Sheila Escovedo was born into a musical family. The eldest child of Pete and Juanita Escovedo (she has two brothers, Juan and Peter Michael, and one sister, Zina), she started playing with the family instruments at the age of 3.
Sheila was obviously influenced by her father Latin jazz legend and timbalero Pete Escovedo (then band leader of the influential band Azteca) while watching him rehearse. At 5 years old, Sheila made her concert "debut" at the former Sands Ballroom in Oakland, as she was invited on stage by her father to play a solo in front of an audience of 3,000. At that moment, Sheila knew exactly what she wanted to do: she was going to be a percussionist.
From age 17, Sheila E. has recorded and toured extensively with renowned artists such as Billy Cobham, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Pete Escovedo, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Ringo Starr, Tito Puente, Don Was and countless others, but to name a few.
Her performances have been exceptionally entertaining, and very gratifying. She has worked with various charities, such as Super Bowl at Seaus for Breast Cancer Foundation and the Pediatric Aids Foundation For Our Children. Her rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb contributed to the 6 million copies of CDs and videos sold worldwide. Sheila received rave reviews for her riveting performance at APIA benefit with Barbara Streisand, Patty Labelle, Natalie Cole, Shirley Mclaine, and Liza Minelli.
Sheila performed on Gloria Estefans smash hit album, Mi Tierra, and at the 1996 Olympics. Taking the stage of the 35th Annual Academy Awards, Sheila performed with Placido Domingo and was featured in the all girl Grammy production opening number with Ellen Degeneris. For a Celebration of Americas Music befitting the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and hosted by Bill Cosby, she played with such talents as George Benson, Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, James Moodyand, and Jimmy Health in a special tribute to Dizzy Gillespie.
Sheila gave a riveting performance on MTV Unplugged with Kenny Babyface Edmonds and performed on the Prince of Egypt soundtrack featuring Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. She performed at the Concert of the Americas, where past and present Presidents and their families were in attendance, and appeared as featured artist with Jennifer Lopez on her promotional tour.
In 1983, Sheila caught the attention of Prince and changed her name to "Sheila E.," and Prince helped her record her first solo album, "The Glamorous Life". The first single from the album, "The Glamorous Life", written, performed, and "directed" by Sheila E., was released in the spring of 1984 and earned popular and critical acclaim. This single went on to receive multiple Grammy and American Music Award nominations, and won MTV's Best Video Award. "The Glamorous Life" yielded a hit single in the title track, and another hit for its follow-up single, "The Belle of St. Mark". After three months of sold out performances in Europe and the United States, Sheila began touring as the opening act for Prince's 1984-85 sold out Purple Rain Tour, all while composing her follow-up album, "Romance 1600".
Released in August of 1985, "Romance 1600" raced up the charts with its mega-single "A Love Bizarre". A three-month engagement opening for Lionel Richie followed a headlining tour in the spring, 1986, of which a video of her March 1986 San Francisco performance (called "Romance 1600 Live") was later that year released.
In 1986, Sheila made her acting debut in the motion picture "Krush Groove", and contributed the song "Holly Rock" to its soundtrack. Soon after, Sheila released her third album entitled "Sheila E.", which included yet another smash single, "Hold Me", which went to #1 on Billboard's chart and had a fast-growing international reputation. Instead of touring to support her own album, however, Sheila E. joined Prince's band, playing drums and percussion, for his European tour supporting his album "Sign o' the Times", a tour that Rolling Stone Magazine readers rated as the 15th best tour in music history. Showing her strong family roots and love for Latin jazz, she joined her father, Pete, and fellow Latin jazz legend, the great Tito Puente, on a special concert which deviated from the pop and funk music she had become popular playing. Later released on video and CD as "Latina Familia", the performance showcased her skills as a virtuoso musician. In 1988 and 1989, Sheila toured again with Prince on his "Lovesexy" World Tour, playing drums and percussion.
In the following year, she appeared in the Andrew Dice Clay comedy "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" and in 1991, released her fourth CD, "Sex Cymbal". The CD, which was largely produced by her younger brother Peter Michael, included two singles accompanied by brilliant videos: the title track, and "Droppin' Like Flies".
After taking several years off for health reasons, Sheila's next project, the E-Train, started in 1994. The band that played a mixture of soul, Latin jazz, funk, fusion and gospel toured in Europe in 1994, and finally released a CD, entitled "Writes of Passage" in 1998.
In 1998, Sheila became the first female bandleader on late night television on Magic Johnson's talk show "The Magic Hour", and she wrote and produced the late night show's theme song.
Sheila has played on countless albums, including the soundtrack to "Prince of Egypt", featuring Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, successful Japanese artist Namie Amuro (whom she also toured with in 1996 and 2002) and Gloria Estefan's hugely successful "Mi Tierra".
Among her other notable appearances, Sheila performed at the 35th Annual Academy Awards with the incomparable Placido Domingo, the 1996 Summer Olympics and was featured in the "all girl" Grammy production opening number featuring Ellen De Generes. For "A Celebration of America's Music benefiting the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz", and hosted by Bill Cosby, Sheila performed among superstars, including George Benson, Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, James Moody, and Jimmy Health in a special tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. Other notable performances included "MTV Unplugged" with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, and "The Concert of The Americas", where past and present U.S. Presidents and their families were in attendance. She also appeared as "featured artist" with Jennifer Lopez on her promotional tour. In the summer 2003 Sheila returned for an encore performance live in concert with the legendary Ringo Starr and in the fall of the same year she was presented with The Prism Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution in the entertainment industry by Minorities in Business Magazine.
Founder and president of HEAVEN PRODUCTIONS MUSIC, a music production company, Sheila and company has been hired to direct and arrange music for the ALMA Awards (1998 & 1999), The 1998 WoW Awards and 1998 Gospel Music Association's annual event. Sheila co-hosted ABC's Countdown To the American Music Awards with Wayne Brady, and also hosted 10 episodes of VH1's Arsenio Jams and recently appeared as a celebrity judge for NBCs Americas Most Talented Kids Finals. In 2003 she wrote, recorded and taped a montage for the World Series in Baseball.
Currently, Sheila E. is an advocate for, and continues to devote her talents and time to the Lil' Angel Bunny Foundation (LABF), a charitable organization (which she is co-founder and co-chair) that assists the needs of abused and abandoned children through music therapy. Despite the demands of her commitment to making music, Sheila maintains a heavy involvement in the organization. "There are so many kids who need our help", she says, "and we're trying to help them get their lives together, by building their confidence through music and the arts. It's just another way for me to do God's will, another reason for living. I believe we are here to help people in this lifetime. We must give something of ourselves to truly live". Sheila E. and LABF presented the Family Jamm! benefit concert in December 2003 to raise money for the foundation. Headed by Sheila E., the historic event reunited many of the artists and band that defined the Minneapolis sound created by Prince in the '80s.
Aside from the Lil' Angel Bunny Foundation, Sheila E. is an advocate for the Rose Education Foundation and Breast Cancer Foundation. She performed on USA For Africa's "We Are the World," for African famine relief in 1985. She contributed her rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" to the Pediatric Aids Foundation with 6 million CDs and videos sold worldwide for the project "For Our Children". She also received rave reviews for her riveting performance at the APLA (Aids Project Los Angeles) benefit with Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, Shirley Mac Laine, and Liza Minnelli.
Blus 52 Studios, her recording studio, opened in late 2002 and has already hosted some world-renowned musicians, including the gospel choir, Soldiers on Soul Patrol, who recorded their debut CD there. Among the other projects completed there, Sheila contributed music to the soundtrack of the feature film "Chasing Papi", released in 2003, which also featured her in a small part as band leader.
Sheila's enthusiasm for "passing it on" to a new generation of players led her to design The Sheila E.'s Player Series", a new line of percussion instruments for kids with TOCA Kaman Music.
Her most recent CD release "Heaven" is an enchanting combination of adult contemporary, funk, jazz and inspirational tracks. For a list of her albums, singles, videos and recordings for other artists visit the music section of this site.
Sheila E. is indeed a multi-faceted drummer, percussionist, vocalist, songwriter, performer, arranger, producer, composer, instrumentalist and humanitarian. Her gifts have brought joy on the world and have made her one of today's brightest talents, and she continues to be one of our most treasured stars.