The Princess of Funk, Sheila E., has dropped a new CD entitled ICONIC and it has made a very loud and impressive entry on the Billboard charts, placing in the top 5 R&B Albums while rising on other charts. Not bad for a comeback after a 26-year Billboard hiatus! The project is an incredible compilation and appears to be very calculated in its concept and the content communicated.
For starters, it is a project that is by the people. Sheila cleverly afforded fans the opportunity to take part in making this come to fruition. Through online pledges, people from around the world sowed into the production of ICONIC and, in return, Sheila made available all types of top-notch goodies including exclusive e-mail and video updates, downloads prior to the release date, autographed drumsticks and CD’s, instruments she owned, T-shirts, a chance to join her in the studio and perform on the CD, and VIP concert opportunities, just to name a few items. While supplies were limited, pledgers quickly snatched up the coveted items, causing the ICONIC project to exceed its pledge goal.
Secondly, it is a project for the people. The overall message of love, peace and unity is intertwined through a smorgasbord of 15 songs (16 if you’re a Pledger), with many being the revival of familiar tunes of yesteryear that have now been given a new voice. ICONIC could not have come at a better time as it speaks to the state of America and many of the issues that concern the people. From civil rights and social injustice, corruption and political depression, racism and discrimination, oppression and disingenuous leadership, and the upholding of Constitutional rights, ICONIC has a retort. Each track is an empowering echo of oneness – strengthening positivity and eradicating the negative. The song list includes “Everyday People” originally recorded by Sly and The Family Stone, a remake of Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under A Groove”, Sheila’s soothing rendition of “What the World Needs Now”, a funky remake of Prince’s “America” which was ingeniously co-mingled with his song “Free“, a remake of “Respect Yourself” as recorded by Staple Singers, The Pointer Sisters’ “Yes We Can”, also the “Funky National Anthem”, “Inner City Blues”, The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and “Come Together, and more. ICONIC is a charge to the people to lay down weapons of the heart and mind and activate the inner power of Love. And why is Sheila able to passionately deliver such a charge? She adamantly practices what she preaches.
The unity and cohesiveness exhibited by Sheila and her crew is unlike any other. It’s no wonder their strong message of love is so compelling. The crew is composed of beautiful soul singer Lynn Mabry whose spirit alone injects high doses of love and inspiration, award-winning Rebecca Jade on vocals, the baddest horn blower to ever blow who has been with Sheila for 33 years, Eddie M. on sax, funky bass player Raymond McKinley, multi-talented guitarist virtuoso Mychael Gabriel, music maestro Bertron Curtis on keys, drummer extraordinaire John Wesley McVicker, Jr., Jaymes Silver on sound, and of course, the Princess of Peace and Funk, Grammy-nominated, world-renown author, singer, versatile musician, instructor, philanthropist, radio-show host, businesswoman, motivational speaker, lover of people, and the epitome of artistry – Sheila E.
Whenever they collectively take the stage, it is a cohesive ministry of Love emitted not only through music, but dialogue and action. Across the globe Sheila addresses her audience about the importance of love and the fact that it only takes one person to change the atmosphere. She takes time to have concert goers reach out and embrace and encourage the person next to them. Members of her crew reach out to the audience as well, and the crowd soon realizes “THIS” is what it’s all about. There is a sense that the world has now been made better and strangers have now become friends. In that moment, Sheila makes God’s Love something real and very cool, and she then charges her disciples to now take that same love out into the world and freely share it.
And in the spirit of sharing, Sheila invited several of her friends to share with her in the studio during the making of ICONIC. Musical Icons and heavyweights Ringo Starr, Freddie Stone, Candy Dulfer, George Clinton, and Israel Houghton all lent their phenomenal talent on this recording. Even with so many musical roads coming together from various lifestyles, genres and backgrounds, it yet produced a seamless sound of oneness in song. The end result? An ICONIC musical masterpiece that will bring awareness, allow healing, restore hope, express love, promote peace and instill unity.
To order ICONIC and find out more about Sheila E., visit www.SheilaE.com