The X Factor winner Leona Lewis has become the first British female solo artist to top the US pop chart in 21 years.

The 22-year-old former receptionist from Hackney, east London, has landed the Billboard Hot 100 chart No 1 with Bleeding Love.

The last British female solo artist to do the same was Kim Wilde in 1987, with her cover of the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On.

Leona’s success is also the first time in 27 years that a British female artist has debuted at No 1 in the US. That feat was last achieved in 1981 by Sheena Easton with Morning Train (Nine To Five). The only other British female artist to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 was Petula Clark with Downtown in 1965.

Bleeding Love has been No 1 in the US iTunes chart for two weeks. It first hit the top spot just before Leona made her first major US TV appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where the chat show host declared “A star is born” after hearing her sing live.

Simon Cowell, who’s masterminded the singer’s career since The X Factor, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Leona, what she has achieved in the past year is simply amazing. I am very very happy for her.”

Leona was signed to SyCo Music, Cowell’s division of Sony BMG, after winning the 2006 show. She’s signed jointly in America to Clive Davis’s label J Records.

Bleeding Love already topped charts in 10 countries. In the UK, it was the biggest-selling single of 2007, staying at No 1 for seven weeks.