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TOP TEN 08′: #8 Brit Invasion ‘Leona, Estelle & More’

Leona Lewis, Estelle, Adele, and Duffy — four artists, four unique voices and four chart topping stars who dominated 2008 in what many have called the British Invasion. Making history in several ways Leona Lewis, Estelle, Adele, and Duffy, who were already successful overseas, crossed the ‘pond’ in 2008 to make stellar stateside debuts with their albums “Spirit,” “Shine,” “19,” and “Rockferry” respectively. Dubbed the new “Amys” in vein of Grammy Award winning “Back To Black” singer Amy Winehouse, the female British Invasion became historic in that U.S. pop stars such as Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and more recently Rihanna have dominated the charts both in the states and overseas — a feat that British stars had been unable to achieve in record numbers. With that said lets take a look at each of these phenomenal ladies; their accomplishments in 2008 and what is in store for them in 2009: Leona Lewis “Spirit” Arguably the most successful female star to cross international boundaries in decades, Leona Lewis became what some are calling the British ‘Mariah’ in 2008. Releasing her already fast-selling (UK and Ireland) debut album “Spirit,” led by the hit single “Bleeding Love” in April, Lewis broke records by becoming the first British solo artist to debut at no.1 on the Billboard 200. Notably releasing “Spirit” worldwide, Lewis’ debut has moved well over 5.4 million copies worldwide, with at least 1.2 million of those moved in the United States. While Lewis’ album was successful, the star’s singles charted just as well and were critically acclaimed. “Bleeding Love,” Lewis’ US debut single became the first track by a UK female to hit no.1 since Kim Wilde in 1987, it also held the no.1 spot on the Hot 100 for four non-consecutive weeks. Continuing her worldwide domination, Lewis snapped up several awards including a World Music Award for Best New Artist and an MTV Asia Award for Breakthrough Artist. Three singles later (Better In Time, Forgive Me, and Run), Leona Lewis is poised to continue pushing “Spirit” through early 2009 with the album’s fifth single “I Will Be” debuting in January. Lewis is also expected to hit the studio in 2009 for an as-yet-untitled sophomore album and World Tour. Estelle “Shine” Known widely for the massive hit “American Boy,” Grammy Award-nominated singer/rapper Estelle became a household name in 2008. After experiencing success with her 2004 European debut ‘The 18th Day’ in 2004, Estelle linked with John Legend’s ‘Homeschool’ imprint to release the worldwide debut ‘Shine’ in 2008. Led by the now Grammy-nominated single “American Boy,” which reached #1 in the UK and peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, Estelle’s “Shine” became one of 2008s top releases. “American Boy” was in fact certified Platinum on Dec. 12. While Estelle’s charting successes (“No Substitute Love,” “Pretty Please (Love Me),” “Come Over”) were notable, the singer’s greatest achievement in 2008 was a shortlist nod for the coveted Mercury Prize. Noted as an annual music prize for Best Album from the United Kingdom or Ireland, nominees for the coveted award are selected by a panel of musicians, executives, journalists and other noted industry figures, much like the Grammys but strickly based on content and not necessarily the charts. While Estelle did not win the prize, she as other prior nominees including Amy Winehouse, received worldwide recognition and arguably a boost in sales. In February Estelle is expected to attend the 51st Annual Grammy Awards where she is nominated for two awards including Song of the Year for “American Boy”. Adele ’19’ Citing legendary influences Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald, four-time Grammy-nominated singer Adele made a strong debut with “19” in 2008. Also nominated for a Mercury Prize, Adele’s stateside debut peaked at no.54 on the Billboard 200 chart. Released in June, “19” spawned the singles “Chasing Pavements” and “Hometown Glory,” the latter of which became the singer’s most popular single. Featured on hit television shows including ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘One Tree Hill,’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ “Hometown Glory” helped Adele land a Best New Artist nod at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. Adele is expected to attend the Grammys in February, where she is also nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Duffy “Rockferry” She captivated us with the hit single “Mercy” in 2008, but what some are unaware of is Duffy’s historical debut. Duffy’s “Mercy” made her the first Welsh female to achieve a number one pop single in the last decade. Certified Gold in the U.S., Duffy’s debut “Rockferry” earned praise from the World Music Awards, MOBO Awards and most recently the Grammy Awards. Slated to appear at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards with her aforementioned counterparts, Duffy will face off for Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The “Mercy” singer is also expected to release her as-yet-untitled sophomore project mid-late 2009. There you have it, ‘The British Female Invasion’ in full effect. Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson put it best, “They really broke open the door I think for a lot of other artists, even though I don’t think any of them sound the same.”

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