Birthplace: Manchester, England
Lisa Jane Stansfield (born 11 April 1966) is an English singer, songwriter and actress. Her career began in 1980 when she won the singing competition Search for a Star. After appearances in various television shows and releasing her first singles, Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andy Morris formed Blue Zone in 1984. The band released several singles and one album, but after the success of "People Hold On" in 1989, on which Stansfield was featured, they focused on her solo career.
Stansfield's first solo album, Affection (1989), and its worldwide chart-topping lead single, "All Around the World", were major breakthroughs in her career. She was nominated for two Grammy Awards and Affection is currently her best-selling album. In the following years, Stansfield released Real Love (1991), So Natural (1993) and Lisa Stansfield (1997). In 1999, she appeared in her first film, Swing, and also recorded the soundtrack for it. Her next albums included Face Up (2001), Biography: The Greatest Hits (2003) and The Moment (2004). After that, Stansfield took a break from music and focused on her film career. In 2008, she starred in The Edge of Love and in 2014 she appeared in Northern Soul.
Stansfield released her most recent album, Seven, on 31 January 2014. Its lead single, "Can't Dance", was digitally released on 16 October 2013. She promoted the new album with the European Seven Tour in 2013 and 2014.
Stansfield has won numerous awards, including Brit Awards, Ivor Novello Awards, Billboard Music Award, World Music Award, ASCAP Award, Women's World Award, Silver Clef Awards and DMC Awards. She has sold over twenty million albums worldwide, including five million of Affection. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 46th most successful dance artist of all-time.
Stansfield was born on 11 April 1966 in Manchester. Her parents are Marion and Keith Stansfield, and she has two sisters, Karen and Suzanne. Her family moved to Heywood in 1976, then to Rochdale in 1977. Stansfield grew up listening to soul music and admitted that her mother's playing of Diana Ross and the Supremes was her first musical influence, with her idols being Barry White and Marvin Gaye.
In 1980, Stansfield won the Search for a Star singing competition, held at the Talk of the Town nightclub, and in 1981 her first single "Your Alibis" was released by the Devil Records. In 1982, she appeared on the television show Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment on ITV Granada. At the same time, Stansfield signed her recording contract with Polydor Records.
In 1983, Johnnie Hamp produced for ITV Granada a documentary directed by Pete Walker, Born in the Sixties: Lisa Stansfield. It was a monograph of the aspiring singer and it included her comments and those of her mother and sisters and some songs sung by Stansfield. Also in 1983, she co-hosted the children's television music programme Razzamatazz and appeared on another children's television series The Krankies Klub. Between 1982 and 1983, Stansfield released her next three singles: "The Only Way", "Listen to Your Heart" and "I Got a Feeling". Her early recordings were released on the album In Session in September 1996.
In 1984, Stansfield and former school mates Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, after having worked together on a school musical production, began to collaborate musically and, in 1986, formed the band Blue Zone. They wrote some songs, produced a demo, and took it around to record labels. A small indie label, Rockin' Horse Records signed them in 1985 and one year later it was bought up by Arista Records. After releasing their first two singles in 1986, "Love Will Wait" and "Finest Thing", Arista issued "On Fire" in October 1987. Just as the single was climbing up the charts (number ninety-nine in the United Kingdom), it was withdrawn by the record company in the wake of the King's Cross fire. The band's next single, "Thinking About His Baby" was released in January 1988 and reached number seventy-nine in the UK. Its B-side, "Big Thing" became popular on the radio and in the clubs.
In July 1988, "Jackie" was issued as a single outside the UK and reached number thirty-seven on the Hot Dance Club Songs and number fifty-four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The release date for Blue Zone's album, Big Thing which was recorded in 1987, was pushed back many times by the record label. Finally, it was released outside the UK in November 1988 without any further promotion. The album included songs written by Blue Zone, except for "Jackie" written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was produced by Paul Staveley O'Duffy, except for "Perfect Crime" produced by Blue Zone. Ric Wake also co-produced "Jackie" and "Perfect Crime".
In early 1989, Stansfield co-wrote and recorded "People Hold On" for Coldcut's album, What's That Noise?. The single was released in March 1989 and reached number six on the Hot Dance Club Songs in the United States and number eleven in the United Kingdom. On the strength of this hit, Arista Records signed Stansfield as a solo artist. Her debut album, Affection was released on 20 November 1989. Stansfield co-wrote all songs with Ian Devaney and Andy Morris. Devaney and Morris also produced the album, except for "This Is the Right Time" produced by Coldcut. Affection received critical acclaim from music critics and was commercially successful. It reached the top ten on charts around the world, including number one in Austria and Italy, number two in the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, number three in Belgium, number five in New Zealand, number six in the Netherlands and Norway, and number seven in Australia and Canada. In the US, it peaked at number five on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number nine on the Billboard 200. The album has sold over five million copies worldwide and was certified 3× Platinum in the UK, Platinum in the US, Canada, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, and Gold in France, Finland and Austria.
Affection includes Stansfield's biggest hit and signature song, "All Around the World". The track reached number one in many countries, including the UK, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Spain. In the US, "All Around the World" peaked at number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified Platinum in the US for selling over one million copies and Gold in many other countries, including the UK, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Austria. In the UK, other singles from the album reached numbers ten ("Live Together"), thirteen ("This Is the Right Time") and twenty-five ("What Did I Do to You?") on the chart. In the US, "You Can't Deny It" peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, number two on the Hot Dance Club Songs and number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100. "This Is the Right Time" reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs, number thirteen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Stansfield also toured Europe and North America in 1990 to support her album, and released later Live! All Around the World home video. Thanks to Affection and "All Around the World", she received many awards, including: Brit Award, Billboard Music Award, World Music Award, ASCAP Award, Ivor Novello Awards, Silver Clef Awards and DMC Awards. Stansfield was also nominated for two Grammy Awards in categories Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Shortly after her success, she did two charity recordings. In December 1989, Stansfield became a part of the Band-Aid II, a charity supergroup founded to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia and recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks. Later, she covered "Down in the Depths" for the AIDS charity compilation, Red Hot + Blue released in September 1990, and also filmed a music video for it.
In 1991, Stansfield recorded her second studio album, Real Love and released it on 11 November 1991. She co-wrote all the songs with Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, who also produced the album. Real Love received positive reviews from music critics and reached top ten on the charts in various countries, including number three in the United Kingdom, number five in the Netherlands, number nine in Germany and number ten in Belgium. In the United States, it peaked at number six on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number forty-three on the Billboard 200. Real Love was certified 2× Platinum in the UK and Gold in the US, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. The first single, "Change" became a hit peaking within the top ten in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, Canada and the UK. In the US, it reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs, number twelve on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100.
The second single from the Real Love album, "All Woman", peaked inside the top forty in various European countries, including number twenty in the UK. It was successful on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart topping it in April 1992. On the Billboard Hot 100, "All Woman" reached number fifty-six. Next two singles released in Europe included "Time to Make You Mine" and "Set Your Loving Free", which peaked at numbers fourteen and twenty-eight in the UK. The last US single, "A Little More Love" reached number thirty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. In 1992, Stansfield toured Europe, Asia and the United States, and released Live at Wembley home video. In late 1992, she co-wrote and recorded "Someday (I'm Coming Back)" for the successful The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album. The song was released as a single in Europe in December 1992, after "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston, and reached top ten in the UK. She also wrote a song for Dionne Warwick Friends Can Be Lovers which was produced by Ian and Andy along with another song written by Diane Warren Much To Much and Lisa sang background vocals on both tracks they can be found on the 1993 Dionne Warwick CD Friends Can Be Lovers.
In April 1993, George Michael released his charity EP, Five Live. It included "These Are the Days of Our Lives" recorded with Stansfield and Queen during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in April 1992. Five Live was successful and reached number one in the United Kingdom for three weeks. During the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, which was also released on VHS, Stansfield performed "I Want to Break Free" as well. In early 1993, she co-wrote and recorded "In All the Right Places", theme song from the Indecent Proposal drama film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. The single was issued in May 1993 and reached number eight in the UK and Ireland. It was later included on Stansfield's third studio album, So Natural released on 8 November 1993.
So Natural garnered positive reviews from music critics and performed moderately on the charts, reaching number six in the UK and receiving Platinum certification. It also peaked within the top forty in Italy, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. The album was promoted by two singles, "So Natural" and "Little Bit of Heaven" which reached numbers fifteen and thirty-two in the UK. So Natural was not released in North America. In 1994, Stansfield toured Japan and the UK. In late 1994, she released two singles in the United States: "Make It Right" from Beverly Hills 90210: The College Years soundtrack and "Dream Away" (duet with Babyface) from The Pagemaster movie. Stansfield also recorded the following cover songs: "Friday's Child" for No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison (1994), "They Can't Take That Away from Me" for The Glory of Gershwin (1994), "Just to Keep You Satisfied" for Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye (1995) and "Take Me Away" (duet with Aska) for One Voice: The Songs of Chage & Aska (1996).
Singer's self-titled fourth studio album Lisa Stansfield was released on 21 March 1997. It garnered favourable reviews from music critics and was commercially successful. Lisa Stansfield reached number two in the United Kingdom, number six in Belgium and peaked inside top forty in many European countries and in Japan. It also received Gold certification in the UK, Spain and Switzerland. In the United States, the album peaked at number thirty on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and fifty-five on the Billboard 200. Singles released in Europe included: "People Hold On" (The Bootleg Mixes), "The Real Thing", "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" and "The Line". They all entered the UK Singles Chart reaching numbers four, nine, twenty-five and sixty-four respectively.
In the US, "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" peaked at number seventy-four on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number one on the Billboard Top Dance Tracks. The album also spawned four number-one singles on the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs: "People Hold On" (The Bootleg Mixes), "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up", "Never Gonna Fall" and "I'm Leavin'". This success prompted Arista Records to release The Remix Album in June 1998. Stansfield toured South America, US and Europe in 1997 and 1998 to promote the album.
Stansfield released her fifth studio album, Face Up on 20 June 2001. It featured funk and soul songs and also the adventurous usage of 2-step garage beats in the lead single, "Let's Just Call It Love". However, Face Up performed weakly on the charts reaching top forty in only few countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom. It wasn't released in North America. Stansfield toured Europe in 2001 and 2002.
On 3 February 2003, Stansfield released her first greatest hits album, Biography: The Greatest Hits. It reached number three in the United Kingdom, number four in Italy and also charted in other European countries. It was also certified Gold in the UK. Biography: The Greatest Hits was simultaneously issued on DVD. Stansfield toured Europe in March and April 2003 to promote her compilation. In June 2003, Arista Records remastered all of her studio albums and re-released them separately with bonus tracks. The Complete Collection six-CD box set was also issued at the same time. In November 2003, Stansfield appeared on the soundtrack for the Mona Lisa Smile singing "I've Got the World on a String".
In 2004, Stansfield recorded "Too Hot" for Kool & the Gang's The Hits: Reloaded (released in April 2004) and "Breath In, Breath Out" (duet with Lââm) for her album titled simply Lââm (released in September 2004). After fulfilling her deal with Arista Records, Stansfield signed with ZTT Records. The Grammy Award-winning Trevor Horn produced her next pop-oriented album, The Moment which was released in the United Kingdom on 27 September 2004. It was well received by music critics but failed commercially in the UK peaking at number fifty-seven. In February 2005, The Moment was issued in the rest of Europe by Edel and achieved moderate success on the charts in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, reaching numbers fifteen, sixteen and twenty-two respectively. It was also certified Gold in Germany. The album was promoted mainly by two singles: "Treat Me Like a Woman" and "If I Hadn't Got You". Stansfield also toured Europe in June and July 2005.
Between May and July 2013, Stansfield toured Europe singing her greatest hits. On 13 August 2013, she announced that her seventh studio album titled simply Seven would be released on 21 October 2013. In October 2013 it was announced that the release date of the album had been pushed back to 31 January 2014 in Germany and 10 February 2014 in the United Kingdom. The first single, "Can't Dance", premiered on Ken Bruce's BBC Radio 2 show on 14 August 2013 and was digitally released on 16 October 2013.
Seven, which was produced and written in the United Kingdom by Stansfield and Ian Devaney, features tracks such as "Can't Dance", "The Rain", "Stupid Heart", "Conversation", "The Crown", "So Be It" and "Picket Fence". Recorded in both Los Angeles and Manchester, Stansfield has collaborated with John Robinson, known as the most recorded drummer in history and Grammy Award winning orchestrator Jerry Hey, both integral to the creation of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. "Carry On" was chosen as the second single and its music video premiered on 31 January 2014. Upon the album's release it peaked at number 13 in the UK. A deluxe edition of the album was also released with bonus material. Stansfield toured the United Kingdom in November 2013 and her Seven Tour continued in Europe in May and June 2014. The tour ended with a series of concerts in the United Kingdom in September 2014 and other European countries in October and November 2014. In October 2014, Seven was re-released as Seven+ with one new song and fifteen remixes.
In November 2014, Edsel Records released The Collection 1989-2003, a thirteen-CD and five DVD box set with five of Stansfield's studio albums and additionally many rare tracks, remixes, promo videos, live concert footage and new interviews. All albums were also released individually. The Live in Manchester album/video was released on 28 August 2015.
In October 2017, Stansfield announced her new album Deeper and the European Tour. The album will be released on 5 April 2018.
In May 1999, Stansfield made her film debut. She played Joan Woodcock in the Nick Mead-directed movie, Swing, also starring Hugo Speer, and recorded songs for the soundtrack. The album, full of jazz and swing tracks was released on 10 May 1999. Swing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack received positive reviews from music critics and peaked at number six on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart. In July 1999, Stansfield's duet with Barry White, "The Longer We Make Love" was released as a single from his album, Staying Power.
In late 2000, she recorded two cover songs: "You Keep Me Hangin' On" for the Motown Mania album (released in December 2000) and "Somewhere My Baby Waits for Me" for The Wedding Planner soundtrack (released in January 2001). In February 2002, she made her stage debut in The Vagina Monologues at the Arts Theatre in West End of London together with Anita Dobson and Cecilia Noble. Stansfield played herself in the comedy series Monkey Trousers in mid-2005. In late 2006, she appeared in the drama series Goldplated, playing Trinny Jamieson.
In September 2007, Stansfield appeared in another television series, Agatha Christie's Marple. She played Mary Durrant in the episode titled Ordeal by Innocence. Stansfield dubbed one of the characters (Millie, an elf) for the English version of the Finnish animated film Quest for a Heart released in December 2007. She has also recorded the title song "Quest for a Heart" written by Charlie Mole and Lee Hall and produced by Mole in collaboration with Ali Thomson. In 2007, Stansfield joined the cast of The Edge of Love directed by John Maybury. The film starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys premiered in June 2008. Stansfield played the role of Ruth Williams.
In 2009, she starred in the Nick Mead-directed documentary Dean Street Shuffle playing herself. In 2012, she received a role in Elaine Constantine's film Northern Soul. Set in 1974, it is an independent docu-drama about the social phenomenon and generation of the Northern soul music and dance movement. Northern Soul was released in 2014.
In 1987, Stansfield married the Italian designer Augusto Grassi, whom she met during a holiday in Tunisia. A ceremony was held in the Sacred Heart Church in Rochdale. The couple moved to Zagarolo in Italy but their marriage lasted only four months. Following the end of the marriage Stansfield came back to Britain. After many years of friendship and engagement, she and Ian Devaney married on 25 July 1998. The minimalist ceremony was held in New York City and the only guests were her parents and his mother.
In 2008, Stansfield sold her six-bedroom Victorian house "Mount Henry" on Torca Road in Dalkey, Ireland, for €6 million to Yorkshire business tycoon Ed Clark (originally asking for €8 million in May 2007).