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Leona has singing lessons

Sunday 13 January 2008

Janet Edwards
She's the woman who has guided Leona Lewis's career since she was eight, helping her to win X Factor and go on to huge chart success. Now voice coach Janet Edwards, 55, is helping 22-year-old Leona once again... with more singing lessons.
Janet, speaking for the first time about her pupil's success, says she knew from that first day they met that Leona was special. Janet says Leona - whose album Spirit stayed at No 1 for eight weeks and sold 1.6million copies, making it the fastest - selling debut LP ever - has hardly changed since she bounded up to her door for the first time back in 1993 when she was eight years old. "She was this beautiful, quiet girl, but confident inside, like she is now. She wanted to be Mariah Carey," she says. "When she sang I knew straight away she was special. She had a beautiful voice and a lovely gentleness, which you see when you see her on TV."
Janet was persuaded to take the little girl on by Leona's mother Marie - even though she normally only works with adults. For 10 years, Leona would turn up for tutorials at Janet's townhouse in Hampstead - just seven miles but world's away from her home in tough Hackney, North London, where Leona still lives.
"She was such a happy, smiley girl I knew it all came from the heart," Janet says. "We'd do everything from a romantic Schumann to an Italian classical tune to a pop hit. We did a lot of Mariah Carey songs. At 12, she started writing her own songs and we'd compose together at the piano. She was a natural and her voice got stronger and stronger."

(excerpt from Sunday Mirror)

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