Selena Quintanilla

“Always believe that the impossible is possible.”

Selena Quintanilla, Mexican-American Singer, 1971-1995

Known as the Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, or simply “Selena” as she was known, is remembered for her immense impact on Latin music in the United States over her short lifetime. Her tragic death by murder at age 23 makes her story even more poignant.

Selena was born to a musical family in Texas, and she headlined her family group, Selena y Los Dinos, starting at age 10. Although English was her first language, she learned to sing in Spanish and became fluent. With her brother on the bass guitar and her sister on drums, they were a fixture on the local wedding circuit. 

Tejano is a musical genre that combines traditional Mexican music with country and western. Selena’s 1990 album, Ven Conmigo, became the first Tejano record to achieve Gold status. Around this time, she became known as the Mexican Madonna for her dance moves and provocative stage outfits. In 1993, she won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album for Live! Selena and her band toured Argentina, Puerto Rico and New York in 1994 and played Houston’s Astrodome in February of the following year, performing in her iconic purple pantsuit. She launched a product line, Selena Etc., opening stores in Texas, and went to work on her first English-language album, Dreaming of You. She would not live to see its success. 

Selena’s father, who was her manager, noticed financial irregularities with her fan club and confronted its president, Yolanda Saldívar, over a missing sum of $30,000. Selena got involved when it became apparent that her fans were not receiving products they had paid for. In apparent retribution, Saldívar shot Selena in the back at a motel in Corpus Christi, Texas, and she died of her injuries. The posthumous album would become Number 1 on the Billboard charts.


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