NEW YORK (AP) — Days before the release of Sheila E.’s autobiography, news spread that she was once engaged to Prince. The bigger bombshell, however, didn’t get nearly as much attention.
“Pretty much, I was engaged to Carlos Santana . That was huge and no one knew about that,” said the 56-year-old drummer, who dated a married Santana when she was 18. “I thought people would be talking about that, and it’s more about, ‘She was engaged to Prince!’ Really?”
Sheila E. said Santana, who was 36 at the time, was her first love, calling it “a wonderful romance.”
“The Beat of My Own Drum,” the musician’s memoir released through Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books earlier this month, features stories that range from working with Marvin Gaye , Ringo Starr and Lionel Richie to being raped at age five.
Dating Prince and Santana made her realize she had a thing for guys with guitars, she said.
“And there were some that I did not put in the book,” she said, laughing.
Could they appear in another book?
“I’ll be able to share more stories on the next three to five books,” she said.
The Grammy-nominated star said writing her first book — completed with co-writer Wendy Holden — has inspired her to write more, including children’s books.
“When I first approached ( Simon & Schuster ), I said I wanted to do a bunch of books,” she said.
Sheila E. first began writing “The Beat of My Own Drum” in her 30s, and said the process felt “devastating.” She said coming back to the writing process two years ago gave her a fresh perspective.
When writing about being raped — a topic the performer has discussed over the years — she thought she could share her story without hardship.
“The beginning stages of it, because I had been talking about it for so long, it wasn’t hard, but when I really had to dig in and really get it detail about it, when I read it back, that’s when it hit me, like, ‘Wow. OK,'” she said. “I really have to go in deep to explain really what happened, and to explain it in a way that I think that I remember it at five years old, not how I remember it now.”
Sheila E., whose hits include “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre,” released the album “ICON” last year. She says she wants to adapt her book into a movie.
She’s already spoken to the person she wants for the Sheila E. role.
“I’m not going to tell you who it is,” she said with a knowing smile. “They were very, very interested and excited.”
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin