MANILA -- Between 1980 to the early 1990s, Sheena Easton was considered one of the world’s hottest music sensations.
The Scottish singer-songwriter scored solo hits with bouncy, upbeat tunes like “Morning Train (9 to 5),” “Modern Girl,” “Do It For Love” and “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)” that was particularly big with Filipino fans, as well as heartfelt, elegant ballads like “You Could Have Been with Me,” Almost Over You,” and the James Bond theme song, “For Your Eyes Only.”
She collaborated with other popular artists at that time like Kenny Rogers who she performed a duet with the remake of Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonite” and her good friend Prince, who wrote her controversial funky smash “Sugar Walls.”
Prince also asked her to sing with him in the equally feet-stomping, “U Got The Look,” an even bigger hit.
Looking back on her storied career, Easton, now 60, points to those collaborations as among her fondest memories.
“Working with other artists is a privilege and getting to witness their talent and creativity first hand in the studio as a song comes together is a magic that never leaves you. I have had many chances to be part of wonderful creative moments but my favorite are my sessions with my first record producer, Christopher Neil , and my work with Prince,” she told this writer in a recent interview.
Neil, whose credits include Bonnie Tyler, Gerry Rafferty, Mike and the Mechanics and Rod Stewart, produced Easton’s first three studio albums and her hit recording of “For Your Eyes Only” which she also sang in the opening credits of the now-classic James Bond flick.
Asked if she has her own personal favorites among her greatest hits, Easton said it may sound like a cliché that she favors “For Your Eyes Only,” “Morning Train (9 to 5) , and “Telefone” as those that hold a special place in her heart but it also happens to be true.
“I think that is because I see over and over again how much my fans love them and I get letters and messages from them telling me why they are special to them and how they bring back good memories. Getting that feedback onstage fills me with joy and a new appreciation for [these songs] each time I sing them,” she explained.
At the height of her popularity, Easton also had a budding acting career, having appeared in cameo roles for several films as well as in a recurring role in the then hugely popular TV series, "Miami Vice," as the wife of Don Johnson’s lead character.
At the same time, Easton never really stopped performing, whether it’s on tour or in a residency capacity in Las Vegas.
Still, there was a time when Easton stopped performing for a while to focus on raising a family. Although she has been married four times, she said being a mother to her two adopted children has given her personal fulfillment.
“I think that my decision to step back from touring and performing 100% of the time to be a mother and give my kids as normal a life as possible allowed me to have the best of both worlds. I got to be a mom and still pursue my love of music. I was able to have balance in my life. This meant that I didn’t burn out,” she shared.
“Another factor that has kept me in the game is the fact that I have had the opportunity to do so many different kinds of projects.”
By different projects, Easton was referring to the time she reinvented herself as a musical theater actress on Broadway and London's West End with memorable turns in "Man of La Mancha," "Grease" and "42nd Street."
And not too many may be aware of it but Easton is also an accomplished voice talent for animated television series such as "Gargoyles," "All Dogs Go to Heaven," Disney’s "The Legend of Tarzan," "Scooby Doo and the Lochness Monster," and "Phineas and Ferb."
As for future endeavors, Easton said recording a new album or doing another stage musical is not in the cards for her at the moment.
“I will continue to travel and perform and will return to the stage if and when the right project comes along,” she declared.
Having performed here in the Philippines 10 years ago at the Araneta Coliseum, Easton said she would love to have another rendezvous with her Filipino fans.
“My recollection of the Philippines is that the people were lovely and very welcoming. I am really looking forward to returning to perform again,” she quipped.
Presented by Random Minds, "Sheena Easton Live in Manila" is happening this Friday, July 26, at The Theatre at Solaire.