The Beat of My Own Drum : A Memoir, Hardback Book

The Beat of My Own Drum : A Memoir Hardback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Sheila E., born Sheila Escovedo in 1957, picked up the drumsticks and started making music at the precocious age of three, inspired by her legendary father, percussionist Pete Escovedo.

By nineteen, she had fallen in love with Carlos Santana.

By twenty-one, she met Prince at one of her concerts.

After the show, he told her that he and his bassist "were just fighting about which one of us would be your husband." Sheila E. and Prince would eventually join forces and collaborate for more than two decades, creating hits that catapulted Sheila to her own pop superstardom.

The Beat of My Own Drumis both a walk through four decades of Latin and pop music-from her tours with Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Prince, and Ringo Starr-to her own solo career.

At the same time, it's also a heart-breaking, ultimately redemptive look at how the sanctity of music can save a person's life.

Having endured sexual abuse as a child, Sheila credits her parents, music, and God with giving her the will to carry on and to build a lasting legacy.

Rich in musical detail, pop and Latin music history from the '70s and '80s, and Sheila's personal story, this memoir is a unique glimpse into a drummer's singular life-a treat for both new and long-time fans of Sheila E. And above all, it is a testament to how the positive power of music serves as the heartbeat of her life.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336 pages, 4-C 8-pg insert
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Rock & Pop music
  • ISBN: 9781476714943

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The little I knew of Sheila E was her incredible "Glamorous Life" video, and I knew she was a mad percussion player. Now I know a lot more, and I was touched by Sheila's amazing parents and her strong family life despite an early devastating rape. Her natural talent and ability to absorb all the sounds around her, her mimicry of her father Pete's technique, all with her left hand as she watched and did what he did - this is the stuff of dreams, to be so talented. As if the music wasn't enough, she becomes romantically involved with Carlos Santana and with Prince, and doesn't have an unkind word to say about either man. It's refreshing to hear the perspective of a woman who is an outstanding musician in her own right (unlike, say, Patti Boyd) involved with such creative men. Sheila also played with Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock,and many jazz greats. One of the best passages in the book deals with her racial identity. Sheila's mother's family are Creoles from New Orleans and her father's family is from Mexico. She has identified as African American and Latino, but felt in school that she needed to come down on one side or the other. Hopefully that type of pressure is now much reduced as people of multiple races find joy in their beautiful blends.Sheila goes through her nasty diva phase but comes out on the other side with religion and with a purpose: to encourage children from limited backgrounds to find their musical spirit. She's a woman to be greatly admired.

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