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.