Lisa Stansfield

Posted in Music

2 Jul
//

Lisa Stansfield

Lisa Stansfield is a singer, actress and general superstar who has sold over 20 million albums world wide…..whilst keeping the Lancashire girl next door image.

Lisa Jane Stansfield was born in Crumpsall Hospital Manchester on 11th April 1966 to Marion and Keith Stansfield and she had two sisters Karen and Suzanne. The family Grew up in Heywood (My home town) greater Manchester and moved to nearby Rochdale in 1977. Lisa grew up loving soul music, mainly through listening to mums Motown collection and she states that her idols growing up were Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Barry White.

Stansfield knew she wanted to become a singer from a young age and she was already singing at local working men’s clubs in her early teens. 

At 14, she had her first break in music when she entered and won a local talent competition Search for a star. The competition was held at The Willows club in Salford and was sponsored by the Manchester Evening News and winning this competition led to her first recording contract. In 1981 she released her first single Your Alibis on Devil Records. The single was not so successful in the charts (although it was released in Holland as well as in the UK), but led to Stansfield signing with Polydor Records. She released several singles for Polydor including; The only way, Listen to your heart and I got a feeling. The singles were unsuccessful in the charts (later to be re – released on the album In session in 1996) but led to an invitation to co-host the ITV show Razzamatazz.

Although it was a well paid job, Lisa believed that nobody would ever take her seriously as a singer if she continued presenting for the longterm and decided to leave the show to continue her career as a singer..... around the same time she appeared with the Krankies on their ITV program The Krankies Klub .

In 1984 Stansfield was reunited with former school friends Ian Devaney and Andy Morris (they had worked together musically at school) and they formed the band Blue Zone. They wrote several songs, produced a demo and showed it to as many record labels as they could and they were signed by Rockin Horse Records a small indie label. Rockin Horse was bought out by Arista around a year later. The band´s first two singles Love Will Wait and Finest Thing were unsuccessful, Arista issued their next single On Fire in October 1987. Just as the single was climbing 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. However their next single Thinking about his baby started to make some waves…… Kiss-FM and the club scene picked up on b side Big Thing and it went on to sell over 10,000 copies in one week. An album followed after being pushed back many times by the record company and was released outside of the UK in 1988 without any further promotion.

Around this time Stansfield met Augusto Grassi, an Italian costume designer on a holiday in Tunisia. In 1987 they got married at Sacred Hearts Catholic Church in Rochdale and Lisa moved to live with him in Italy on a hilltop town called Zagarolo, outside of Rome. However Lisa was really in-love with the idea of Italy rather than her husband and after sixteen weeks, she realised that their marriage was over.

 

Stansfield moved back to Rochdale and in 1989 and when Morris and Devaney, both brass players, were recruited for a Coldcut session. Lisa went along just for fun and was introduced to the group and she sang and co-wrote People Hold On. The song became an instant dance hit and reached number 11 in the UK charts. On the strength of its success, Lisa was persuaded to try her luck as a solo artiste and the threesome decided to drop the name Blue Zone eventually became Lisa Stansfield.

They were now signed to Arista Records - and things started moving rapidly when the next single release, This Is The Right Time became a top 20 hit in the UK. Lisa's most infamous anthem All Around The World was released in October. This was to become her first UK number one hit and still remains the biggest selling single and her most well known track to date.

 The album Affection was released in November 1989 and further singles; Live Together, What Did I Do to You? and You Can't Deny It were also released from this album. Affection sold over 5 million copies around the world, reached triple platinum in the UK and was a huge success in other countries including America where it reached Platinum. Stansfield embarked on a very successful tour of Europe and North America to promote the album and many awards were received including a Brit Award, the Billboard Music Award, the World Music Award, the ASCAP Award,Ivor Novello AwardsSilver Clef Awards and DMC Awards. She was also nominated for two Grammy Awards in the Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance categories. On the back of her huge successes Stansfield made two charity singles; she was a part of the Band Aid ll project with the Christmas single Do they know it´s Christmas? She also covered in 1990 Down in the Depths for the AIDS charity compilation Red Hot + Blue.

In 1991 Stansfield released her second studio album Real Love and again the album was a great success. Stanfield co-wrote all of the songs on the album and reached number 3 in the UK album chart, number 6 in the US and had great success around Europe, achieving Double Platinum sales in the UK and gold in the US. Singles from the album included All Woman, Time To Make You Mine and Set Your Loving Free. A tour of Europe the US and Asia followed - again to promote a very successful album. In late 1992 she co wrote and sang the hit single Someday (I´m coming back) for The Bodyguard film soundtrack and the single made the UK top 10. Around this time Lisa wrote a song for Dionne Warwick entitled Friends Can Be Lovers for the album of the same name.

1992 saw Stansfield appear at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert at Wembley stadium alongside a host of stars. She sang These Are The Days Of Our Lives with Queen and also I Want To Break Free, with the former being included on George Michael´s Five Live ep.

In early 1993 she co-wrote and recorded the song In All the Right Places, the theme song from the film Indecent Proposal, starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. The single was released in May 1993, reaching number 8 in the UK. The song was later included on Stansfield's third studio album, So Natural, released on 8 November 1993.

So Natural had a great critical response, reaching number 6 in the UK charts and gaining Platinum sales. The album spawned to singles in the UK; So Natural and A Little Bit of Heaven, both singles having moderate success in the charts. Another sell-out tour came on the back of So Natural this time of the UK and Japan where Stansfield was ever popular.

In 1997 Stansfield released another successful album, The self titled Lisa Stansfield was again critically acclaimed and reached number 2 in the UK album charts and top 20 around Europe and Japan. Singles released in Europe included People Hold On , The Real Thing, Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, and The Line. All four singles entered the UK Chart, reaching numbers four, nine, twenty-five and sixty-four, respectively.

In 1998 Stansfield married long time friend and music colleague Ian Devaney. The minimalist ceremony was held in Washington Square Park in New York City, and the only guests were her parents and his mother.

 In July 1999 Stansfield dueted with Barry White on the song The Longer We Make Love for his album Staying Power. The song was released as a single in the US with moderate success. Stansfield made her movie acting debut in this year where she played Joan Woodcock in the Nick Mead-directed movie Swing, also starring Hugo Speer. She also 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.

The next few years saw Stansfield release albums with varying success. Face Up was released in 2001 but the album was somewhat experimental (featuring two step garage beats) and reached the top 40 in only a few countries. Stansfield toured Europe in 2001 and 2002. In February 2002, she made her stage debut in The Vagina Monologues at the Arts Theatre in the West End of London, sharing the stage with Anita Dobson and Cecilia Noble. 

In 2003 she released her first greatest hits album Biography: The Greatest Hits. The album was commercially successful, it certified gold in the UK reaching number 3 in the UK charts. A European tour again accompanied the release of the album.

2004 brought the single Too Hot with soul legends Kool and the Gang. The same year, after fulfilling all obligations with Arista Records Stansfield signed with ZTT records and the next album was released. The album The Moment was a studio album produced by the legendary Trevor Horn and was more pop orientated than previous projects. Whilst critically well received, commercially the album failed, reaching number 47 in the UK album charts. Another European tour followed to promote the album.

 Stansfield went back to acting next; she played herself in the comedy series Monkey Trousers in mid-2005. In late 2006 she appeared in the drama series Gold-plated, 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.

In 2009, she starred in the Nick Mead-directed documentary Dean Street Shuffle playing herself. In 2012, she performed a role inElaine Constantine's film Northern Soul. Set in 1974, the film was an independent docudrama about the social phenomenon and generation of the Northern soul music and dance movement, and was released in 2014.

Stansfields next album came in 2014. The studio album Seven was originally announced for 2013 but was pushed back to the January 2014 release date. Written and produced with husband Ian Daveney, the album had the collaboration with Grammy award winning orchestrator Jerry Hay (who worked a lot with Michael Jackson). This album was a success, peaking at number 13 in the UK charts.

In October 2017, Stansfield announced a new album Deeper, and another European tour. The album was released on 6 April 2018. The album reached number 15 on the UK Albums Chart, while the single Everything reached number one on the Soul Chart , the single Never Ever reached number six on the Billboard Dance chart. This marked her first appearance on that chart in 20 years, after I'm Leavin' topped the chart in 1998.

In June 2018, following a string of sold out tour dates in Europe, Stansfield announced her North American Tour to begin in October. Her first in North America in two decades, the tour began on 9 October in Toronto and included stops in Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and more, before concluding in San Francisco on 26 October.

Lisa Stansfield is a veteran of many successful tours, producer of multiple albums and an actress. She has collaborated with some of the greats and Lisa has carved a career out of hard work; She is seen as a soul queen whilst still keeping the girl next door image.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lisa Stansfield.

Damien Sugden

 

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