Leona Lewis has kept a pretty low profile the last few years. The last time we heard from the British pop diva, she had just released a Christmas album, Christmas, With Love, way back in 2013. After a bit of break, she’s preparing to release her new album, I Am, and is taking us to church on the first single “Fire Under My Fee.”
Written by Leona and Toby Gad, “Fire Under My Feet” is a very gospel-inspired song about overcoming life’s great challenges. No doubt, there is no other genre of music that will inspire your soul to get up, get out and get something quite like gospel. The songwriters understand this and lean heavily on all the trappings of a down home church revival, including hand-claps, foot-taps and some fancy organ work. If that doesn’t have you moving and groovy already and sweating like you stole something, the lyrics might do the trick. The chorus goes: "I got fire under my feet, and I feel it in my heartbeat/ You can't put out these flames/ You can't keep me down in my seat.”
The Declan Whitebloom-directed video starts off starkly with only Leona and that amazing voice against a plain backdrop. Soon the gospel organ and the drums kick in and the show starts. We experience a montage of people who are either facing their own trials and tribulations or who have overcome life’s great challenges. There is a runner with mechanical legs, a proud Native American, a traditional Muslim woman who just happens to be a genius mathematician, a couple of amazing dancers and albino model Shaun Ross. The treatment is not extraordinary nor original, however, the amazing cast knows how to tug at your heartstrings and make it work.
“Fire Under My Feet” is a classic anthemic pop song. It is catchy and fits Lewis’s voice, but also feels a bit formulaic, especially given its similarity to Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep.” Unfortunately, that unavoidable comparison also puts a damper on the song. It highlights Leona’s shortcomings as a singer, as she’s technically flawless but emotionally a little hollow. While Leona has improved and inspires you to get out of your seat, a talent like Adele forces you out of your seat. Either way, we see that Leona has some fire under her feet and she’s ready to go harder better, faster and stronger than before, taking her fans and the rest of us on the ride with her.