Usher and Sheila E. Perform Prince Medley at the Grammys
The three-song medley began with "Little Red Corvette," the song which launched Prince to mainstream fame in 1983. Usher, dressed in a shimmering jacket and white shirt -- reminiscent of the Purple One's fashion choices -- launched into the sultry opening verse before busting out dance moves in the track's infectious chorus. An enthralling rendition of "When Doves Cry" followed, complete with an acrobatic pole dancer. Usher slipped into a high falsetto for the set's closing tune, the always funky "Kiss." As the Grammy tribute ended, the familiar image of Prince's face illuminated the stage's screen.
Sunday's performance served as a precursor to Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince, a television special airing Jan. 28. The eclectic lineup of performers includes Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Common, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Beck and St. Vincent. Both Usher and Sheila E. will also perform at the concert event, with the latter also serving as the show’s musical director.
The history between Sheila E. and Prince is well documented, with the Purple One having helped the percussionist's career soar to new heights in the 1980s. Sheila E. contributed to a bevy of Prince's work over the years, including the albums Around the World in a Day, Sign O' the Times and Diamonds and Pearls. Prince also helped Sheila become a successful solo artist, starting with her 1984 LP The Glamorous Life. The relationship between the two extended beyond music, with Prince at one point even proposing. While the the romance fizzled by 1989, the two remained creative collaborators up until his death in 2016.
"I was very honored to be able to do this for so many reasons," Sheila E. told Rolling Stone of the Let’s Go Crazy special. "But to be able to help celebrate the life of a dear friend and be a part of this and be musical director is awesome."