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The Drummer that Offered Prince a Support

Everyone who has ever saw Sheila E playing live, immediately understands why the American funk superstar Prince wanted her in his band. Sheila E has proved that she is a linchpin of the band that spurred Prince to ever new heights at the peak of his career. They met in 1978, but it took another six years until Sheila E has decided to work with Prince.

The Percussionist of the Stars

This is not a surprise that Sheila Escovedo became a known figure of the music scene while being a teenager. She is the daughter of percussionist Pedro Escovedo. He played drums and percussion with Carlos Santana, Lionel Richie, and many other starts. Texas songwriter and singer Alejandro Escovedo is her uncle. US-American jazz, salsa, and mambo musician Tito Puente is her godfather. Her aunt Nicole Richie is well-connected in the celebrity music scene of Los Angeles. But all this has faded quickly when the talent of Sheila that she had for drums and percussions became visible. She learned how to play congas at the age of only five and by the time she turned 15 Sheila was already on the tour with her first band. A year later, Sheila Escovedo made her debut record and was subsequently booked as a musician for numerous well-known stars such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billie Cobham, Patti LaBelle and Lionel Richie. The year of 1984 can be called nothing but a door to her fame.

6 Years by Prince’s Side

In February, Prince was working on his new songs in Los Angeles, although his last album Purple Rain had not been released yet. He invited Sheila Escovedo to play and sing together on two songs. While being amazed by her skills, Prince offered to support her solo career and gave her the stage name Sheila E. This was followed by her debut album The Glamorous Life and appearances as a support act for the Purple Rain tour. Sheila E became a permanent member of Prince band and recorded several solo albums with him. Her special status became visible for everyone during the live concerts of that time when she could solo demonstrate her extraordinary ability on the drums in the middle of performances.  Many years later, the media has revealed that Prince and Sheila E were engaged for some time, but their personal and musical relationships have been broken. At the end of 1989, she had to fight with some health problems and separated from Prince.


One of the Best Drummers

After she has ended up all connections with Prince, she has started a very successful solo career. Together with ex-Beatle Ringo Starr she toured the world for years as a member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Many collaborations with musicians like Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Natalie Cole, Stevie Nicks, and Stevie Wonder were followed by great success. In 2010 and 2011 she made a reunion with Prince and came back to the stage with his band. Sheila has accompanied her former mentor on his tours in the USA. Today she holds his memory in high esteem and organizes the tribute concert of the Grammys. Her status in the world of music is still unmatched. In 2016, the most powerful music magazine in the USA Rolling Stone gave her a nomination as one of only five women among the best drummers of all time.