'Wow!!': Sheila E. Says She Was Refused Access to Prince's Paisley Park Studio on His Would-Be 66th Birthday

Sheila E

Published Time: 08.06.2024 - 02:31:08 Modified Time: 08.06.2024 - 02:31:08

Sheila E. tried to commemorate what would’ve been Prince’s 66th birthday Friday, June but claims she was refused access to his beloved Paisley Park studio in his Minneapolis hometown, where the two used to cook up some of his classic hits.

The legendary drummer and Prince collaborator (real name Sheila Escovedo), 66, stopped in town ahead of her performance with Morris Day and The Time at the Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn. — which is slated for Saturday, June 8 — and attempted to visit the late icon’s home studio, where she said she was barely allowed to walk in.

“I went in to celebrate him, and I wanted to go into the studio and do a live video, take a picture, and they said, ‘No,’” Sheila E. shared without specifying who denied her access. 

Though the famed musician clarified that she was still allowed to enter the Minnesota property (owned by Prince’s estate), she said, “I can't go to the studio where I recorded all those records and songs and everything I did with him.”

“My heart's broke,” the vocalist added. “That's kind of messed up… they’re saying no to me. Not a nice way to celebrate his birthday.”

Sheila E. wrapped up her video saying she’s “just being honest and truthful,” adding, “It ain't gonna take away the joy that he and I had together. That man right there.”

"So, happy birthday Prince,” the vocalist concluded. She captioned the clip, "Wow!! Watch the video (shame on u paisley park. Horrible. @officialpaisleypark."

The staff at Paisley Park left a comment on her Instagram post, writing, "Hello Sheila - We love and respect you, and we did offer for you to come in and film in the soundstage or other areas, but we couldn’t allow filming in the studios without prior knowledge and planning, especially with tours g -

oing on at the time. We hope to have you back to Paisley Park in the future - just give us a heads-up! Happy Prince Day 💜"

PEOPLE reached out to a rep for Sheila E. but did not receive an immediate response.

Sheila E. is the best-known of Prince’s drummers, who served as The Purple One’s percussionist and musical director during his tours in the late ‘80s. The two collaborated musically many times over the years and even dated on and off before the Purple Rain legend died of an opioid overdose on April 21, 2016. He was 57 years old.

The drummer mourned Prince’s death that year in a statement shared with PEOPLE that read, “The meaning of the word loss has taken on a new meaning this day. Thank God love lives forever.”

She also paid tribute to Prince during a special performance at the 2020 Grammys, where she was joined by Usher and FKA twigs.

In 2021, on the five-year anniversary of his death, Sheila E. grieved the devastating loss again on PEOPLE’s Every Day podcast, where she opened up to host Janine Rubenstein about how she’s been navigating life post-Prince, to whom she was also engaged in the '80s.

"It's gotten easier to look at things and talk about it," the singer said. "But then at the drop of a hat, just like one song or one verse of something or a picture, and I'm going, sigh."

Looking back on the musical pair’s “great memories” together, Sheila E. added, "It's a lot of time that we spent together either laughing, hanging out, creating, playing, recording, telling stories, going to the movies, whatever it may be, traveling the world, going to Europe, whatever. Just to go have lunch."

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