Sheila E

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Sheila E.


Artist details

Birth Name: Sheila Escovedo
Date Of Birth: 12 December 1957: Oakland, CA, USA
Occupation: Singer, Producer, Drummer, Percussionist, occasionally plays violin and guitar.
Endorsement(s): DW Drums (Drums, Pedals and Hardware)
Zildjian (Cymbals)
Toca (Percussions)
Activity with Prince: From 1984 to 1989
From 2010 to 2011
Live Performances
First live appearance w/Prince:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:
With Prince:
  • Singles:
1984: Let’s Go Crazy
1984: I Would Die 4 U
1984: Syndicate
1985: Pop Life
1986: Girls & Boys
1987: U Got The Look
1988: Alphabet St.
1988: Glam Slam
1988: I Wish U Heaven
  • Albums:
1985: Around The World In A Day
1986: Parade
1987: Sign O’ The Times
1988: Lovesexy
1990: Graffiti Bridge
1991: Diamonds And Pearls
1994: “The Black Album”
1998: Crystal Ball
1999: The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale
2004: Musicology
2006: 3121
2007: Planet Earth
With Prince’s Associates:
  • Singles:
1990: Kid Creole And The Coconuts - The Sex Of It
  • Albums:
1984: Apollonia 6 - Apollonia 6
1987: Madhouse - 8
1987: Madhouse - 16
1989: Mavis Staples - Time Waits For No One
1991: Eric Leeds - Times Squared
Self Productions with Prince:
  • Singles:
1985: Holly Rock
1985: A Love Bizarre
2010: From E 2 U
  • Albums:
1984: The Glamorous Life
1985: Romance 1600
1985: Krush Groove
1987: Sheila E.
2013: Icon

Sheila E. became one of the top female musicians during the 1980s due to her fierce drumming style and her Latin rhythms. A former protégé of Prince, Sheila became a drummer in his band before branching off into solo musical projects. In addition to being considered the best female drummer alive, Sheila E. has also expanded into acting roles, most notably in the urban cult classic film Krush Groove (1985).

She’s co-founder (along with Lynn Mabry) of the "Lil' Angel Bunny Foundation", an organization that "provides abused, abandoned and severely emotionally disturbed children compassionate care by implementing an alternative method of recreational and education therapy through music and the arts and funding special services and programs that assist the needs of these children using these fundamental methods".

Musical Career
Early Life

Child prodigy, she starts playing the drums at 5. She attended Oakland High School in Oakland, California. Sheila Escovedo is the eldest child and daughter of percussionist Pete Escovedo. Her two brothers, Juan Escovedo and Peter Michael Escovedo and uncle (Coke Escovedo) are also percussionists.

Early Musical Career

She made her recording debut with jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson, "Yesterday’s Dream" (1976). By the time she was in her early twenties, she had played with George Duke, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Ross.

Work With Prince

Sheila met Prince at an Al Jarreau concert in 1978. After the show, he met her and told her that he and his bassist André Cymone "were just fighting about which one of us would be the first to be your husband". He also prophetically vowed that one day she would join his band. The two would eventually join forces during the Purple Rain recording sessions.

  • Input in Prince’s Discography
She provided vocals on Erotic City b-side to the single Let’s Go Crazy. Though taken under Prince’s wing, she proved to be a successful artist in her own right. In 1984 she scored hits with The Glamorous Life (1984) (Hot 100 #7, and regarded as something of an 80s classic), and The Belle Of St. Mark (#34). She opened for the Purple Rain Tour. Around the same time, the collaborating duo began a brief romantic relationship, while Prince was still seeing Susannah Melvoin, twin sister Revolution band member Wendy Melvoin.
Sheila also served as a writer and musician on many of Prince’s records, as well as on the albums of his protégés such as Madhouse.
In 1985 she released Romance 1600, scored another hit with the track " A Love Bizarre " (#11), and the non album track Holly Rock made it’s way to live shows and the film Krush Groove . She was also nominated for an American Music Awards and a Grammy for The Glamorous Life.
Sheila recorded three albums during the '80s, The Glamorous Life , Romance 1600 , and Sheila E. She appeared in four films including Krush Groove with Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Blair Underwood in 1985, Prince’s concert film and Sign O’ The Times in 1987. Prince and Sheila worked on a fourth album together between early 1987 and late 1988, and planned for release in 1989. The album was abandoned when Sheila E. left Paisley Park Records in early 1989.
  • Input in Prince’s Live performances
During the Sign O’ The Times, “The Black Album” (material from it was intended as birthday party music for Sheila E.), and Lovesexy periods of Prince’s career (including the Lovesexy Tour), Sheila E. served as his drummer and musical director in his highly regarded '87-'88 backup band, not long after her departure. During the Sign O’ The Times era, she released the single Koo Koo from her 3rd album Sheila E., which had Sign O’ The Times Tour member Cat as back up dancer in the accompanying video.
  • Input in Prince’s bands
Many musicians played in Sheila E.’s bands before being recruited by Prince in his own live bands : Miko Weaver, Levi Seacer, Jr., Boni Boyer, Kat Dyson, Rhonda Smith, Renato Neto and Cassandra O’Neal.
  • Work with Prince in the 2000’s
Sheila E. appears on three albums released between 2004 and 2007:Musicology,3121 and ,Planet Earth.
In February 2006 Sheila performed with Prince (and Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman once again at the BRIT Awards. She also performed with Prince on Live At The Aladdin Las Vegas in 2002, the 36th NAACP Image Awards in 2005, and Good Morning Show in June 2006. In 2007, she performed at the ALMA (American Latin Music Awards) Awards in June 2007 with Prince. She guested on many of his shows during that era (On 7 July 2007 in Minneapolis, MN she performed with Prince at all three of his shows: first, at the 3121 perfume launch at Macy’s, followed by the Target Center concert, and finally, closing it out with Prince, at an aftershow at First Avenue), On 26 April 2008 with Morris Day and Jerome Benton at the Coachella Music Festival). Prince guested on 29 March 2008 on Sheila’s performance with her family at Harvelle Redondo Beach, playing keyboard.
Sheila E. joined Prince regularly Prince on stage during the 20Ten, Prince Live 2010 and Welcome 2 America tours. Her last known performance with him was at the 21 May 2011 show given in San Jose.
After Working With Prince

After leaving the Prince camp in 1989 (she actually had a medical problem-collapsed lung), Sheila recorded a few more albums: Sex Cymbal, Writes of Passage, and Heaven. However, the albums garnered little attention. Sheila to continued to tour as a solo artist, band leader or with other artists and stayed a session musican in high demand.

She played on records released by Phil Collins, Beyoncé Knowles among others and has collaborated with Gloria Estefan for whom she played the timbales. Sheila first collaborated with Estefan on Estefan’s first Spanish language/Spanish studio album Mi Tierra in 1993, and in 2007 with Estefan’s smash hit " No Llores" in which Estefan also collaborates with Carlos Santana and Jose Feliciano.

Sheila E. continued to tour with different artists in the early years of 2000 : she played with a band in Japan backing Namie Amuro for his "Genius 2000" that was released on DVD. Sheila E. has performed three stints with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, in 2001, 2003, and 2006. Her drum "duets" with Starr are a moment of comic relief in the show, where they play the same parts but he quickly falls behind, shrugs and smiles as she takes off on an extended percussion solo. She also toured New Zealand as drummer and percussionist for the Abe Laboriel Band.

With Kat Dyson, Rhonda Smith and Cassandra O’Neal, Sheila E. formed the band C.O.E.D (Chronicles of Every Diva), who toured toured overseas in 2007. For several concerts C.O.E.D was joined by Candy Dulfer as special guest. An album was planned with that band but remains unreleased. A song for that album (Girl Like Me) will be re-recorded with Ledisi and released on Icon in 2013.

Apart from small roles in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (Morris Day also plays in that movie) and Chasing Papi , Sheila E. also took part on many TV programs. She was the leader of the house band on the short-lived 1998 late night talk show, The Magic Hour , starring Magic Johnson. In 2007, she was a judge on the Fox network’s The Next Great American Band alongside Australian Idol judge and marketing manager Ian "Dicko" Dickson and Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik. She also appeared in 2008 on the historic Emmy winning program, Idol Gives Back. It is the most important and significant part of the highly rated American Idol series. Sheila E. took part in the show opener Get on Your Feet with Gloria Estefan. Dance troupe, So You Think You Can Dance finalists joined the stage for the memorable moment.

Sheila E. won the CMT reality show, Gone Country in 2009. This will give her an opportunity to make country music aided by famed country producer, writer, and singer John Rich. A video for the song "Glorious Train" debuted on CMT on 7 March 2009 following the airing of the episode of Gone Country in which Sheila E. was announced the winner. The song was included on the limited release From E 2 UEP.

In 2011, Sheila E. released with her father Pete Escovedo and her two brothers, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo the album "Now And Forever" under the name "The E Family. The album features contributions by George Duke, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gloria Estefan, Israel Houghton,Raphael Saadiq and Joss Stone.

In 2014, Sheila released her autobiography called "Beat Of My Own Drum".

Current Work

Sheila E. is the business partner of singer and former The Brides of Funkenstein, Lynn Mabry. They formed a foundation for abused children called the Elevate Hope Foundation. She continues to tour around the world and gave many tribute shows to Prince after his passing.

In 2017, Sheila E. released a cover album called "Iconic: Message 4 America" which contains a cover of America.

Additional Information

See also Trivia

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  • Sheila E’s uncle is Alejandro Escovedo, formerly with Delphine Neid ’s first-wave punk rock group The Nuns, Rank and File and The True Believers, followed by a solo career. Coke Escovedo who was in Santana and formed the band Azteca was also her uncle. She is also niece to Javier Escovedo, founder of seminal San Diego punk act, The Zeros. Another uncle, Mario Escovedo, fronted long-running indie rockers, The Dragons. The late Tito Puente was Sheila’s godfather.
  • Escovedo is of Mexican, African American, and Louisiana Creole heritage.
  • Via her brother Peter Michael Escovedo, Nicole Richie is Sheila E'.s biological niece. Nicole Richie was born Nicole Camille Escovedo on 21 September 1981 in Berkeley, California. She is the adopted daughter of pop legend Lionel Richie and his first wife, Brenda. Her biological father is musician Peter Michael Escovedo (Wayne Brady Show Band Leader), brother of Sheila E. and son of famed percussionist Pete Escovedo. Nicole began living with the Richies as a toddler; the adoption was finalized when she was nine years old.

Kat Dyson All Biographies Prince Biography Carmen Electra