Live Sessions

Published on April 20th, 2017 | by Jerry Doby


Sheila E talks to Katie Couric about Prince’s musical legacy and death investigation

As the one-year anniversary of the untimely death of music icon Prince approaches, Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric (@katiecouricspoke with his long-time collaborator and drummer, Sheila E.  During the interview, Sheila offered insights into who she thinks is responsible for Prince’s death, why some of her belongings are still being held at Paisley Park, the forthcoming release of new music from the artist, what he’d think about a Trump, and more.

Interview highlights include Sheila on:

  • How she learned the news of Prince’s death (8:30) – “It was shocking, it was shocking because actually my uncle is a newscaster—works for the news company, network in San Diego and he called me early in the morning and said we’re getting news possibly that someone passed away at Paisley Park and my heart dropped and I just thought this can’t even be true… I’m sad, there’s anger, and I think there’s a lot of people that feel the same way that I do— trying to figure out how to justify the circumstances and what happened, you know, and this accident and the drugs that were in his system, this disease of this Opioid that is a legal drug that people can just get – this epidemic that is killing hundreds and thousands of people is insane.”

[CLIP] Sheila E. is ‘still devastated’ a year after Prince’s death

  • Whether she knew if Prince was addicted to Opioids (11:07) – “I had no idea, I mean, he hid it so well. I had no idea. I didn’t even know, I didn’t even know ‘Opioid,’ I didn’t know the name of that drug, I didn’t even know what it did. I had to look it up once I found out that that was, I guess, what he had and I never heard of the drug before until he passed away.”

[CLIP] Sheila E. had ‘no idea’ Prince was addicted to painkillers

  •  Allegations that Prince’s doctor used another name ‘Kirk Johnson’ to protect Prince’s privacy (11:38) – “It’s interesting, I just saw a little bit of it yesterday and then this morning and people have been calling me and trying to find out what’s going on. I don’t know, I’ve kind of stayed the way, in the last 6 months or so, maybe even longer, and I had to walk away because it’s very painful to see… I don’t know what’s happening, I’m hearing things now and I know that Kirk had been with him a lot in the last days and you know, I kept trying to call to find out how he was doing, and I couldn’t get Prince on the phone which a very strange, so I don’t know what’s going on.”
  • Who she thinks was responsible for Prince’s death (13:28)- “I have no idea. I hope that they find out, I mean, I feel like it was an accident, cause it seems like the things that he was taking that maybe, from what they’re saying, that he didn’t know what it was. And that’s the thing about Prince, is that he is person who was always in control of his life, why would he do something that would jeopardize his life? It doesn’t make sense to me …There are a lot of people that are on those drugs that they have no idea how powerful those drugs are and not realizing it can take your life, and I think that he learned that a little too late and I feel that if there were people around him that could help him, you know, why didn’t they do so? I didn’t know he was that sick, I had no idea.”

[CLIP] Sheila E. on the sudden death of Prince: ‘why would he do something that would jeopardize his life?’

  • Prince’s will, and being unable to access to her belongings in Paisley Park (14:40) – “…you know he didn’t have a will and we all had to think about that. You don’t have a will and then all of the sudden the bank controls it and things start happening and then people come in — everyone was coming from all over the place to try to take over and do things and we were trying to help… I mean, I’ve got stuff, so much stuff at Paisley right now, but since the memorial, I haven’t walked into the building, I don’t know that I can. They’re telling me that I have to fill out forms to get my stuff back if I want it … it was home for me too and to tell me then I can’t get any of stuff, because I have to prove that its mine is insane, that’s – that’s part of my life as well.”
  • It being ‘too soon’ to turn Paisley Park into a museum (16:40) – “The museum is a good thing, I mean, it’s what he wanted, you know, that’s why he was collecting things. I sent one of my drum sets…  He wanted that, but it happened too fast for me. I think that the way that they were conducting business… I thought that it was too soon and there was a way to do it. There should have been more things that were planned out as opposed to let’s hurry up and make a bunch of money, you know? It didn’t make sense to me.”

[CLIP] Sheila E. on Prince’s estate as a museum: ‘it happened too fast for me’

  • Warner Brothers re-releasing Purple Rain and releasing two albums of new music (17:33) – “I think, you know re-releasing, they’re going do it, I mean there’s a lot that Warner Brothers owned that was theirs, you know, regardless if Prince thought he owned it or not. They own a lot of his masters so I guess they can go whatever they want with it, and at some point I think the fans want to see other things, I mean, the fans made Prince as well… he did everything for them, and he loved his fans, so I know that, it’s just the way that things are being done. I think the fans are going to appreciate the things that are coming out, I’m sure.”
  • On her new project and how it’s connected to Prince’s legacy pledge music campaign ‘Iconic’ and what she’s hoping to accomplish (19:48) – “Well, the title of the record is called ‘Iconic’, and it’s called ‘Iconic’ because again, in the times that we are right now, I think that my responsibility as an artist and a musician is to do something musically, and I know that Prince would do the same thing. We are a lot alike in things that we love to do and stand for and ‘Iconic’ is going to be a record, we are going to start in the studio next week, and it will bring social awareness, it will motivate, and educate and the songs that we’re doing are even songs that were done a while ago that are still relevant to what’s happening now and we’ll have special guest artists as well, they’ll be personal contact. This is for the fans, and things that they can do with me as well, and getting memorabilia and hanging out in the studio with us, and being a part of this process.”

Story, video and featured image courtesy of Yahoo News

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, GRAMMY Member and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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