Sheila Escovedo is a Grammy Award-winning percussionist and singer. She hails from a Creole background (part French and part African), which made her relationship to jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo much harder.
Her parents’ eclectic backgrounds were instrumental in shaping her love of music, which led her to collaborate with such esteemed artists as George Duke, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock and Marvin Gaye.
Early Life and Education
Sheila Cecilia Escovedo, commonly referred to by her initials “Sheila E.” is an American percussionist and singer best known for beginning her professional career with The George Duke Band during the mid 1970s. Born in Oakland California to Juanita Gardere Escovedo who hails from a dairy factory worker family of Creole, French and African ancestry; She began performing under this moniker from age three years.
Her father Pete Escovedo hails from Mexican heritage, while Tito Puente served as her godfather. Sheila Escovedo is the niece of Javier Escovedo (founder of seminal San Diego punk band The Zeros); Mario Escovedo (longstanding indie rock band The Dragons); as well as Nicole Richie, Peter Michael Escovedo’s musical brother; both men founded groundbreaking bands with sheila as their lead guitarist/vocalist brother Peter Michael Escovedo).
Sheila E’s parents inspired her to think independently and challenge strict gender definitions, and as such she co-founded Elevate Oakland and Elevate Hope organizations that provide essential aid for underfunded arts programs as well as underprivileged children.
She is an accomplished percussionist who has collaborated with some of the greatest names in music – George Duke, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock and Marvin Gaye among many others. Additionally, she has made appearances on television shows and movies; most notably as the drummer in 1986’s Howard the Duck film.
Juanita Gardere Escovedo and her husband Pete Escovedo instilled independence in their daughter Juanita Gardere Escovedo, and she applied it in her musical career despite strict gender definitions often associated with Latin culture. Juanita became an accomplished female musician.
Sheila E’s uncles include Alejandro and Tito Puente; her aunt Javier Escovedo of seminal San Diego punk band The Zeros is her aunt; Mario Escovedo fronted long-running indie rock group The Dragons while Coke Escovedo from Santana founded Azteca as her other uncle.
Achievement and Honors
She has received many prestigious honors, including two Grammy awards. Additionally, she co-founded two non-profit organizations that benefit children through music and arts programs: Elevate Oakland and Elevate Hope.
She has collaborated with musicians of varying genres on tours and recordings, being awarded “Woman of Power” status by Bridge House/Grace House – an organization which offers shelter and supportive services to women and their children.
She is the daughter of Pete Escovedo, a percussionist and jazz musician, and Juanita Gardere, an dairy factory worker from Creole-French/African heritage, while her father hails from Mexico. She has three siblings including Peter Michael Escovedo – her musical brother; as well as Alejandro Escovedo (niece of Tito Puente); Javier Escovedo who fronted seminal San Diego punk band The Zeros as well as Mario Escovedo who founded long-running indie rock group Azteca.
Sheila Escovedo demonstrates a deep devotion to family and philanthropy. Married twice and the mother of two sons (Juan and Peter Michael), Sheila Escovedo was brought up in a musical household thanks to her Latin jazz percussionist father Pete (Pete being one) while Juanita Gardere worked at a dairy factory.
Sheila E began her professional music career with George Duke Band in the mid-1970s. Since then, she has made four film appearances: Krush Groove with Run-D.M.C, LL Cool J and Blair Underwood in 1985; Prince’s concert film Sign O’ the Times in 1987; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in 1990 and Chasing Papi in 2003.
Sheila E is Alejandro and Tito Puente’s niece, as well as related to Javier Escovedo of San Diego punk band The Zeros fame and Mario Escovedo who fronted indie rock group The Dragons for many years. Additionally, Sheila is cousin to singer Nicole Richie as well as biological niece to musician Peter Michael Escovedo – among her many relatives!
Sheila E has amassed an estimated net worth of $12 Million through her music career. As a drummer and percussionist she has collaborated with various musicians. Additionally, Sheila founded “Elevate Hope Foundation”, providing vulnerable children with care and protection.
She was born in Oakland, California to Juanita Gardere (a dairy factory worker) and Pete Escovedo (a percussionist). Her mother had Creole-French-African roots while Pete Escovedo had Mexican American ancestry.
Sheila E is the niece of musician Alejandro Escovedo and goddaughter of Tito Puente. Additionally, she is related to saxophonist Candy Dulfer and drummer Peter Michael Escovedo – as her maternal grandparents came from Mexico as immigrants themselves! As an American citizen celebrating her birthday every December 12th.