Arts & Culture

Published on January 18th, 2015 | by Anthony McBride


Q&A: Sheila E. on the Best Latin America Travel Experiences

Sheila E. is not only a world-class drummer and percussionist, she is a world-class traveler. Touring for decades, Sheila has seen the world through many different perspectives. Her first autobiography, The Beat of My Own Drum (Simon & Schuster) is on bookshelves now, and the release of her first solo album in 13 years, aptly titled Icon (Stillettoflats Music) was released in 2014. Her status in music is forever elevated, as is her Elevate Hope foundation, which continues to help children through music therapy.

Catching up with Sheila E. is not easy. At the end of January she is opening The E. Spot Lounge in Los Angeles, not far from her neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. But she still made time to let LatinFlyer tag along to hear her tales of travel!

Anthony McBride: Your touring schedule has taken you all around the world. As far as Latin American destinations, which stops on tour have you said to yourself “I have to come back here for a holiday,” but you just haven’t made it back yet to soak it all up?
Sheila E.: Brazil. I love the people, the music, the food and the beaches. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited Brazil! What a wonderful place.

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What Latin American destination has become your favorite vacation destination?
Puerto Rico! A great vacation place, salsa dancing, family and the food!

What constitutes a great hotel for you?
I look for a hotel that has an amazing spa. Of course places to shop and great sightseeing and did I mention fantastic food?

DON’T MISS: ¡Que Rico! Tasty New Food & Drinks at 4 Hotels in Mexico & Puerto Rico

What are your top 5 favorite airlines?
Virgin, British Airways, JAL, Singapore and American Airlines.

Outside of your hometown of Oakland, California, could you pick your favorite other city?
It’s challenging for me to pick a favorite city. There are so many wonderful places in the world for so many wonderful reasons!

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If you could be in any nightclub in South or Central America right now, which would it be?
Where ever the people are dancing and having a good time!

Your father, the great Pete “Pops” Escovedo, is not only an amazing musician, but — as the world knows — a fine artist and painter as well. Beside him, who is your favorite Latin fine artist?
I don’t really have a favorite, although I like the works of Frida Kahlo for their depictions of self confidence and bravery, and Diego Rivera’s works, for their ability to tell the cultural history of Latinos. I don’t think I could choose one, like music, I have an appreciation for all art.

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Do you have a favorite restaurant in Mexico?
It’s the people and cultural of Mexico that makes the food so amazing. So, no, not a particular restaurant – but I absolutely love the food!

If you could be on any stretch of beach right now instead of answering interview questions, which would it be?
Rio De Janeiro or Belize.

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Your latest album, Icon, is amazing! Can LatinFlyer readers and the world expect a full Spanish album from you in the future?
Yes! It’s something I always wanted to do and is still on my list.

You play the Conga Room in Los Angeles and Yoshi’s in Oakland almost religiously. Do you have a favorite?
The two rooms have their own unique qualities which compliment the city they are in. For example; Yoshi’s in Oakland is synonymous with music in the city of Oakland. The Conga Room has a totally different feel but is every bit as appealing as a venue to the city of Los Angeles. Honestly, almost every venue I play has it’s own quality and provides for the promotion of the live performance of the music. I like that in a venue.

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Your generous and life-changing foundation, Elevate Hope, helps kids through music therapy. Does the program extend to any other parts of the globe besides America?
At this point we are looking towards expanding our efforts.

When will you return to South America for a tour?
At this time I would say late 2015 or early 2016.

Best travel tip for LatinFlyer readers?
Leave your troubles behind and enjoy every moment of your trip. You’ve earned it.

Visit, and follow Sheila E. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Anthony McBride is a journalist, radio co-producer and Special Events & Travel Editor for one of L.A.’s premier Family and Lifestyle Magazines. Also, being Director of Content for a social media branding/management agency keeps Anthony on his digital toes (though he’d rather they be in the sand). Anthony has been published as a writer for over 15 years, and cover stories and celebrity interviews are his specialties — as is consuming delicious food and wine.

Follow Anthony’s work:
Twitter: @AEMcBride

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