Sheena Easton came to America from Scotland in 1981, singing uptempo pop. "Since 1982, '83, my career has neen dance-pop and the new album is donce-pop," she says. "It wasn't that far a step from doing uptempo to doing more danceable pop."
The new album she refers to is "Lover in Me," her first fro MCA Records. It started on the charts as No. 82 and was climbing the best-selling pop chart this month. The first single, the title song, is already in the top 10.It's her first album in America in three years. Easton cut "No Sound But a Heart" for EMI America, which became EMI-Manhattan. In the shuffle, the album wasn't released and she couldn't record for a year. "EMI still owns it, she says, "I'm not legally allowed to go into details."
She has been heard from, though. Prince's 1987 hit, "U Got the Look," was a duet with Easton. She did commercials for a health spa and was on five high-profile episodes of "Miami Vice," as the bride of Don Johnson.
Her first single, "Morning Train," was a hit in 1980. The next year, she sang "For Your Eyes Only" in a James Bond film. "Since 'Telephone' was a No. 1 dance single in 1983," she ways, "I followed it with 'Strut' and 'Sugar Walls.'
"But my singing now has 100 more times a rhythm 'n' blues overtone than it did in 1983. Music in general has more r and b-if you do dance music. The new album has got great acceptance at black and urban radio stations."
The single is No. 4 on the Jan. 28 rhythm 'n' blues chart, while the album is No. 29, r and b.
Easton met Prince in 1985. He produced "101" and co-produced "Cool Love" on "The lover in Me."
She says, "In 1984, when I was recording the album that had 'Strut' on it, I sent a message to Price through an engineer working for us both to say I was a major fan and I would love to record one of his songs.
"Two days later he sent me the tape of 'Sugar Walls.' He'd just written it for me. We met for the first time in the studio when he produced it. We've written together some, if we come up with an idea. I write with a few people. Mainly, I write lyrics on my own and decide who I want to write the melody to it."
Easton, who has been divorced twice, has lived in Los Angeles since 1982. Easto was the name of her first husband.
She attended the Roral Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She says: "It taught me how to be a drama student pretty well. It didn't teach me how to act.
"For the past few years I've been looking at scripts and talking about acting. Much to the chagrin of my film agent, I've never had the time to commit to any project. I tour six months. Recording can take nine months. Then I make videos, do press and tour again."
But, during Easton's time out from recording, her agent discovered that "Miami Vice" was looking for an actress to play Johnson's bride. Easton says: "The timing worked out well. It meant immediate filming. It was a short commitment. The role was small enough that I could cope with it and large enough to get attention. I went along and auditioned and got it and did it."
She auditioned opposite Johnson. "He was very active in the selection for this role." she says. The series' first choice was Lorraine Bracco, but she got the flu and Easton was summoned.
She says: "I've been singing with an American accent since I was 10 and I was prepared to talk with an American accent. The producers of the show liked the idea of the character being European. She had to be different to make this hard-bitten cop fall over and want to marry her."
She wasn't given the wedding dress, Easton says. "What would I do with it? Wear it to parties? They have a memorabilia collection they put on display in different cities. there was talk of it going in there. They bought the wardrobe, but I chose it."
Easton says that audience response was so good she was asked to stay on the show. "I was in preproduction for this album and I didn't want to be a regular on a TV show. Finally, I agreed to come down for two days to film a death scene somebody was getting at Don's character so they shot me in the back. You saw the person take aim and me collapse in Don's arms."
She was impressed with Johnson. "It'd be 4 in the morning and we'd been working 20 hours. He would crack jokes with the crew. He went out of his way to make me look good and feel comfortable. If I was a few inches off my mark he would adjust his poosition so that the camera could get me, instead of yellling, 'This girl is off her mark.' I appreciated that. Someone in his positon doesn't have to do that."
The singer got acting offers after that but turned them down, continuing with the album. "If the perfect thing came along, I'd have to see if I could adjust my schedule," she says.