Written by | Ray Cornelius
Award winning-percussionist, drummer and music icon Sheila E. was presented with a proclamation from the City of Atlanta Friday night at a private media reception. The one-hour event took place at iWi Fresh in the Castleberry Hill district of the city and was attended by a who’s who of Atlanta press.
The legendary performer, who has worked with everyone from Hans Zimmer to Beyoncé, is in town as part of a Funk Music Series at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater tonight featuring her along with other iconic R&B acts like Confunkshun, Lakeside and the Mary Jane Girls.
The event began with an informal Q&A session between Sheila E. and The Burton Wire’s entertainment writer Christopher Daniels. During their 20-minute long conversation, she talked very candidly about her career, faith, her work with Prince, her love life (yes she is single), her new song, “Girl Meets Boy“(she dropped it the day after her electrifying tribute to Prince at the BET Awards) and her book “The Beat of My Own Drum.”
She also talked about her historic performance during the closing ceremony of Atlanta’s Summer Olympic Games in 1996. For Sheila E., it was more than just a chance to play on the world’s biggest stage but it was a life long dream fulfilled.
“To do the Olympics when it was here twenty years ago was very exciting for so many reasons. The main reason was because before I became a musician and artist, I was training to be in the Olympics. I was a track and field runner and I broke records that hadn’t been broken in 20 years. And so I was training to be in the Olympics as a runner. I always tell everyone that I never went to the Olympics to be a runner but I did win gold…a gold record not a gold medal.”
Sheila E. went on to further say, “I wasn’t in the Olympics to play in the way I always thought but I was still able to perform which became part of my dream. So as we were going to rehearse for the show, I remember walking out on the field and standing on the track and I layed down and leaned over and I kissed the ground and just went, ‘Thank you Jesus.'”
After a few more questions from the press, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall presented her with the proclamation declaring July 16 as “Sheila E. Day” throughout the city. She also received a beautiful painting of her late friend and musical genius Prince from Atlanta-based artist, Jason “JHigh” Hightower.
Check out more images below:
Prince introduced Sheila E.to the world on his song “Erotic City” in 1984
Sheila E. released her book The Beat of My Own Drum in 2015
Kwanza Hall presenting the proclamation to Sheila E.
Sheila E. performed during Atlanta’s Olympic Games in ’96
Jason Hightower presenting his painting to Shelia E.
Sheila E. with event coordinator Lisa Gee, City Councilman Kwanza Hall, artist Jason Hightower, iWi Fresh’s Yolanda Owens and Christopher Daniels
Sheila E. with noted drummer Lil John Roberts and his son
Funk Jazz Kafe creator Jason Orr with Kwanza Hall
Jason Hightower’s painting is a mix of marker, pencil, watercolor & acrylic
Ray Cornelius with Sheila E.
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com