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The split in question was from not a lover but a far more significant other, namely Simon Cowell – Mephistophelean music impresario, kingmaker and chart-breaker.
After clinching the third X Factor in 2006 and becoming the show’s first true star (the winners of series one and two: Steve Brookstein and Shayne Ward), she signed a five-album deal with Cowell’s then-fledgling record label, Syco.
“It was a scary time because I hadn’t signed to another label and I didn’t know what the future held, and my fans were sending me messages wondering what was going on.
“It was all getting me down and the guy I was writing with suggested I put down my emotions, not in an artistic way, more like a diary.
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“A lot of the songs were about breaking up, endings and beginnings and empowerment,” she says, laughing.When it came to her next release, her management mooted an album of Motown-inspired covers. Disillusioned and dismayed that her (swooping mezzo-soprano) voice had been lost in a chorus of new signings, she felt she was no longer being heard.“My head was in a different space – I really wanted to do my own songs,” Lewis says as Stella’s east-London shoot winds down. At first they didn’t want me to go, and rumours were being put out that I was dropped, which was very upsetting.” As attested by her open letter, leaving was far from an easy decision.Her first original single, Bleeding Love, reached number one in 35 countries and was the 17th best-selling song of the 2000s in America.
But by her fourth album the stratospheric sales had faltered.
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