Leona Lewis admits to being a “bit of a nerd” and reveals her most personal song

Superstars Leona Lewis and Labrinth had a Hackney homecoming at the Radio 1 Academy, where they shared their thoughts on fame and making it in the music business.

While Earthquake hitman Labrinth - real name Timothy McKenzie - said he got into trouble at school because he was “one of the rebels without a cause,” Leona admitted to being a “bit of a nerd.”

“I kind of used to get bullied a little bit so I was more like focusing on music because that was something I could channel all my energy into,” she said.

“It’s just different paths but you have to be focused and dedicated to what you are doing because that’s the only way it’s going to happen,” the 2006 X-Factor talent show winner told the audience.

She was asked which of her songs “touched” herself the most.

“The most personal song was Yesterday on my first album, it means a lot to me and my father, that was the most I’ve ever spoken about deep and emotional things,” she said.

“I didn’t know if I really wanted to put it on the album but in the end my dad persuaded me to,” she said.

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Labrinth, who is a producer and artist, revealed his dream collaboration would be Aretha Franklin with Answer My Prayer.

“If I could just take that woman from that time and work with her I’d be, “Yes man,”” said the 22-year old, who was born in Homerton Hospital and grew up in Clapton

One member of the audience asked: “How do you get into the industry, like where do you go?”

“I love that, it’s like you go to the job centre and say I’d like to be a pop star,”” laughed Labrinth.

“No it doesn’t work like that, it’s very much about word of mouth and about getting in contact with the right people, some people become you tube sensations like Justin Bieber who’s now one of the biggest artists in the world, people will find their own way, your way in is you.”

Leona was asked how she felt about being famous in America.

“The first time I realised something was happening I was in a car on my way to do an interview and the guy that was driving the car was singing, and I was like, “That’s my song,” she said laughing.

“He wouldn’t have known who I was but he was singing the song and it freaked me out.”

Young people said they been inspired by the seeing the two talents in the flesh.

“Its good to see them outside music and it shows their personality,” said 20-year old Ellis Arnold.

“I thought they were really genuine and down to earth, they are just like normal people, every musical artist is an inspiration to everyone that wants to get into the industry,” said Mertcan Husseyn, 17, from Ballance Road.

The Academy runs until June 22 and the timetable can be seen on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01d77xq/features/academy-audiences

To participate email takeiton@bbc.co.uk

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