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Sheila E. makes history with her Walk of Fame star

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Sheila E. made history on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday, becoming the first female solo percussionist honored on the fabled walk.

After her star was revealed, she posed for photos, tapping drumsticks, and tossing one in the air as she so famously has done during her performances.

The musician born Sheila Escovedo said she was an athlete as a girl and teen, running track and playing soccer.

She said her goal was to win a gold medal at the Olympics in track, but her goals shifted. "Being an athlete, and actually being a musician and an artist, it's like being an athlete – the things we have to do to be good at our craft," said Shiela E. during the ceremony.

Ringo Starr was among those attending the ceremony which was emceed by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and star recipient Jimmy Jam. Jimmy Jam, his songwriting and producing partner Terry Lewis, and Sheila E. received Emmy nominations for outstanding music direction in 2020 as music directors of "Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute To Prince."

"I'm proud to call Sheila E. a friend and to be here to say a few words about this incredible woman," Starr said. "Sheila E. is also a force of nature."

Grammy and Oscar-winning R&B singer H.E.R. also paid tribute during the ceremony, saying she would listen to Sheila E. when she was a kid. She said when she was 13, she saw Sheila E. perform with Prince.

"And that was the moment that changed my life forever, because in that moment I knew, like, I could do it," she said. "I'm looking at this amazing woman, musician, multi-instrumentalist on stage with another musician that I love, and I was so inspired."

At the end of the ceremony, Sheila E. performed a song on drums with her father, Pete Escovedo, who received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 along with his daughter.

Born Dec. 12, 1957, in Oakland, Sheila E.'s early musical influences included her uncle Coke Escovedo, a percussionist with the rock band Santana and Latin rock band Azteca; another uncle, Mario Escovedo, was the front man for the rock band The Dragons, the rock bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, the R&B/pop group the Pointer Sisters and the funk band Sly & the Family Stone.

"I used to sit on the corner outside of the local community center with Twinkies and 7-Up listening to Sly and Larry Graham rehearse," she said.

Sheila E. made her recording debut with jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson on "Yesterday's Dream" in 1976. By her early 20s, she had already played with George Duke, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock and Diana Ross.

In 1977, she and her father released the album "Solo Two." That same year, she joined The George Duke Band.

Following a Bay Area gig in the late 1970s, Sheila E. met Prince backstage, which led to their "Purple Rain" recording sessions, including her vocals on the 1984 classic "Erotic City."

Shiela E. receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sheila E. also released her first album in 1984, "The Glamorous Life," which reached seventh on the Billboard R&B charts and was certified as a gold album by the recording industry trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America.

A single from the album, also titled "The Glamorous Life," reached first on the dance club songs chart.

Sheila E. received all four of her Grammy nominations in 1985, including for best new artist, losing to Cyndi Lauper.

Her other nominations were for best pop vocal performance, female, and best rhythm & blues song, both for "The Glamorous Life" single, and best R&B instrumental performance for "Shortberry Strawcake,"  the second track on "The Glamorous Life" album.

Sheila E. released her second album, "Romance 1600," in 1985, which was also certified gold, a feat none of her subsequent six albums accomplished.

Sheila E. has also performed at the opening ceremony for the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Oscars and the Kennedy Center Honors.

She received her first Emmy nomination in 2010 for outstanding music direction as music director of "In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina."

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