Prince's longtime collaborator Sheila E. was among the small group of friends, family and musicians to attend a private memorial for the artist Saturday at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis. Following the service, Sheila E. spoke to E! News about the memorial and how Prince would want fans to celebrate his legacy and not mourn his death.
"It was very somber, quiet. We were playing his songs, his music at a low volume and it was hard to hear. Some songs were harder than others to listen to," the drummer said of the memorial. "Later on, kind of saying, 'We could sit here for weeks or a month and listen to all the songs that he's recorded and not duplicate one song,' and you can't really say that with any other artist that has that much music. But it was hard, a lot of crying, a lot of grieving. We were all holding each other up."
Following the private service, Prince's remains were cremated and moved to an undisclosed location for their final resting place. Sheila E., who was romantically linked to Prince in the Eighties, worked on the "Erotic City" sessions in 1984 to 1988's Lovesexy and maintained a professional relationship with Prince that expanded into her own solo career – including the Prince-penned hits "The Glamorous Life" and "A Life Bizarre" – as well as Prince's many Paisley Park offshoots.
Given how close she was to Prince, Sheila E. said she hasn't watched the media coverage of his death, including all the tributes pouring in. "People are telling me that, all around the world, they're lighting up stadiums and monuments purple, and the outpour of prayers and support, not just here in Minneapolis but all over the world, it's amazing," she said. "You don't realize how many lives he's touched, and I don't think he realized it."
Sheila E. added that Prince would want his death to make people dance, not mourn. "I think the fans are doing what he would have wanted them to do, which is celebrate, celebrate his music and not mourn him, and have parties, because he loved to have parties," she said. "He loved to entertain, so people celebrating him and playing his music and enjoying what he left us, which is his legacy of amazing music, that's what he would have wanted."
The Wrap reports that, in addition to the memorial service, a few dozen people in Prince's inner circle – including ex-wife Mayte Garcia, Sheila E., members of the Revolution including Wendy and Lisa, his sound engineer, his tour manager and more – gathered at a Minneapolis hotel Sunday night to hold what acted as "a giant therapy session." The group shared stories about the singer, and unlike the memorial service, no music was played.
Watch Sheila E.'s interview with E! News below: