Lisa Stansfield Biography

11 April 1966, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. Stansfield started her musical career singing in her early teens, entering and winning several talent contests. She gained valuable experience presenting the Granada television children’s programme, Razzamatazz in the early 80s. After quitting the programme Stansfield teamed up with former school friends and budding songwriters Andy Morris and (Lisa’s boyfriend) Ian Devaney to form the white-soul group, Blue Zone in 1983. With backing from Arista Records, they released 1986’s Big Thing, and several singles on the Rockin’ Horse label but achieved little success outside the club circuit. In 1989, the trio were invited by the production team Coldcut (Matt Black and Jonathon Moore) to record the single ‘People Hold On’. The single reached the UK Top 20 and prompted former Blue Zone/ Wham! manager Jazz Summers to sign Stansfield as a solo act while retaining Morris and Devaney in the capacity as composers (with Stansfield), musicians and producers. The first single, on Arista, ‘This Is The Right Time’ reached number 13 in the UK chart while the follow-up, ‘All Around The World’ emerged as one of best singles of 1989, hitting the UK number 1 spot and becoming an international hit. Her debut Affection, reached number 2, eventually selling five million copies worldwide. Stansfield, with her infectious smile, a disarmingly broad Lancastrian/Rochdale accent, down-to-earth nature and kiss-curled hair emerging from a collection of hats, became one of the top pop personalities of the year and collected a variety of awards including the Best British Newcomer at the 1990 BRIT Awards. That same year, the Blue Zone songwriting team of Stansfield, Morris and Devaney were also acknowledged by being presented the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for their number 1 hit as Best Contemporary Song. While ‘Live Together’ was peaking at number 10 in the UK singles chart, plans were afoot to break into the US chart. ‘All Around The World’ then reached number 3 and topped the Billboard R&B listing, while Affection reached the US Top 10. Her success in the US was followed by ‘You Can’t Deny It’ (number 14) and ‘This Is The Right Time’ (number 21). The following years’ BRIT Awards were notable for Stansfield winning the Best British Female Artist award. She also succeeded in offending organizer Jonathan King, by speaking out against the Gulf War. Real Love, which allowed Stansfield free rein to express herself, won over previously reticent admirers and promoted a more mature image. She had further UK hits in late 1991 with ‘Change’ (number 10) and ‘All Woman’ (number 20), although both singles failed to break into the Top 25 in America. ‘In All The Right Places’ put Stansfield back into the UK Top 10 (number 8) in June 1993, but by her own admission So Natural was a self-indulgent mistake.

After a long break she returned with Lisa Stansfield in 1997, which featured ‘Never, Never Gonna Give You Up’, a song originally recorded by her musical hero Barry White. In 1999, Stansfield starred in the movie Swing, a romantic comedy following the exploits of a swing band formed in Liverpool, England. She gave a convincing performance, demonstrating a natural flair for acting. In 2001 she returned with a strong set of upbeat white soul music.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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