In a year crowded with holiday releases, Leona Lewis has managed to monopolize my attention with her gangbusters Christmas single “One More Sleep,” the sparkliest and most exhilarating slice of Yuletide pop in a long minute. Her holiday LP Christmas, With Love is so good, in fact, that it’s actually dropping in the United States (out December 3 via RCA Records, but available for pre-order now) — not a bad coup, given that her last studio album Glassheart regrettably never saw a stateside release. (I maintain that the title track would have been a radio smash from now until eternity, but that’s just me.)
I caught up with the songstress via phone to talk about her latest release, as well as the issues that really matter to readers: How the outspoken animal rights activist (and my personal favorite person on Twitter) feels about various creatures, both real and mystical.
Talk to me about your amazing single, “One More Sleep.”
For me the song came about because since I’m touring, Christmastime is the one time that I get to come home and see my family and see my friends. It’s about feeling the childlike excitement of getting to come home for Christmas.
There’s a few other original songs on the record, too — “Your Hallelujah” and “Mr. Right.” What are those about?
“Mr. Right”! All my friends really want to have a boyfriend for Christmas. They just want to have someone at the time. I’ve been through that before — you want to have someone to snuggle up to. Some of them go for guys that are so wrong for them, but they do it because of the time of year. I’m not doing that. I’m waiting for the right person to come around. “Your Hallelujah” wasn’t written for Christmas, but it turned into a Christmas song.
What’s your favorite cover on the album?
I’d say “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.” It’s just mad. I loved recording it because it was just me and my three girls who were in the studio with me. It was one of my favorite Christmas songs when I was growing up.
Are you shooting a music video for “One More Sleep”?
I did a video for it, actually. It should be out, like, next week. We were supposed to go to Austria, because we thought it had snowed there, but for some reason Austria has no snow right now.
Glassheart is such a good pop album. Why didn’t you release it in America?
I recorded the whole album in London and we never really planned for a global release, so we released it in the UK and in Europe. Publicly, I would have loved it to be released there, but it just didn’t happen. Actually, it was really great because it gave me the chance to go to Europe and tour, which I had never done before. It worked out for the best in the end.
I love your tweets. Can we talk about a few specific ones, like the one about starfish and seahorses?
When I see starfish I get goosebumps. This also happens with seahorses, I lose my mind I love them so much it makes me want to cry
— Leona Lewis (@leonalewismusic) September 3, 2012
Oh my God. Yeah. I literally love starfish. Here in the UK, we don’t really get starfish. I’d never seen one in real life. Only in pictures. I went to this place called Turks and Caicos one time, and I saw the biggest starfish I’d ever seen — well, the only starfish I’d ever seen. But the biggest one. I’ve never even seen pictures of a starfish this big. I actually lost my mind. I was crying. I was waving. I wouldn’t let the starfish go. The man was like, “You have to put it back in the ocean now.” I don’t know why. I just become a crazy person whenever I see starfish. I’ve never seen a seahorse either, but again, I’m obsessed with them.
You’ve never seen a seahorse?
I’ve never seen one in real life.
I feel like we need to make that happen for you.
But I don’t like to see animals in captivity. I don’t really go to Sea World or stuff like that. But I know if I did, I would see them. So I’m really torn as to whether I should go see a seahorse or not.
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