September 11, 2020
Following childhood abuse, music saved the musician’s life – and led to a creative and romantic partnership with Prince. Now she’s passing on her skills and beating the drum for Biden
If you ever want to know how to turn a pair of electric drills into a percussion instrument – along with jars and saucepans – Sheila E can teach you. Her online lessons, part of the Masterclass brand, have just launched and she shakes and bashes household items with as much energy as she ever did when playing a drum solo on a Prince tour.
It’s how she started, she points out. Her father, the renowned Latin and jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo, may have had treasured instruments at home, but his children learned on pots and pans. Can she resist, even now, passing the back of a chair without breaking out a drum lick? She laughs. “Sometimes I have to catch myself. If there are people around, I apologise. I say: ‘It’s not noise, it’s music.’ I find it a joy to try to bring something into a space and make it sound great.”