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, she made her concert "debut" at theformer 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 has recorded and toured extensively with renowned artists such as Babyface, Billy Cobham, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Pete Escovedo, Gloria Estefan, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Nicks, Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross,Ringo Starr, Tito Puente, Don Was, Stevie Wonder and countless others, but to name a few.
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."
Besides her charitable work through the Elevate Hope Foundation, Sheila performed on USA For Africa's "We Are the World," for African famine relief. 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." 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. Was honored for her contribution and dedication to the community, and received the Imagen Foundation's Humanitarian Award, Angels Across America Award, The Prism Lifetime Achievement Award, Woman Of The Year Award, and Women Of Soul Award which were all presented for her work through the Elevate Hope Foundation.
Her enthusiasm for "passing it on" to a new generation of players led her to design "The Sheila E. Player's Series", a new line of percussion instruments for kids with TOCA Kaman Music. The latest adult percussion Custom Series "Class E" line was also developed. Her last 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 discography.
Most recently, Sheila E. participated in the third season of CMT's hit show, "Gone Country." With the goal of creating a hit country music single, each "Gone Country" cast member is uprooted to Nashville for an intense two-week challenge. Justin Guarini, Taylor Dayne, George Clinton, Tara Conner, Richard Grieco, and Micky Dolenz competed on the third season along with Sheila E. Each celebrity was paired with two of Nashville's finest songwriters with whom they wrote a country single. In addition to meeting with songwriters, the cast competed in challenges that tested them musically and physically to adapt to a life in country music, both on and off the stage. Sheila E. was the Grand Prize Winner of the third season and has gone on to release her first country single & video for her song, "Glorious Train."
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.