Steve Easton (1963-2018)
Bermudian singer, songwriter and music producer Steve Easton died on Friday at the age of 54 after suffering from complications related to diabetes.
The father of three recorded Beyoncé when she took part in the Bermuda Music Festival in 2008, collaborated with David Bowie on a number of songs while the British star lived on the island and recorded voice-over actors for the 2005 Star Wars movie Revenge of the Sith.
Described as a humble man, the owner and producer of Just Platinum studio never forgot his roots and was always on hand to help aspiring locals make their way in music, production and recording.
Aside from his love for music, Mr Easton was a family man.
His brother, Mikko Ingham, said: “My greatest memories of Steve would be outside the music. I enjoyed my brother for the family man he was and he really enjoyed family gatherings and talking about old times. I will really miss that.
“I used to make it a point that every Friday I would go to the studio and would be there for two or three hours just talking because that's what he loved to do.”
Mr Easton's other brother Shondell described him as “a big brother I looked up to”.
He said: “I was always proud of his accomplishments. He was a big influence on me. I do music as well and he taught me everything I know in that world. I'm a producer and recording engineer for Just Platinum.
“Steve was a very charismatic person. He was extremely knowledgeable about recording and the whole music world. He was always trying to figure out how electronics worked. When he was young, he got a radio as a present and he took it apart to see how it worked.
“A large portion of people in Bermuda that have recording set ups were helped by Steve. I used to see people come to the studio to pick his brain. I used to tell him that they want to become your competition, but he would give them the information anyway and they would set up as his competition.”
Mr Easton's daughter Loren Bunni Ramey said: “My dad was hilarious, handsome, very smart, creative, extremely talented, engaging, kind, and determined. I think people were drawn to him because of those qualities. Those qualities are great, but I was drawn to him because he was mine. My Dad.
“It's been really encouraging to see how many lives he's touched over the years through his work. He was truly dedicated to serving his community and I admired that about him.
“I'm honoured to be a small part of his outstanding legacy, and I'm honoured to have had him as my father. I love and miss him more than words can express.”
Mr Easton came from a musical family. His mother, Gloria, was a choir director for the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church, his father Raymond sang as does his sister Lisa Smith.
He attended Atlantic Union College in Boston in the 1980s before studying accounting at York University in Canada. After graduating, he went on to study recording engineering at the Trebas Institute in Toronto.
He then joined what was to become Canada's most popular gospel band, Selection, which toured Canada and the US.
Mr Easton's first recording studio was StudioVII, which he set up in Toronto with Tim Fray in 1992.
He moved to Bermuda in 1998 and opened Just Platinum studio, where he worked with many musical legends including David Bowie, with whom he made regular recordings in the early 2000s.
He also recorded Catherine Zeta Jones's voice-overs for her T-Mobile adverts and wrote advertisements for corporations on the island.
Glenn Blakeney, the founder of Bermuda Soul Records and chairman of Inter-Island Communications, worked closely with Mr Easton and said the news of his passing was “devastating” for the island.
“He was one of the most selfless people that I know,” Mr Blakeney said.
“He was always willing to assist particularly those who were aspiring to be in the music industry. We go back many years and started our writing and producing jingles together. He was a consummate professional and very knowledgeable about the music industry. He has worked with so many different people.
“He did a masterclass seminar along with Orville Malcolm and Bruce Swedien, who is renowned for being the engineer on all Michael Jackson produced by Quincy Jones.
“Bruce had offered the chance to do an audio engineering class with him in Florida. They were selected among seven or eight people around the world to attend and were graded highest among those who attended the class.
“He was an unsung hero, he was humble, he just went very quietly about doing what he did best to help other people in their musical aspirations.”
Elmore Warren, owner of Fresh TV, described Mr Easton as a world-class singer with a commitment to high-quality music.
Mr Warren said: “The nice thing is, he has a legacy that time is never going to forget.”
DJ Jason Ford, also known as Jugglin Jason, said Mr Easton was instrumental in helping him.
He said: “I've known Steve for more than 20 years. Obviously we found that we both had a common interest when it came to music.
“He revolutionised production here on the island. He was always willing to sacrifice his time even though you may have been in competition with him.”
Patrina O'Connor-Paynter, also known as Powergirl, recalled how Mr Easton gave her her first couple of jobs voicing commercials.
She said: “Steve was one of the most humble and sweetest people I knew.
“He was super talented and very professional. He was a pleasure to work with and had a wealth of knowledge.”
The managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Bermuda also recalled how he produced all of the TV commercials for the charity.
Ms O'Connor-Paynter added: “I truly enjoyed working with him. Bermuda has lost a legend. I send my love and prayers to his family.”
Mr Easton leaves behind his wife Shevy, his daughters Loren “Bunni” Ramey, Tia Easton and Stephanie Easton, his brothers Shondell Easton and Mikko Ingham, and his sister Lisa Smith.