Leona Lewis’s first single from her forthcoming album “Echo” serves as a shot across the bow to those who have come before her that there is a new diva on the scene and she will not go quietly. The opening strings and upfront vocals of “Happy” recall Sinead O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s “”Nothing Compares 2 U.”
The song then explodes into a melodramatic, full-on production to great effect. Following the success of “Bleeding Love” and “Better in Time,” from her 2007 album, “Spirit,” Lewis shows herself to be a real vocal talent to be reckoned with. The mid-tempo ballad, written by Lewis, E. Kidd Bogard and “Bleeding Love” co-authored Ryan Tedder, cautions about being a spectator in one’s own life.
Lewis, winner of Britain’s talent contest, “The X Factor,” worships at the altars of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston and she could prove to be a worthy successor, although it’s clear that neither one of them is ready to hang up their crowns yet. Like those two, restraint is hardly in Lewis’s canon and there’s a point in “Happy” where she attempts the “calling-all-dogs” kind of shrill high note that Carey specializes in that does no one any good. B
ut otherwise, it’s a strong performance that shows she is far from a one-hit wonder. (“Better in Time” peaked at No. 11, so in our mind, the jury was still out).