EXCLUSIVE: Sheila E. On The Lack Of Latina Drummers in the Music Industry

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We recently asked half-Mexican drummer Sheila E., best known for her work with Prince, George Duke and Ringo Starr, why there aren’t many well-known Latina drummers in the music industry—and here’s what the Latina icon had to say:

“That’s a good question. Once in a great while, when I have a couple of hours—which is hardly ever anymore—I go online trying to find young kids to see who’s playing and who’s up and coming. That’s how people get discovered…By going on Youtube, I found so many great young kids that can really play—but I also found a lot of young women percussionists who are Latin and I was like, ‘man, they can really play!’

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She adds: “They are awesome, but I don’t know what they’re doing in their lives to pursue their career or not—I don’t know if it has to do with where they live, or the kind of music they’re getting into, or if they want this to be their career—I haven’t reached out to any of them. But I saw at least five Latina women who played very, very well and I was very happy to see that!”

When we told Sheila E., she’s the only Latina drummer that comes to mind, the talented drummer agreed there’s a shortage of well-known Latina drummers in the music industry. “Yeah, I couldn’t name one either,” she said.

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