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Emmy Award-Winning Artist Explains Soul Music History During KLA’s Newest ERG Kick-Off Event

Dec 14, 2021 3 min read

If you thought the worlds of soul music and semiconductors couldn’t merge, think again.

KLA recently launched its newest employee resource group (ERG), BELIEVE, and the kick-off event featured Emmy award-winning TV producer, musical director and world-renowned percussionist Peter Michael Escovedo.


BELIEVE, which stands for Black Employees Leading in Inclusion, Excellence, Vision, and Education, focuses on the support, recruitment and advancement of Black talent, while promoting cultural awareness, understanding and allyship of the Black community.

Sandra Mahadwar, KLA’s chief inclusion and diversity officer and senior vice president of talent management, said ERGs advance the culture of awareness and understanding at KLA, which can be done by anyone who has a passion for diversity and inclusion or an appetite to learn.

“It is really about anybody who wants to participate and understand and be a part of furthering our culture of inclusion and diversity in KLA. I welcome every one of you to discover BELIEVE, whether you are part of the Black and African American community or not.” – Sandra Mahadwar, KLA chief inclusion and diversity officer and senior vice president of talent management

Peter Michael Escovedo Kicks Off BELIEVE’s First Event

Peter discussed his musical journey during the virtual event. His interests in childhood eventually led to him to record, tour and perform with some of the top rhythm and blues artists in the world.

Peter is named after his father, Pete Escovedo, a percussionist and former member of Santana, and is a part of the musical family legacy that includes sister Sheila Escovedo, also known as Sheila E., and brother Juan Escovedo. Peter has contributed to countless artists’ world tours, including Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and Marvin Gaye.

Through videos and live interaction with the artist, employees received a behind the scenes look into the culture of soul music. Soul music is a musical genre that arose out of the Black experience in the U.S.

Peter recounted his early experiences in Oakland, California where he listened to genres like R&B, funk, gospel and Motown. He dove into the history behind Motown music, which often originated at church and involved collaboration between congregation members.

Stevie Wonder is one of Peter’s biggest influencers in music. Peter spoke about how his lyrics, along with many other popular figures, stemmed from their religious beliefs and backgrounds.

“I couldn’t believe that one person could write that many hits and have that much influence on the world. You don’t even realize, it’s all gospel music and no one even knows because they are pop songs and you’re just singing along.” – Peter Michael Escovedo, award-winning artist and producer

This also included his own family and their music careers. Peter said soul music has been embedded in his life and in the music he and his family create.

About KLA’s ERGs

KLA’s ERGs are employee-led groups that come together to achieve common diversity interests. Our ERGs include BELIEVE, Mosaic, WISE and Konexión. These groups are a cornerstone of our inclusion and diversity strategy and help empower a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

To learn more, visit our inclusion and diversity page. If you’re interested in working with us, you can browse opportunities to advance humanity here.

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