After years of looking for the next big thing, Simon says he's found his favorite discovery. Leona Lewis, the winner of the third season of The X Factor, British television's version of American Idol, has been compared to great American singers like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey...not too shabby for a 22-year-old.
Music has always been Leona's passion. Her parents struggled to send her to the prestigious Brit School—which has produced scores of British recording artists including Grammy winner Amy Winehouse. Later, Leona worked as a waitress and receptionist to help pay for studio time.
On the The X Factor, Leona established herself as the shining star among a field of 24. After winning the competition, she signed a recording contract with Simon and music mogul Clive Davis.
Her first single, "A Moment Like This," was downloaded 50,000 times in just 30 minutes—a world record-setting pace!