Released last month and commanding heavy rotation here at Albumism HQ, Lisa Stansfield’s elegantly crafted eighth studio album Deeper is one of the year’s finest records, without a doubt. In his review of Stansfield’s latest long player, Quentin Harrison contends that Deeper reinforces the acclaimed UK singer-songwriter’s deserved status “as one of the preeminent and most compelling talents of her era.”
Indeed, her reputation as one of the most gifted vocalists of her generation was first made evident nearly three decades ago, with the emergence of her breakthrough debut album Affection in the fall of 1989. Bolstered by the instant ear candy of singles “This Is The Right Time,” “All Around the World,” and “You Can’t Deny It,” among others, Stansfield’s inaugural affair evinced the then 23-year-old siren’s captivating songcraft, which seamlessly and convincingly straddled multiple stylistic lines, from pop to dance to R&B.
1991’s follow-up Real Love extended her musical modus operandi, but with noticeably more mature and sophisticated lyrical and sonic underpinnings, as manifest in the set’s dynamic lead single “Change,” the stirring female empowerment anthem “All Woman,” and album cut “Symptoms of Loneliness & Heartache.”
Upon its release in 1992, the short film documentary Real Life served as a concise synopsis of Stansfield’s burgeoning career up to that point, and 26 years later, makes for essential viewing (or revisiting for the already initiated) among her most devoted of champions. Real Life’s footage places the emphasis squarely on Stansfield’s music, with the inclusion of the official music videos that accompanied many of the aforementioned singles, as well as rarer clips like the video for her cover of the obscure Cole Porter composition “Down in the Depths” which was included on the 1990 HIV/AIDS awareness compilation Red Hot + Blue and a live version of Affection’s fourth single “What Did I Do to You?”
Interview footage of Stansfield is interspersed throughout and includes her ruminations on visiting her hometown of Rochdale (a neighborhood in Manchester) and her working relationship with Andy Morris and Ian Devaney, the latter of whom she has been married to since 1998. The documentary concludes as Stansfield welcomes one of her musical heroes, the late soul legend Barry White, who duets with her on a refreshed version of “All Around the World.” “She has a tremendous sound,” White reflects. “I think Lisa’s going to be around a long, long time. A longevity artist.”
Enjoy the Real Life documentary below, which captures Stansfield on the cusp of the sustained stardom that Mr. White so wisely envisaged for her.