Shelia E. is celebrating the release of her new album, Iconic: Message 4 America, and her return to the Billboard charts after 26 years — an achievement she says she wasn’t anticipating, because the singer/drummer doesn’t exactly feel like her music fits in today.
“I feel like I’m not in the system,” Sheila E. tells ABC Radio. “And they told me as well, ‘Sheila you’re really not in the system. You really don’t belong in the system of the pop, the radio, and the whole thing.'”
No that Sheila cares: “Like, I’m not trying to be,” she says. “I love what I get to do and so anytime I get to be creative and do something…[that’s what matters.]”
Iconic: Message 4 America, which charted on three Billboard charts — the Independent Albums chart, the R&B Albums chart and the R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart — is a 15-track studio album of politically charged anthems that features special guest appearances from the likes of Ringo Starr, Bootsy Collins, Israel Houghton, George Clinton and activist Angela Davis.
“This has a message and it’s radiating in people’s minds and their hearts,” Shelia explains about the album. “Man, this is something that I believe can bring people together.”
Despite not being “in the system,” Shelia E. does admit that being back on the charts isn’t such a bad thing — as long as no one reminds her how long it’s been. Her last charting album was 1991’s Sex Cymbal.
“Someone said, ‘It was either 16 or 20 years ago since I’ve been on the charts,'” Sheila says. “And so I’m like, ‘Nah?! Are you kidding me? It’s been that long? Well, gosh darn it, I’ve done it.'”
Iconic: Message 4 America is available now.
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