Afanasieff began his music career as a jazz musician and worked with producer songwriter and drummer Narada Michael Walden. Learning his craft working with Whitney Houston on her debut album, his first major production was writing the track for the James Bond movie Licence To Kill, for Gladys Knight.
He won the 1999 Grammy Award in the Record Of The Year category for producing My Heart Will Go On for Celine Dion for the film Titanic, which became the best-selling single of 1998. Further movie work includes the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson title track duet for Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, and Go The Distance, the Oscar-nominated Michael Bolton song for the animated film Hercules. He also won the Grammy for Producer Of The Year, Non Classical in 2000.
However, a key part of his career was working throughout the 90’s with Mariah Carey. Key songs included the Number 1 Billboard Hot 100 song Hero, One Sweet Day with Boyz II Men which held the run for the longest run at Number 1 on the Billboard Charts for 23 years, at 16 weeks. This song was nominated for Record Of The Year and Best Pop Collaboration with vocals at the 1996 Grammy Awards. On top of this, Afanasieff wrote and produced the worldwide evergreen hit All I Want For Christmas Is You, which now has global sales well in excess of 15 million copies.