Long before American Idol, there was the British series The Big Time, which followed ordinary people on their quest for stardom. Easton was on the show in 1980 and it helped launch her career, making her one of the first reality TV success stories.
She worked with Prince in the mid-'80s, and her image went from squeaky clean to scandalous. Prince wrote "Sugar Walls" for her, which contained highly suggestive lyrics.
In 1987, she played the love interest of Don Johnson on five episodes of the TV show Miami Vice
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In the late '80s and early '90s, Easton showed off her highly toned body in commercials for Bally's health clubs. She was one of the first high-profile female entertainers to advocate working out for women.
She won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1981.
Easton is from Glasgow, Scotland, and attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she earned a teaching degree. She took a very sensible approach to her music career, getting the degree so she could become a teacher if her singing aspirations failed.
Gossip magazines had her romantically linked to both Prince and her Miami Vice co-star Don Johnson, but Easton claims she was never more than friends with either. She says the rumors helped keep her real relationships under cover.
She was born Sheena Orr, and became Sheena Easton when she married Sandy Easton at age 19, a union that lasted just 8 months. She kept the name, though, even after marrying the booking agent Rob Light at age 25. That marriage ended in 1986.
Her mother was married to a foundry worker who died when Sheena was 10. She went to work in a factory to support her daughter. "Some of my earliest memories of performing are about when I was four or five, singing at my Aunt Mary's silver wedding anniversary," Easton recalled to Q magazine. "I remember the applause and liking it. Kids love attention, and I still need that. Essentially, all performers are kids."
Sheena cut a Spanish-language album, Todo Mi Recuerda A Ti, for Latin America. "In South America I have tons of hits – Argentina, Chile, all the territories," she said. "The album sold really well, and we got a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Performance – which is kinda ludicrous seeing as I'm from Scotland and don't speak Spanish, but, hey, beggars can't be choosers."