Sheila Escovedo was born into a well-known percussive family – her father is latin jazz legend Pete Escovedo – and so it was inevitable she would be a percussionist, going on to work with George Duke, Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham before going solo as a singer in the mid-’80s. Then she got back to her roots with a stint behind the kit for Prince.
“At that time, ’86, I was touring, opening up for Lionel Richie, and I was pretty much exhausted.,” Sheila told Rhythm recently. “I was tired of fronting the band. It was a lot of work – believe me, it still is – to get to that level and I worked my butt off, non-stop. I was out on tour for a year and a half and then I did the movie Krush Groove, it was just back-to-back. I got to that point where I was so tired I said, ‘I feel like I have left my first love and now I’m singing so much I don’t feel like I’m playing anymore.’ I thought, I want to get back to music. I was talking to Prince and I was still on tour with Lionel, he said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I don’t think I want to do this anymore, I think I want to go back and play with some other people because I enjoy that.’ I got to the point where I really felt that something was missing in my life and it was getting away from my drums, my playing. So when I said that to Prince, I think a lightbulb went on in his head and he said, ‘So, what about playing for me?’ I said, ‘Play what?’ He said, ‘Drums.’ I said, ‘Really? That would be so dope.’ So that’s how it happened.”
Check out Sheila on the Letterman Show’s solos week a few years back/