.
There are no plans to release "Glassheart" in the United States. Lewis' previous single released in the U.S. was 2011's "Collide," which failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Collide" (a collaboration between Lewis and Avicii) was a No. 7 hit in the U.K.
In 2013, Lewis parted ways with Modest! Management, which represents several "X Factor" U.K. alumni, including One Direction, Olly Murs and Little Mix.
As previously reported, Lewis is making her movie debut in the musical/romantic comedy "Walking on Sunshine," which takes place in the 1980s. "Walking on Sunshine" (which briefly had the title "Holiday") is scheduled for a U.K. release on June 27, 2014. It is an independent movie produced by Vertigo Films. "Holiday" is directed by Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini, the duo behind the "StreetDance" franchise.
Lewis has the role of Elena in "Walking on Sunshine," whose plot involves a love triangle and a wedding. The movie's cast also includes Greg Wise, Katy Brand, Hannah Arterton, Annabel Scholey and Giulio Berruti. As of now, the movie is being planned for release a select number of countries in Europe and Asia. The movie does not yet have distribution in the U.S. and Canada.
Songs on the "Walking on Sunshine" soundtrack include Human League’s "Don’t You Want Me," Madonna’s "Holiday," Cyndi Lauper’s "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and Wham!’s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."
Filming of "Walking on Sunshine" took place in the U.K. and Italy in 2013. Lewis tweeted on Sept. 26, 2013, "'Im beyond excited to officially announce that I'm shooting my very first feature film! Its set in Italy and I get to sing in it too : D Just wrapped for the day! So excited for you guys to see this, such great moments being captured. Lucky to work with amazingly talented ppl”
Lewis is the latest of several former "X Factor" U.K. winners who are no longer with Syco Music/Sony Music. Here's an update on where these winners are at, in terms of their signing status:
Steve Brookstein ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2004): Dropped by Syco/Sony Music in 2005, after one album. He is still unsigned.
Shayne Ward ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2005): Dropped by Syco/Sony Music in 2011, after three albums. He is still unsigned.
Leona Lewis ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2006): Parted ways with Syco/Sony Music in 2014, after three albums released in the U.S. and Canada and four albums released in Europe. She is currently signed to Island Records, one of Universal Music's labels.
Leon Jackson ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2007): Dropped by Syco/Sony Music after one album. He is still unsigned.
Alexandra Burke ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2008): Parted ways with Sony Music in 2013, after two albums. She is still unsigned.
Joe McElderry ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2009): Dropped by Syco/Sony Music in 2011, after one album. He is currently signed to Decca Records, one of Universal Music's labels.
Matt Cardle ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2010): Parted ways with Syco/Columbia Records/Sony Music after one album. He now self-releases his own music.
Little Mix ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2011): Still signed to Syco/Sony Music.
James Arthur ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2012): Still signed to Syco/Sony Music. [UPDATE: On June 11, 2014, Arthur announced he is no longer with Syco, which released only one album by Arthur. Click here for more details.]
Sam Bailey ("The X Factor" U.K. winner in 2013): Still signed to Syco/Sony Music.