Leona Lewis: 'The Truth Keeps My Head Straight'

06/16/2008 at 09:55 AM EDT

Leona Lewis: 'The Truth Keeps My Head Straight'
F Micelotta/American Idol 2008/Getty
British pop star Leona Lewis is neither a diva nor a train wreck – and she owes it all to her family and friends.

"I have the advantage of a great support structure," the singer tells Parade magazine in its June 15 issue. "I get honest opinions from my family and friends. They aren't always telling me what I want to hear, but the truth helps keep my head straight."

It's the kind of straight talk that's kept Lewis grounded and contributed to her squeaky clean image – unlike that of fellow Brit singer Amy Winehouse, who is in constant rotation in the tabloids for her behavior.

"Amy is an amazing artist and so talented," Lewis says when asked how a young performer manages to avoid the kind of train wreck Winehouse seems to have become. "A performer's privacy is taken away. The media are always there. You can't make your mistakes in private."

But Lewis, 23, seems to be handling everything in stride. She has been in the spotlight since winning Britain's Idol show, The X Factor, where she took home more than the title. The "Bleeding Love" singer also got in the good graces of sharp-tongued American Idol judge and X Factor creator Simon Cowell, who alongside music mogul Clive Davis, she calls "like uncles."

Their music magic seems to be working, because her album Spirit became the biggest-selling debut by a female artist since Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts in 2005. And she is being compared to the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, to which she isn't complaining.

"It's amazing," she tells the magazine. "It's exceedingly gratifying, because they're so great."

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