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Sheila E. Visited McNally Smith for Two Days

Watch video from the performance, and student interviews here.

Watch a video from WCCO here.

Sheila E., one of the great percussionists and all around music performers, is visiting McNally Smith College of Music on February 19 and 20, 2009. Sheila E. is a musician of staggering versatility who has earned the utmost respect as a drummer, percussionist, singer, songwriter, performer, arranger and producer. When she caught the attention of Prince in the early 1980s, it became an association that introduced her to the world. Her 1984 album “The Glamorous Life” was a hit with fans and critics alike, earning accolades including a Grammy nomination for the title track single. Yet the Prince-related recordings and tours are just a part of her impressive legacy in the music world, which began with her live debut at age 5 performing a solo at a concert by her legendary father, Pete Escovedo. In addition to her thriving musical career, Sheila E. is a humanitarian who devotes a great deal of time and energy to her Elevate Hope Foundation, assisting abused and abandoned children through music therapy.

While visiting McNally Smith, Sheila E. will meet with students, faculty and staff at Q&A sessions, classroom visits and a drum clinic. She also plans to give a brief performance on McNally Smith’s Café Stage. Debbie Sandridge, McNally Smith’s Director of Career Development, said, “Sheila E. has risen to the very top of every part of the music business. This is just a fabulous opportunity for our students to gain firsthand knowledge from a performer who embodies deep musical integrity and also manages to sit on top of the world of pop. Sheila E. is a true role model in the way she conducts her career, and she has a lot to share with aspiring members of the music industry.”

Sheila Escovedo was playing musical instruments by the age of 3, encouraged from the start by her musical parents Pete and Juanita. Pete Escovedo is a giant figure in the world of Latin jazz and rock. He was band leader of the influential group Azteca and his many accomplishments include a three-year stint in the group Santana. (Pete and Sheila E. continue to perform together with other members of the Escovedo family, appearing at prestigious events and jazz clubs including Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA, and the Dakota in Minneapolis.)

Among the musical legends who have called on the performing talents of Sheila E. are Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Billy Cobham, Marvin Gaye, Ringo Starr, Gloria Estefan, Tito Puente, and, of course, Prince. In addition to “The Glamorous Life,” Sheila E.’s “Prince era” included opening for the star on the immense “Purple Rain” tour, recording the album “Romance 1600” (which yielded the smash hit “A Love Bizarre”) and more. Sheila E. has also toured as part of Prince’s band as recently as his 2004 “Musicology” tour.

Her many other accomplishments in the world of entertainment include acting roles in major motion pictures, serving as band leader (and co-writing the theme song) for Magic Johnson’s late night variety show, and appearing on broadcasts of the Academy Awards, the Grammys and the Summer Olympics.

Sheila E. has long helped those in need. Her Elevate Hope Foundation has raised a great deal of money, through performances and other activities, to raise the confidence and the hopes of abused and abandoned children through music. Her many other charitable endeavors have included performing on U.S.A. for Africa’s “We Are The World,” contributing a version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to the “For Our Children” project to raise funds for the Pediatric Aids Foundation, and much more. She has received several prestigious awards for her work on humanitarian issues.

“Sheila has made a huge impact in the music world, but she has also used her success to positively impact people in need,” said Sandridge. “This is a message that I want McNally Smith students to embrace.”