Thanks for watching Larry King Now on!

Melissa Etheridge: Legalize Pot!

More from Ora: Melissa Etheridge: Legalize Pot!

Sheila E. experienced blatant sexism in the music industry

Larry King NowJul 25 '16

Legendary drummer Sheila E. recounts the difficulties she experienced breaking into the music industry as a woman. In particular, she says she was offered record deals in exchange for sex.


Larry King: What was the toughest thing to learn about playing drums? What was the hardest part in the learning stage?

Sheila E.: The learning stage was not hard because I always watched my dad as a mirror. So anytime I looked at him, like you and I are sitting here at the table, any time he did something I’d just repeat it on my lap. The hardest part about learning wasn’t the music part it was the business part, you know. And what people would say to me because I didn’t know that I was one, if not there weren’t many other girls playing, it was the things that the other guys would say to me that were offensive.

Larry King: Really?

Sheila E.: Oh yeah, absolutely. It all had to do with you’re not good, you’re not great, you're only here because you know Herbie Hancock or George Duke, or because it's you dad or Tito Puente, or you know, I can get you a record deal hey here's my number let’s go have sex, blah blah blah, it was all of that. All of that, yeah. I know.

Larry King: But Prince didn’t treat you that way?

Sheila E.: He wooed me in a different way. He sent me flowers, it was a gentleman-like thing to do. No, he was very sweet. We were friend first, for a very long time.

Larry King: Was he very famous when you met him?

Sheila E.: Not at all, no one knew him. No, I knew him at the beginning stages, yeah.