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Sheila E. was obviously influenced by her father, Latin jazz legend and timbalero Pete Escovedo (then band leader of the influential band Azteca), while watching him rehearse. At 5 years old, she made her concert debut at the former Sands Ballroom in Oakland, California, when her father invited her on stage to play a solo in front of an audience of 3,000. At that moment, Sheila knew exactly what she wanted to do: she was going to be a percussionist.
From age 17, Sheila E. has recorded and toured extensively with renowned artists such as Babyface, Billy Cobham, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Pete Escovedo, Gloria Estefan, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Nicks, Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Ringo Starr, Tito Puente, Don Was, Stevie Wonder, and countless others.