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  Sheila E.
 

 

  
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Click below for a Sheila E. sample:

The Glamorous Life

Protocol

 
Of the many proteges that Prince took under his wing, Sheila E. was the only one with proven professional experience.  The neice of Latin legend Coke Escovedo, Sheila had paid her dues by playing with him and George Duke before Prince caught her act and had her sing the background vocals on "Erotic City."   He then approached Warner Brothers about adding  her to its roster, and shortly thereafter The Glamorous Life was recorded under his supervision.  The funky title cut rocketed to the top 10, and many people assumed she was just a pretty front for Prince material, similar to Vanity/Apollonia 6.  While it was true that Prince did in fact write and produce the entire LP, Sheila's skills as a percussionist were evident from the beginning (who can forget her drum kit in the video for "Glamorous Life"?)  and any doubts were silenced when she performed.

In 1985, she won a role in the rap movie Krush Groove, for which she recorded "Holly Rock."   Later that year, In Romance 1600 was released.  Despite the European Romantic-styled imagery on the cover, the music was not far from the first album.   This was particularly true of "A Love Bizarre," a ruthlessly funky groove track that made no attempt to hide Prince's voice in the mix.   The single would be her highest-charting single, rising to #2.  Other notable selections from the album are "Dear Michaelango" and "Sister Fate."

She decided to join Prince's band for the Sign O' the Times tour, staying with him until the end of the 80s.  Sex Cymbal was her final pure pop recording.  After retreating to session work and a brief stint as a television band leader, she returned as a leader with Writes of Passage on the smooth jazz label Concord. 

Sheila E's Deepest Grooves

The Glamorous Life (Warner Brothers, 1984)

In Romance 1600 (Paisley Park, 1985)

Sheila E. (Paisley Park, 1987)

Sex Cymbal (Warner Brothers, 1991)

The Writes of Passage (Concord, 2000)

Heaven (Concord, 2001)

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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