A title like “Queen of Percussion” needs to be earned, and the legendary Sheila E. has worked hard for the accolades that have come her way. A career musician, ‘80s pop star, a seasoned player who has kept the beat alongside her generation’s most prestigious artists, and member of a musical family dynasty, Sheila E. has lived a life marked by her own immense talent and drive. Even more importantly, she’s done it all to the beat of her own very well-played drum.
Born Sheila Escovedo, E. is part of that Escovedo family — her father is drummer Pete Escovedo and her uncles are Santana member Coke Escovedo, punk musician Javier Escovedo and singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo. Drumming since she was a small child, E. had her first taste of mainstream stardom with 1984’s “The Glamorous Life,” a percussion-heavy pop hit that became her signature hit. Although she’s always been closely connected with the late Prince and his brand of ‘80s genre-bending romanticism, E. has always had a signature style, an equally eclectic combination of funk, pop, R&B and Latin rhythms.
E.’s latest album, 2017’s Iconic, is a feel-good explosion designed to be a “message 4 America,” featuring performances of classic tunes with guests Freddie Stone, George Clinton, Ringo Starr and others. Using the unrelentingly beat of her drums to guide her audiences through political times, over three decades into her unbelievable career Sheila E. is heading her own revolution, and it’s one that’s going to keep us all up and dancing.
Biography by Elizabeth Chorney Booth