Sheila E. Biography

Sheila Escovedo, 12 December 1957, Oakland, California, USA, Sheila E. came to prominence as a solo artist in 1984 but had been playing conga drums since the age of three. Her father, Pete Escovedo, worked briefly with Santana and led the Latin-jazz fusion band Azteca, with which Sheila sat in while in high school. She briefly gave up the idea of a musical career but eventually left school to join her father’s band, appearing on two of his albums for Fantasy Records. She was discovered by Prince in 1984 and appeared as a vocalist on his ‘Erotic City’, the b-side of the US number 1 ‘Let’s Go Crazy’. With that exposure she was able to sign a solo record contract with Warner Brothers Records; her debut was Sheila E. In The Glamorous Life. The album yielded the US Top 10 single of the same name and the UK Top 20 hit, ‘The Belle Of St. Mark’. Her follow-up, Sheila E. In Romance 1600, appeared on Prince’s Paisley Park label in 1985 and featured the US hit single, ‘A Love Bizarre’, with Prince himself on backing vocals. Her third solo album, self-titled, was released in 1987 but failed to garner the attention or sales of the first two. That same year she joined Prince’s touring group as drummer, also appearing in the movie Sign ’O’ The Times.

After a four-year lapse in recording, Escovedo returned in 1991 with the dance-orientated Sex Cymbal, which was self-written and produced with assistance from her brother, Peter Michael, and David Gamson. Escovedo subsequently retreated behind the scenes, writing and recording with other artists and working as music director on Magic Johnson’s television show The Magic Hour. She also worked extensively with charitable organisations. In 2000, she produced and co-composed the music for the first Latin Grammy Awards and returned to recording with the stylish Latin jazz album, Writes Of Passage. She has also worked with Ringo Starr as part of his All Starr Band.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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