Sheena Shirley Orr, or more popularly known as Sheena Easton, is a Scottish singer, songwriter, and actress. Her first project in the industry was in an episode of the first British musical reality television program called, “The Big Time: Pop Singer”. The show recorded her attempts to earn a record contract as well as her eventual signing with EMI Records.
Sheena Easton is best known for her singles such as “Morning Train”, “For Your Eyes Only” which is a James Bond movie theme song, “Strut”, and as well as with her collaborations with Kenny Rogers and Prince. Aside from her several hits, she also won two Grammy Awards.
She has also delved into acting over the years and in other business ventures as well. She still continues to perform until today while raising two adopted children.
Background and Personal Life
Sheena Easton was born in Bellshill, Scotland on April 27, 1959. She is the youngest of six children of a steel mill laborer, Alex Orr and his wife Annie. Sheena has two brothers, Robert and Alex, and three sisters, Marilyn, Anessa, and Morag. Her very first public performance as a singer was in 1964 when she was only five years old. She sang “Early One Morning” in her uncle and aunt’s 25th wedding anniversary celebration.
In 1969, Sheena Easton’s father died and her mother was left to support their family. Even though her mother was left with so many responsibilities, she’s still always available for her children. This is the reason why Sheena always speaks very highly of her mom, especially about how she brought her up and her siblings.
Sheena Easton really didn’t consider a singing career until she watched the movie, “The Way We Were”, with Barbara Streisand. Barbara’s singing over the opening credits inspired and convinced her that she wanted to be a singer and to have the same influence on others.
She got high grades in school that helped her earn a scholarship for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. She trained there as a speech and drama teacher by day, and sang with a band called “Something Else” by night in local clubs from 1975 to 1979. Sheena chose to study teaching over performing because it will help her perfect her craft as a singer.
Sheena has been married four times and she has two adopted children. Her first husband was Sandi Easton but they divorced after eight months. Even though their marriage did not last long, she still decided to keep the surname Easton. Her second marriage was in 1984 with Rob light who is a talent agent. Their marriage lasted for about 18 months.
In 1992, Sheena Easton became a US citizen, earning her dual citizenship with the United Kingdom. She then adopted her first child in 1994, Jake Rion Cousins Easton, and after a couple of years, she adopted a baby girl named Skylar.
In the summer of 1997, she met Tim Delam, a producer and they got married in Las Vegas in July of the same year. However, their marriage only lasted for a year. And on November 9, 2002, she married a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon named John Minoli, but they divorced in 2003. In the present time, Sheena Easton resides in Henderson, Nevada.
In 1979, one of Sheena Easton’s tutors pushed her to audition for Esther Rantzen, the producer of BBC program, “The Big Time”. It was a show focused on amateurs who are trying to reach their dreams. Sheena Easton was then selected for the role.
After a year of the program airing, the EMI executives awarded her a contract and Christopher Neil became her producer, while Deke Arlon was her first manager. Her 1980 was spent being followed by cameramen who filmed her through the process of creating her first single in EMI with the title, “Modern Girl”. That reached number 56 on the charts and was certified a Silver single.
When the show ended, Sheena Easton was still unsure of her future as a singer but this changes when her second single, “Morning Train”, was released. It’s because it reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and in 1980, it was certified a Gold single. It was also during the 1980 when she was voted by the Daily Mirror Pop and Rock Awards as the “Best British Female Singer.
“Morning Train” was Sheena Easton’s first and only number 1 hit in the US which topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts in Billboard magazine. Before 1981 came, she had another top hit in both the US and UK which is the song, “For Your Eyes Only”, the theme song of a James Bond movie. It was nominated for an Academy Awards and Golden Globe Award in 1982 in the category, “Best Music (Original Song). Sheena Easton’s success in the US made her won a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist” of 1981.
Sheena Easton was also one of the first artists to record “Wind Beneath My Wings” that later became a hit for Bette Midler. She had her first US tour in 1982, and her concert in Los Angeles was recorded and broadcasted on HBO and later on released on VHS with the title, “Sheena Easton Live at the Palace, Hollywood”.
Sheena Easton had a duet with Kenny Rogers in January 1983 with the song, “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)”.
Controversial Prince Song
On Sheena Easton’s 1984 album, “A Private Heaven”, she went for more of a dance vibe and a sexier persona. It included another top 10 hit for her with “Strut”. It’s a song about a woman who refuses to be a man’s plaything.
The album also contains a somewhat scandalous song, “Sugar Walls” which was written and produced by Prince. That song reached number 3 on the R&B charts. In 1987, Sheena and Prince worked together again on Prince’s hit song, “U Got the Look” and “The Arms of Orion” which was Batman 1989 soundtrack.
The song “Sugar Walls” was targeted by Tipper Gore from the Family Resource Center for its suggestiveness. However, Sheena Easton stood up to the criticism and in the same year, she was honored as the only artist in history to have top 5 hits on Billboard’s five major charts which are adult contemporary, country, dance, R&B and pop.
Collaboration with L.A. Reid and Babyface
Sheena Easton won another Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Mexican-American Performance for a duet with Luis Miguel. In 1989, she released the album, “The Lover in Me” that has an urban contemporary sound and production from L.A. Reid and Babyface. The duo worked on Easton’s dance-oriented title track.
She then collaborated again with Prince for the songs “101” and “Cool Love”. In 1993, Sheena Easton released “No Strings” which is a collection of jazz and blues with songwriters such as Irving Berlin and the Gershwin brothers. Another album followed in 1995 which was called “My Cherie”. And in 2009, aside from her occasional live performances, Sheena also recorded songs for Disney’s animated series “Phineas and Ferb”.
2015 to Present
Sheena Easton Embarked on symphony concerts in 2015 with guest vocalists, “The Spy Who Loved Me” with material from spy movies of the past and present. It also featured Bond style music with symphonies. The concerts were held around the United States. In the latter part of 2015, she also performed a small tour in Australia that featured her Greatest Hits.
She is recently busy with her numerous appearances in Las Vegas. That is where she’s been a major attraction for in the last two decades. In fact, she was recently inaugurated to the Las Vegas Hall of Fame.
Sheena Easton’s Acting Career and Other Endeavors
Aside from being a singer and songwriter, Sheena Easton also had an acting career. She appeared on several episodes of Miami Vice in 1987 as Caitlin Davies who is the wife of Don Johnson’s character named Detective James “Sonny” Crockett. Through the years, there were many acting work that followed for her such as her cameo in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal, and a regular role in 2005 on PAX’s Young Blades.
Sheena Easton also ventured onto Broadway where she starred in two musical revivals in the 1990s which are the, “Man of La Mancha” and “Grease”. Aside from being an artist, she also had a business venture in 2000 through creating a line of angel figurines. These figurines were sold on QVC.
Sheena Easton is another great artist who have created timeless hits. Her story proves that dreams really do come true when you work hard for it.