Sheila E Portrait

Sheila E.

Oakland, United States

Born into a musical family, Sheila Escovedo (Sheila E.) is a drummer, singer, songwriter, author, and humanitarian who has been driven by an inner rhythm her entire life. As a young girl, she was immersed in the diverse music scenes of the Bay Area—influenced and inspired by her percussionist father Pete Escovedo; musical uncles Coke Escovedo, Alejandro Escovedo, Mario Escovedo, and Javier Escovedo; and godfather Tito Puente.

Before Sheila had language, she had rhythm. When she was 3 years old, she developed a love for playing various musical instruments, feeling the most connected to the drums and other percussion instruments. As a young child, she’d copy the hand movements of her father as he played the drums—planting the seed for what would quickly become her life’s passion. At the age of 5, Sheila gave her first public performance for an audience of 3,000, appearing alongside her dad. It was while on that stage playing a drum solo that Sheila first realized she was going to be a percussionist.

Sheila began her professional career as a drummer and percussionist in the 1970s but her career took an exciting turn when she met Prince backstage after a gig. The singer-songwriter revealed he had been following her career for some time, and the two quickly became friends. Their friendship eventually led to Sheila E. lending her vocals on Prince’s song “Erotic City”—a move that prompted her to launch her own solo singing career. She went on to have successful hits such as “The Glamours Life” and “Love Bizarre,” and toured the world with Prince. Since then she has performed with the who’s who in music including George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Beyonce, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few.

Five decades later, Sheila continues to tour, record and use music to create positive change. Sheila is passionate about two things above most: music and helping others in need. Throughout her career, she’s been fortunate enough to get to share her story and use the power of music to help those who need it most.

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