Musician Sheila Escovedo, better known as [Sheila E.](https://www.masterclass.com/classes/sheila-e-teaches-drumming-and-percussion), came to prominence in the 1980s as a [percussionist](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/drumming-essentials-from-sheila-e), R\u0026B singer, and songwriter. As a solo act and musician/musical director, Sheila E. has worked with dozens of legends in American pop music and is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Percussion. Here are a few facts about Sheila E.’s life and career: \n\n- __Musical family__: Sheila Escovedo was born in Oakland, California, to a musical and multi-ethnic family. Her mother is of Creole-French/African descent, and her father, percussionist Pete Escovedo, is Mexican-American. Sheila’s uncle Coke Escovedo and her father were members of both Santana and Azteca, two popular Latin rock bands. Her uncle Alejandro Escovedo is a rock musician who plays guitar. Sheila’s brother, Peter Michael Escovedo, is a percussionist and music director. Her godfather was legendary timbalero (a person who plays timbales, a type of drums) Tito Puente.\n- __Early musical talent__: Sheila first performed publicly at age 5 when she played a drum solo alongside her dad in front of a 3,000-person crowd. At age 15, she filled in on the conga drums with Azteca. Sheila made her first recording at age 19 on *Yesterday’s Dream*, a jazz album by bassist Alphonso Johnson. \n- __Work with major names__: By her early twenties, Sheila was using the stage name Sheila E. She performed with Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Ross; she also played percussion and sang with The George Duke Band. Sheila and her father released an album in 1978. \n- __Work with Prince__: Sheila E. met Prince for the first time in 1977 and performed on the *Purple Rain* recording sessions in 1984, providing vocals on the hit “Erotic City.” Sheila was Prince’s drummer and band musical director between 1987 and 1989, playing drums and singing on the album *Lovesexy*. Sheila E. was briefly engaged to the late musical legend, and the two maintained a lengthy creative partnership. Sheila E. and Prince reunited for multiple performances in the 2000s, including for memorable performances in his hometown of Minneapolis. Following Prince’s death, Sheila supported multiple acts during a tribute show for him, called *Let's Go Crazy: A GRAMMY Salute to Prince*.\n- __Solo efforts__: Sheila E. opened for Prince as a solo act on his *Purple Rain* tour. The title track on her 1984 solo debut album, *The Glamorous Life*, netted a Billboard hit as well as multiple MTV and Grammy Awards. The following year, Sheila’s *Romance 1600* featured her signature song, “A Love Bizarre.” Sheila E.’s album *Sex Cymbal* was released in 1991 but sold poorly when health issues prevented Sheila from touring.\n- __Later collaborations__: Sheila E. amassed significant collaborations as a percussionist and bandleader. She played with Phil Collins; was the bandleader on *The Magic Hour*, a short-lived talk show that Magic Johnson hosted; and was a band member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. She also notably appeared on Beyoncé’s 2002 single “Work It Out,” on Cyndi Lauper’s album *At Last*, and on *Mi Tierra*, an album by Gloria Estefan and C.O.E.D. (Chronicles of Every Diva)—a group consisting of Sheila E., Kat Dyson, Rhonda Smith, and Cassandra O'Neal.\n- __Film appearances__: Sheila E. has appeared as herself in several films, including the 1985 film *Krush Groove* with Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J, and Prince's 1987 concert film, *Sign ‘o’ the Times*. Sheila E. also sang in the films *The Adventures of Ford Fairlane* and *Chasing Papi*.\n- __Later works__: Sheila E. released her seventh album, *Icon*, in 2013—the first release on her own label, Stilettoflats Music. The following year, she released an autobiography titled *Beat of My Own Drum*. Following Prince’s death in 2016, Sheila released "Girl Meets Boy” as a tribute to her longtime collaborator. Sheila’s 2017 album, *Iconic: Message 4 America*, featured major artists, such as George Clinton and Ringo Starr. \n\nSheila E. continues to do session work for film and television as well as mainstream acts such as Gary Clarke Jr. \n\nDive into this sampling of Sheila E. songs from across her career:\n\n1. “The Glamorous Life” (1984) \n2. “Oliver’s House” (1984)\n3. “The Belle of St. Mark” (1984) \n4. “A Love Bizarre” (feat. Prince) (1985) \n5. “Sister Fate” (1985) \n6. “Holly Rock” (written by Prince) (1986)\n7. “Koo Koo” (1987) \n8. “Hold Me” (1987)\n9. “Sex Cymbal” (1991) \n10. “N Perfect Time” (Sheila E. \u0026 the E-Train) (2000) \n11. “Heaven” (Sheila E. \u0026 the E-Train) (2001) \n12. "Girl Meets Boy” (2016)\n13. “No Line” (feat. Snoop Dogg) (2019)\n14. “Lemon Cake” (2020)\nSnag a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/), pick up your sticks, and find the beat with exclusive instructional videos from GRAMMY-nominated drummer Sheila E. (aka the Queen of Percussion). Once you master the timbales and congas, expand your musical horizons with lessons from other sonic legends like Timbaland, Herbie Hancock, Tom Morello, and others.\nSheila E. is an American percussionist and singer in funk and R\u0026B, who has performed with musical legends, including Prince, Beyoncé, and Lionel Richie.