Christmas, with Love

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Christmas, with Love
Album cover with a neutral background, with nine alternate images of a female (Lewis) making various faces; her name written in green text, with the album title written in red. Also features the track list of the album.
Studio album by Leona Lewis
Released 29 November 2013 (2013-11-29)
Recorded 2013
Genre Christmas
Label
Producer
Leona Lewis chronology
  • Christmas, with Love
  • (2013)
Singles from Christmas, with Love
  1. "One More Sleep"
    Released: 5 November 2013

Christmas, with Love is a Christmas album and the fourth studio album by British recording artist Leona Lewis. It was released on 29 November 2013, by Syco Music and RCA Records. Work on the album began in February 2013, during which Lewis began writing "immediately" after the release of her less-commercially-successful album Glassheart (2012). In June 2013, it was revealed (and later confirmed) that Lewis' fourth studio album would be a Christmas album, based on the recommendation of Syco boss Simon Cowell. Lewis enlisted two producers for the album: Richard "Biff" Stannard and Ash Howes, with Lewis herself contributing to the album's production.

Upon release, "Christmas, with Love" was met with positive reviews from critics, praising the album's original songs. Other critics noted the album as "one of the best modern Christmas albums in memory." Initially, the album charted at twenty five in the United Kingdom, becoming Lewis' lowest-charting album to date; the following week, the album rose to number thirteen on the chart.

The album was preceded by one single "One More Sleep", which was released on 5 November 2013 and debuted at number 34 of the UK Charts. Lewis promoted the album through a large amount of live performances, including the Regent Street Christmas lights switch-on event in London, England and on tenth series of The X Factor; this lead to the song rising to number 3, which in turn made it Lewis' highest-charting single since 2009's Happy.

Background and recording[edit]

Simon Cowell (pictured) came up with the idea for Lewis to record a Christmas album.[1]

In February 2013, a representative from Syco Music, Lewis' record label, announced that she was about to start writing and recording material "imminently" for her fourth studio album, and that it would be released in late 2013.[2] The news came after Lewis announced that she had parted ways from Modest! Management, the management team who had represented her since she won the third series of The X Factor in 2006.[2] Various media outlets speculated that this was due to the weak commercial performance of her third studio album, Glassheart, which was released in November 2012. It became her first album to not debut at number one or earn platinum certification in the United Kingdom.[2] It was also reported that the second single from the album, "Lovebird", had sold fewer than 600 copies, meaning it failed to attain one of 200 chart positions on the UK Singles Chart, was another contributing factor to her departure.[2][3]

In June 2013, speculation arose that Lewis' fourth album would in fact be a Christmas album, after British production duo MagicIT tweeted that they were in a studio recording Christmas songs with the singer.[4] The following month, Lewis confirmed that she was indeed in the process of recording a Christmas album.[1][5] She revealed that it was recorded on the recommendation of Syco boss Simon Cowell.[1][5] Speaking about the decision to record a Christmas album at this point in her career in July 2013, further explained how Cowell had come up with the idea: "Simon is still very much involved in my career and helps me out. He came up with the Christmas album idea, and we both kind of felt it was the right time to go ahead with it."[6]

Lewis described the song selection process as being easy and that she knew which songs she wanted to include on the album despite there being many traditional Christmas carols, hymns and songs to choose from, saying "They are all Christmas tracks that I love and I went through the process of picking Christmas songs that I'd always listened to."[7] In an interview for Billboard magazine in November 2013, Lewis stated that she had thought about doing a Christmas album for a while, but did not intend on releasing one in for Christmas 2013, as she thought her she would be writing and recording the follow up to Glassheart instead after she had finished her Glassheart Tour, which lasted from April to July and saw her tour Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, she decided that she wanted to do something "a bit different" instead.[8] Recording sessions began during the summer in Brighton, England; speaking about recording Christmas songs during the heatwave that struck the country, Lewis said "We turned up the A/C, basically."[8] Lewis unveiled the artwork for Christmas, with Love on 4 November 2013. It has a vintage theme, which includes the track list on the front cover, as well as nine different photos of Lewis posing with various Christmas objects.[9]

Composition[edit]

Lewis revealed the album's track list on 4 November 2013. It comprises three original songs co-written by Lewis, "One More Sleep", "Mr Right" and "Your Hallelujah", and seven covers.[9][10] Lewis stated that Christmas, with Love is inspired by Motown music, but that she "wanted to step out of the genre".[11] Lewis cited her reasoning for recording an album which is Motown inspired without recording any Motown genre songs as being that she nor the writers she was working with had written a Christmas song before, and that she "wanted to capture that."[11]

Singles and other charted songs[edit]

"One More Sleep" was released as the lead single from Christmas, with Love. It was co-wrriten by Lewis with Richard "Biff" Stannard, Iain James, Jez Ashurst and Bradford Ellis, and produced by Stannard and Howes. Lewis carried out the vocal production with Stannard and Howes, too.[12] It was released in the United States on 5 November 2013,[13] and in Ireland and the United Kingdom on 29 November.[14][15] Due to strong digital sales upon the release of the album in Ireland, Lewis' rendition of "O Holy Night" entered the Irish Singles Chart at number 86 for the week ending 14 December 2013.[16]

Release and promotion[edit]

Christmas, with Love was released on 29 November 2013 in Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.[14][17][18] It was followed by the United Kingdom on 2 December,[19] Canada, Italy and the United States on 3 December.[13][20][21] In the US, Lewis autographed a limited amount of Christmas, with Love album covers which were made available to people who pre-ordered a copy on Walmart online.[22] Throughout November, Lewis embarked on a radio and print promotional tour in the UK and gave interviews about the album with various radio stations, magazines and newspapers, including Heat magazine,[23] Radar magazine,[24] and the Daily Mirror.[25]

Lewis embarked on a promotional tour across Europe prior to the album's release. On 9 November 2013, Lewis performed "One More Sleep" and "White Christmas" for the first time at the Regent Street Christmas lights switch-on event in London, England.[26] Other musical performers included Passenger and Eliza Doolittle.[27] On 22 November, the singer gave a free concert in Zurich, Switzerland, at the NRJ Energy Stars for Free Festival in front of audience of 13,000 people.[28] Lewis performed "Winter Wonderland" live for the first time on Daybreak in the UK on 29 November 2013, where she was also interviewed about the album.[29] The following evening, Lewis performed a short set at London's G-A-Y nightlcub.[30] In the United States, Lewis appeared on NBC's Today morning show on 4 December in New York City to talk about the album.[31] On the same day, she performed at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting event, where she performed "White Christmas", "One More Sleep" and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday".[32][33] The following day on 5 December, Lewis made an appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael.[34] Lewis performed "One More Sleep" live at the semi-finals of the tenth series of The X Factor on 8 December 2013.[35]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[36]
Female First 4/5 stars[37]
The Gay UK 4/4 stars[38]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[39]
Knoxville.com 4/5 stars[40]
So So Gay (5.8/10)[41]
Virgin Media 2/5 stars[42]

The album received generally favourable reviews from critics, with some praising Leona for her vocals but not the material produced. Alexis Petridis from The Guardian gave the album two out of five stars and praised its three original songs. He called "Your Halleujah" a "spectral ballad", and said that "One More Sleep" and "Mr Right" were "enjoyable", but said that covers of songs such as "Chrismas (Baby Please Come Home)" and "Winter Wonderland" were "tinged with a sense of pointlessness".[39] AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying "she gets a greater chance to sing here than she did on her third album, Glassheart, which is reason enough to enjoy the album, but better still is that the Spector salute largely works." and commenting " It's one of the best modern Christmas albums in memory."[36]

Commercial performance[edit]

In Ireland, Christmas, with Love debuted at number 45 for the week ending 5 December 2013,[43] and rose to number 36 the following week.[44] In the United Kingdom, Music Week writer Paul Williams released a midweek chart reveal on 5 December stating that the album was currently at number 18 on the UK Albums Chart. Williams wrote that the album would be Lewis' lowest charting release to date, following Spirit, number one in 2007; Echo, number one in 2009; and Glassheart, number three in 2012.[45] However, the album officially debuted at number 25 on the chart on 8 December,[46] and at number 10 on the UK Digital Chart on the same day.[47] In its second week, Christmas, With Love rose to number 13 on the UK Albums Chart.[48] In Scotland, the album debuted at number 29,[49] and number 42 in Switzerland.[50] Christmas, With Love debuted at 113 on the US Billboard 200 chart,[51] and number 37 on the US Holiday Albums chart.[52]

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced by Richard "Biff" Stannard and Ash Howes, with vocal production from Stannard, Howes and Leona Lewis.[36][53]

Christmas, with LoveStandard edition (CD Catalogue #B00G48OFXU)[17]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "One More Sleep"  
  • Leona Lewis
  • Richard Stannard
  • Iain James
  • Jez Ashurst
  • Bradford Ellis
3:59
2. "Winter Wonderland"   2:24
3. "White Christmas"   3:09
4. "Your Hallelujah"  
4:14
5. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"   2:37
6. "Mr Right"  
  • Leona Lewis
  • Richard Stannard
  • Camille Purcell
  • Jez Ashurst
  • Ash Howes
3:14
7. "O Holy Night"   2:53
8. "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"   3:51
9. "Ave Maria"  
4:00
10. "Silent Night"   2:19

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Germany[17] 29 November 2013 Sony
Ireland[14]
Switzerland[18]
United Kingdom[19] 2 December 2013 Syco
Canada[20] 3 December 2013 RCA
Italy[21] Sony
United States[13] RCA

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d Rainbird, Ashleigh (15 February 2013). "Leona Lewis in 'amicable split' from her management company". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Corner, Lewis (21 December 2012). "Leona Lewis Fails to Make Top 200 with New Single Lovebird". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Corner, Lewis (21 June 2013). "Leona Lewis to release Christmas album?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Corner, Lewis (4 July 2013). "Leona Lewis talks "Motown" Christmas album". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Lanksy, Sam (8 July 2013). "Leona Lewis Plans Motown-Inspired Christmas Album". idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Thistlewaithe, Felicity (24 November 2013). "'Fatherhood will turn Simon soft,' says close friend Leona Lewis... as she exclusively reveals stunning album track Ave Maria". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (14 November 2013). "Leona Lewis: Christmas LP Has Provided 'New Inspiration' For Next Album". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Copsey, Robert (4 November 2013). "Leona Lewis unveils new album 'Christmas, With Love' artwork". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
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  11. ^ a b Willis, Tania (26 November 2013). "Leona Lewis shows off a slimmer shape in an optical illusion style coat on radio visit in Manchester". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
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  56. ^ "British album certifications – Leona Lewis – Christmas with love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 22 July 2014.  Enter Christmas with love in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go