“We were really young when we first met … It’s very personal,” Sheila E. said about her relationship with former fiance, Prince, who died in April of an apparent accidental drug overdose.
Besides being Prince’s former fiancee, Sheila E. was also his drummer and musical director. To get a taste of just how important she is to pop and rock music, it’s worth mentioning her membership in Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, her performance on a Beyonce song and her Academy Awards performance with Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer. But it’s her close connection to the San Diego music scene that makes her appearance at Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens in Fallbrook on Sept. 17 that much more exciting.
In the words of Sheila E., “We’re gonna have a blast.”
Sheila E.’s entire family is music royalty -- and San Diego music royalty to boot. Her father, Pete Escovedo, played with Santana, and her uncles, Mario and Javier Escovedo, started the seminal bands the Dragons and the Zeros, respectively (the latter of which just happens to be playing tonight at Til-Two Club).
If those last two band names sound familiar, it’s because they are both part of San Diego’s own rock ‘n’ roll history -- Chula Vista’s the Zeros pioneered punk rock on the West Coast, while the Dragons channeled the New York Dolls during the ‘90s.
While Sheila E. has more of a latin-funk flavor, in a phone interview earlier this week she told me she grew up watching her uncles practice their raucous rock in the living room. Although her immediate family was living in Oakland, she also remembers visiting San Diego a lot to see her uncles perform live in their hometown. And now maybe they can see her here too.
Her upcoming Fallbrook performance will be her first local appearance since her former fiance and musical collaborator, Prince, died earlier this year. Sheila E. had been working on a fun dance record for some time, but she pulled the record as soon as she received the news of Prince’s death. A couple of weeks later, she released the single, “Girl Meets Boy.”
According to Sheila E., her upcoming double album (to be released in the fall) will also be called “Girl Meets Boy”: “The girl part will be dance songs [from the record that was pulled] and the boy part [written largely after Prince’s passing] will be funk and R&B and will deal more with Prince.”
When it comes to her performances, Sheila E. is spontaneous and versatile, and her goal is to “share different genres from latin to funk to R&B to jazz.”
Her goal, after such a tough few months, is to have a blast.
Sheila E. will be joined by David Maldonaldo at Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens in Fallbrook on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. Buy tickets here.
Rutger Rosenborg was a Stanford neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. He now plays in the Lulls and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.