What is Walter Afanasieff’s Net Worth?
Walter Afanasieff is a Russian-Brazilian music producer and song writer who has a net worth of $100 million. During his career, Walter Afanasieff has produced and written songs for for many pop singers, perhaps most-notably Mariah Carey. Walter co-wrote and produced Mariah’s song “All I want for Christmas” which has generated over $100 million in royalties for the duo to date.
Walter worked with Mariah Carey on her first six studio albums in the 90s. As a producer, he had some of his biggest commercial hits that decade with the original motion picture soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” and with Celine Dion’s single “My Heart Will Go On.” Among his many other credits, Afanasieff has produced and written for such artists as Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, Luther Vandross, and Kenny G.
In 1997 Walter produced the Celine Dion song “My Heart Will Go On” which went on to win and Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe and several Grammys including the 1999 Grammy for Record of the Year. It is one of the best-selling singles in history.
So in case it isn’t clear, Walter Afanasieff co-wrote and produced two of the most-successful songs of all time, “All I want for Christmas” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Afanasieff has produced and/or written songs several Disney movies. His work includes 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast”, 1992’s “Aladdin” and 1992’s “A Whole New World”.
All I Want For Christmas
In 1994, Walter and Mariah wrote and produced “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. The song has gone on to become a classic Christmas song that is played incessantly in November and December every year. The song has sold more than 15 million copies and, amazingly, hit #1 on Billboard in 2019 – 25 years after its initial release! To date the song has generated more than $100 million in royalties, generating $600,000 – $1 million in income every year for Walter and Mariah.
Other artists Walter has worked with incldue Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Destiny’s child, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Darren Hayes, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Loggins, Barbara Streisand, Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Babyface, and Lara Fabian.
Walter Afanasieff was born as Vladimir Nikitich Afanasiev on February 10, 1958 in São Paulo, Brazil to Russian parents Tatiana and Nikita. He later moved to the United States. Afanasieff developed a love for music early on in life, and wrote in high school that his goal was to “write and play better than Keith Emerson.”
In 1980, Afanasieff began his professional music career as a jazz musician playing keyboards with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. A little later, he formed a group called the Warriors with guitarist Joaquin Lievano and drummer Narada Michael Walden. The latter musician was also a songwriter and producer, helping to inspire Afanasieff to pursue a career in record producing himself. Eventually, Walden hired Afanasieff as a producer and arranger, and brought him on to play keyboards on Whitney Houston’s 1985 debut album. The pair also began writing pop songs together, including the title track to the James Bond film “Licence to Kill.”
Mariah Carey Collaborations
One of Afanasieff’s most successful and prolific collaborations has been with R&B singer Mariah Carey, whom he worked with on her first six studio albums from 1990 to 1997. In addition to serving as a producer on the albums, he co-wrote many of Carey’s songs, including the hit singles “Can’t Let Go,” “Anytime You Need a Friend,” “Forever,” “My All,” “Butterfly,” and “Hero.” Afanasieff and Carey also co-wrote the smash holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and helped co-write “One Sweet Day” with Michael McCary, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman. A duet between Carey and the vocal group Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day” became the longest-running number-one song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 when it remained atop the chart for 16 weeks from 1995 to 1996.
Other Songwriting Credits
Another of Afanasieff’s most notable collaborations has been with saxophonist Kenny G, with whom he has co-written numerous songs since the 80s. In the late 90s, he co-wrote songs with the Australian duo Savage Garden on their album “Affirmation.” Afanasieff went on to co-write tracks for such artists as Joey McIntyre, Jessica Simpson, Josh Groban, and Santana.
Notable Producing Credits
In the 90s, Afanasieff had producing credits on the soundtracks to the Disney animated films “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “Hercules.” He also served as a producer on the hit soundtrack to the film “The Bodyguard,” which became the best-selling soundtrack album of all time as well as the best-selling album of the 90s. Afanasieff had another of his greatest successes as a producer on Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song to the blockbuster 1997 film “Titanic.” Considered Dion’s signature song, it’s also one of the best-selling singles in history. For “My Heart Will Go On,” Afanasieff shared the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
Afanasieff continued his prolific career as a record producer in the 2000s with credits on albums by Ricky Martin, Destiny’s Child, Michael Bolton, Josh Groban, and Draco, among others. He has also produced a number of albums by Barbra Streisand.
In 2014, Afanasieff joined the worldwide talent search and development mentorship program Isina as head of the producers department. The following year, he became a mentor on the Russian television vocal talent show “Main Stage,” which is the Russian version of “The X Factor.”
Walter has been married three times.
In 2005, Afanasieff began dating entrepreneur and comedian Katie Cazorla. The couple married in 2017. Together, they have three children named Christina, Isabella, and Andrei. Afanasieff and Cazorla also have rescue dogs.