5 Questions With ... Sheila E.
(A portion of the proceeds from The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party benefitted PATH, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.)
GRAMMY-nominated musician and Recording Academy Trustee Sheila E. was the recent guest for an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held during The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Sheila E. discussed when she learned she had an affinity for music and performing, career highlights, filming Lionel Richie's video for "Running With The Night," and the importance of Recording Academy membership, among other topics.
"When I was 15 years old, my dad's percussion player got sick," recalled Sheila E. "And I asked him, begged him, [to let me] play in his band for the show and convinced him to let me do so. That one performance changed my life. That's when I knew this is what I'm supposed to be doing — playing music."
Born in San Francisco to percussionist father Pete Escovedo, Sheila E. got her musical start performing with her father's jazz-fusion band, Azteca. GRAMMY winner Prince discovered Sheila E. in 1983 and recruited her to sing on "Erotic City," a B-side to his 1984 hit "Let's Go Crazy." Sheila E. subsequently landed a deal with Warner Bros. Records and released her debut album, 1984's In The Glamorous Life. The album peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 and spawned a No. 7 Billboard Hot 100 hit in the title track and four GRAMMY nominations, including Best New Artist and Best Rhythm & Blues Song for "The Glamorous Life."
Romance 1600 followed in 1985, featuring eight tracks co-written with Prince. The album cracked the Top 50 on the Billboard 200 and "A Love Bizarre" shot to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. A self-titled album followed in 1987 and that year Sheila E. landed a spot on Prince's Sign 'O' The Times tour. Three more albums followed, 1991's Sex Cymbal, 2000's The Writes Of Passage and 2001's Heaven. Aside from music, this year Sheila E. returned to the Los Angeles Chapter Board as Trustee and has devoted much of her time to advocating for artists rights on Capitol Hill. She is the co-founder and chair of the Elevate Hope Foundation, an organization dedicated to "providing abused and abandoned children an alternative method of therapy through music and the arts."
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