When recording music, Leona Lewis is typically drawn to material of the more aching, emotionally challenging variety. “Doing this completely took me out of that vein,” the singer admitted to ELLE.com, speaking giddily of her work on Christmas, With Love, the soulful British singer’s first holiday album, due on December 3. The 10-track LP was recorded this past summer in London less than a year after the 28-year-old released her third album, Glassheart. It incorporates Lewis’ Motown-esque vibes into such holiday classics as “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas,” and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.” She also recorded a trio of original holiday numbers, including the peppy first single “One More Sleep.” Lewis hopped on the line with us while in Switzerland to talk her favorite Christmas memories, Simon Cowell’s influence on the album, and the therapeutic exercise of singing holiday songs in the dead of summer.
I thought “Oh, this is going to be so weird. How am I going to feel Christmas-y?” First off, I recorded it in the U.K., which is not the sunniest [place]. Of course this summer was literally like the sunniest on record. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise because I started playing loads of Christmas songs and really kind of delving into all of these kind of classics. And I discovered some really amazing recordings that I probably never would have had I not had to really get into that kind of Christmas vibe.