She’s got the beat as a fierce and fabulous world-class drummer and percussionist who’s also a knockout on guitar and bass, and whose credits include working or performing with Ringo Starr, Marvin Gaye, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, and Pharrell Williams. You “might” remember her collaboration with Prince as his musical director during his Lovesexy period and as his drummer on some of his biggest hits. And they were big.
Sheila E. (Escovedo), who’s now 56, is a Grammy Award-nominated singer/songwriter and force behind tunes our generation knows inside and out, including “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre.” She’s also an actor and a generous mentor and philanthropist, who pays homage to her musical roots in the Bay Area.
No one in her household told her she couldn’t play drums because she was a girl, she says. Hear her, read her, and get to know Sheila E. as you never have before. She’s on a mission: “Sharing music in any way I can is my ministry.”
First, in March, she released her first album in 13 years, and her seventh solo album, the aptly-titled Icon from Stiletto Flats Music. One ecstatic Amazon reviewer called it “A funky album: Her best effort to me!”
Next, on Sept. 2, she releases her autobiography, And the Beat Goes On. “The idea to record another solo album was actually spawned while I was writing the autobiography,” she says.
Where does she get that drive? I asked her to share her tips for healthy living, and here they are. Enjoy a good read.
How do you Mind Your Body with what you eat?
I try to keep a balanced diet no matter my schedule. Greens, organic meats, gluten free, sometimes vegan and grains help to give me the energy to keep up with the often hectic nature of my life. As a musician, my body is very clear about what it needs—if I go without, or try to get by on junk food, I feel it. Being good to myself, even with something that seems simple, like food, allows me the energy and strength to do what I do.
What you do for physical activity, besides drumming?
I’ve always been an athletic person, so exercise comes somewhat naturally for me. It’s something I do because I need to, whether it’s jogging, basketball, bike riding, long walks, or swimming. Moving is important and essential to me.
And how does drumming keep you fit? The way you do it—it’s a workout, yes?
Definitely. Drumming stimulates your entire body, even your senses. While it can be strenuous at times, it’s also very invigorating.
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