HUB Exclusive: Sheena Easton Brings Nostalgia & A Variety Of Musical Genres To Napa June 7 & 8

HUB Exclusive: Sheena Easton Brings Nostalgia & A Variety Of Musical Genres To Napa June 7 & 8

By Michael P Coleman

Sheena Easton will bring her phenomenal, multi-octave voice to the Blue Note in Napa for four performances on June 7 & 8.

During my EXCLUSIVE interview, Scotland’s most melodic export promised to perform all of the hits her fans want to hear, and all of the genres she took to the top of the charts.

“I hate when I go to a show and I’m looking forward to hearing the songs that I love, and the artist has decided that they don’t want to do the hits,” the 60 year old mother of two proclaimed with her still girlish, gorgeous Scottish brogue.  “I have an incredible band, some great guys who I travel with all of the time, and I get a kick out of being onstage with them.  My show will be all fun, nostalgic stuff.”

The diminutive Easton — she’s 5’1” on a good day — was a force on pop radio, beginning with her stateside debut, “Morning Train,” in 1980.  She became the first artist ever to have a Top 5 hit on each of Billboard’s primary singles charts: Pop, Adult Contemporary, Country, R & B, and Dance. She delivered infectious hits like “When He Shines,” “Modern Girl,” “I Wouldn’t Beg For Water, “Almost Over You,” and the James Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only.”

“I was so lucky,” Easton said of that iconic movie theme, “and I knew the legacy of Bond and all of the artists who had done Bond themes who had come before me.  I was young enough to have the balls to say ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ Sometimes, it takes courage and the nerve of a young person to just go for it, when an opportunity like that comes up.  You can’t really dwell on the gravity of it.”

Easton recorded one of the first versions of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which Bette Midler took to the top of the charts a decade or so earlier.  Easton’s remains my preferred version, but the ever-modest legend gave props to Midler. 

“I still have memories of recording that beautiful song,” Easton said. “It’s still one that I do occasionally, rotating it into the line-up and rotating something else out. When I heard Bette’s version, I said ‘Damn, girl!  You did a GREAT version of that!”

Another high profile project that came Easton’s way very early on was the multi-format smash with country superstar Kenny Rogers, “We’ve Got Tonight.” 

“Kenny was always such a gracious gentleman,” Easton recalled.  “When the label asked me if I wanted to record the Bob Seger tune with him, I said ‘Absofreakinglutely!’ I would have sung the Alphabet Song with Kenny Rogers!  I think we popped those vocals on in a few hours — it was one of those things where I knew that song very well. It was like it was in my bones. Kenny was amazing to sing with.”

While the duet with Rogers was closer to bluegrass, Easton went a little purple with her next collaboration. 

“I had just recorded ‘Strut’ and our sound engineer was also working with Prince,” Easton recalled.  “He brought me a tape of ‘Sugar Walls’ and told me that Prince wanted me to call him if I liked it. All I could hear was that groove.  I said ‘Aw, damn!  That’s amazing!’ And you can’t say ‘no’ to working with Prince. It started a collaboration where we did many things together.”  Those projects included the hit duet, “U Got The Look.”

Prince.  Kenny Rogers.  Middle-of-the-road pop.  And Easton also did Motown covers (her faithful “Jimmy Mack” comes to mind), the Great American Songbook (her highly underrated No Strings album)…and one of her two Grammy Awards is for a Spanish-language duet with Luis Miguel, “Me Gustas Tal Como Eres.”

I had to ask Easton how she came to love — and master — so many different, diverse genres of music.

“You have to understand how I grew up,” Easton intimately told me. “I grew up in a very small town, and we had ONE radio station!  They’d play Stevie Wonder and then they’d go into Dolly Parton and then they’d go into David Bowie.  So to us, there weren’t genres. It was just great pop music.”

It’s a perfect way to describe Easton’s contribution to the music industry.  You can’t constrain her to a particular genre: hers is just great pop music.  And if we’re lucky, just as she always did back in the day, she’ll sing a little of all of it at the Blue Note in Napa this weekend. 

“I hope my fans in the area come out if they want a bit of nostalgia,” Easton professed. “They won’t be spending time listening to a bunch of new stuff that they haven’t heard of. It’s all about the memories, and we have a good time.”

For tickets to see Sheena Easton at the Blue Note in Napa, go to bluenotenapa.com

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