skip navigation
Sheila E.

Sheila E.

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Sheila E. - NOT AVAILABLE

Find what your looking for faster use the search field below to shop for titles.

SEARCH TCM.COM/SHOP


OR ... Click here to VOTE > for this person to be released on Home Video



Also Known As: Sheila Cecelia Escovedo Died:
Born: December 12, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Oakland, California, USA Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The scion of the Escovedo musical dynasty, which included her father Pete Escovedo and uncle Alejandro, Sheila E.'s most frequent collaborator was the rock icon Prince, but she transcended preconceived notions about his Svengali-like relationship with female protégés by virtue of her extraordinary talents as a percussionist. She began performing as a teenager alongside her father and uncle in their Latin funk band Azteca, before working as a session player for Marvin Gaye and George Duke. She finally stepped into the spotlight with her Top 30 solo debut, The Glamorous Life (1984), which produced a Top 10 single in the title track, a sultry paean to decadent living penned by Prince that meshed well with the high-gloss, high-drama funk of his Purple Rain period. However, her pop career quickly cooled after generating a Top 20 hit with another Prince tune, "A Love Bizarre" (1985), though she remained a significant member of the singer-songwriter's camp by serving as musical director on numerous tours. Her reputation as a show-stopping performer also led to stints with Ringo Starr, Herbie Hancock and Gloria Estefan, as well as forays into television, most notably as bandleader for Magic Johnson's...

The scion of the Escovedo musical dynasty, which included her father Pete Escovedo and uncle Alejandro, Sheila E.'s most frequent collaborator was the rock icon Prince, but she transcended preconceived notions about his Svengali-like relationship with female protégés by virtue of her extraordinary talents as a percussionist. She began performing as a teenager alongside her father and uncle in their Latin funk band Azteca, before working as a session player for Marvin Gaye and George Duke. She finally stepped into the spotlight with her Top 30 solo debut, The Glamorous Life (1984), which produced a Top 10 single in the title track, a sultry paean to decadent living penned by Prince that meshed well with the high-gloss, high-drama funk of his Purple Rain period. However, her pop career quickly cooled after generating a Top 20 hit with another Prince tune, "A Love Bizarre" (1985), though she remained a significant member of the singer-songwriter's camp by serving as musical director on numerous tours. Her reputation as a show-stopping performer also led to stints with Ringo Starr, Herbie Hancock and Gloria Estefan, as well as forays into television, most notably as bandleader for Magic Johnson's short-lived talk show "The Magic Hour" (Fox, 1998). Though her pop career was largely a footnote, Sheila E.'s percussive skills not only elevated her beyond the fleeting fame of Vanity, Apollonia and other female singers shepherded by Prince, but also garnered great respect from some of the biggest names in the music industry.

Born Sheila Escovedo on Dec. 12, 1957 in Oakland, CA, she hailed from a large family of musicians, including her father, percussionist Pete Escovedo, who played with Santana before leading the Latin big band Azteca. Her uncles included Coke Escovedo, who also played with Santana and Azteca; acclaimed punk/alt-country musician Alejandro Escovedo; Javier Escovedo of the seminal San Diego punk group The Zeros; and Mario Escovedo, who fronted the long-running indie rock act The Dragons. Her brother, Peter Michael Escovedo, was an Emmy-nominated percussionist and bandleader for "The Wayne Brady Show" (ABC/syndicated, 2001-04), as well as the biological father of Nicole Richie. Music was naturally an integral part of her upbringing, with top Latin musicians like her godfather, Tito Puente, being a regular presence in the Escovedo home. But her childhood was also marked by financial struggles prior to the debut of Azteca in 1972. As she grew older, Sheila was pressured to join the gang lifestyle that dominated her neighborhood, but found an escape through track and field at her high school. Music soon became her primary focus, much to her father's dismay. Pete Escovedo had discouraged his children from following in his footsteps, but Sheila's desire to play percussion eventually won him over.

While still a teenager, Sheila began performing with Azteca, and proved so talented that she soon left high school to tour South America with the band. She soon became an in-demand percussionist with various jazz and Latin groups, including keyboardist George Duke, as well as frequent session work with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Jarreau and Herbie Hancock. She first met Prince after performing at a concert with her father in 1978, but did not officially collaborate with him until 1983, when he began recording Purple Rain (1984). She provided vocals on "Erotic City," the B-side to his hit single "Let's Go Crazy," which preceded her solo debut as a pop artist on Warner Bros. Records. The Glamorous Life (1984) yielded a Grammy-nominated Top 10 hit with the title track, as well as a Top 40 follow-up with "The Belle of St. Mark." Sheila gained considerable exposure as the opening act for Prince's hugely successful Purple Rain tour, which led to a second album, Romance 1600 (1985) and a Top 20 single in "A Love Bizarre," which was featured in the seminal hip-hop film "Krush Groove" (1985). However, her self-titled third album, released in 1987, failed to generate the same response as its predecessors, prompting Sheila to return to Prince's side as drummer and musical director for the Sign O' the Times and Lovesexy tours in 1987 and 1988, respectively.

After leaving the Prince organization in 1990, Sheila again attempted to strike out on her own, releasing the 1991 album Sex Cymbal. However, her relentless schedule of touring and recording over the previous five years left her severely exhausted, which prevented her from touring in support of her new album. Sheila worked solely as a session player for the next two years before launching a new group, E-Train, in 1994, which recorded two well-regarded albums of Latin funk in 1998 and 2001. She also became the first female bandleader in television history by leading the house band on the "Magic Hour" talk show, hosted by former Los Angeles Lakers basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she collaborated with a wide variety of major artists, including three tours with Ringo Starr as a member of his All-Starr Band between 2001 and 2006 and Herbie Hancock in 2006. She was a frequent contributor to pop-Latin crossover star Gloria Estefan's recordings, including the single "No Llores," which topped the Latin Billboard chart in 2007.

Sheila also continued to collaborate with Prince, most notably on the One Nite Alone Tour in 2002 and the "Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas" (2003) concert video, as well as his 2008 appearance at the Coachella Music Festival. In 2007, Sheila was a celebrity judge on Simon Fuller's "Next Great American Band" (Fox, 2007-08) reality series, then became the winning contestant in the third season of "Gone Country," on which celebrities competed to record a country single. She returned to recording in 2010 with the EP From E 2 U, which featured a new single penned by Prince called "Leader of the Band." Sheila then reunited with her mentor for the 20Ten and Welcome 2 America tours in 2010 before logging a slew of high-profile appearances, including a 2011 performance with Marc Anthony on the 10th season finale of "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) and the 2012 Academy Awards with Pharrell Williams. That same year, she toured with smooth jazz performer Dave Koz as part of his Christmas tour before announcing a new solo CD and autobiography in 2013.

By Paul Gaita

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Cursed (2005)
3.
 Listen Up (1990)
4.
5.
 Krush Groove (1985)
6.
 VH1 Presents the '80s (2001) Interviewee ("Hip Hop/R&B")
7.
9.
 ABC 2000 (1999)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute