Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, to a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. From a young age, her father noticed her musical abilities, and at the age of 9, she became the lead singer of her family’s band Selena y Los Dinos. At first, the band played at the family’s restaurant, but when it was bankrupt, they played everywhere they could, from street corners to fairs and weddings. Over time their popularity grew, especially Selena’s.
At 13, she recorded her first Tejano music LP album, and by 17, she recorded five more albums and frequently appeared at the popular Spanish radio program – the Johnny Canales Show.
At 18, while performing at the Tejano Music Awards, she was discovered by the music producer José Behar of label EMI Latin Records. She released an album every year, getting more and more popular with singles hitting the top US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart, the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart, performing all over the US and Mexico, and winning music awards. In 1993 she released her third studio album “Live!” for which she won Best Mexican/American Album at the 1994 Grammy Award, becoming the first female Tejano artists to win a Grammy. Her successes broke barriers in the Latin music world, and she was referred to as the Queen of Tejano music.
In 1990, a fan named Yolanda Saldívar founded the official Selena fan club, and Saldívar started working for Selena. Selena’s father discovered that Saldívar had embezzled more than $30,000 from the fan club. On March 31, 1995, Selena confronted Saldívar in a hotel. Saldívar took a gun out of her purse and shot Selena while she attempted escaping. Selena died on the way to the hospital when she is only 23 years old.
About 35,000 fans came to the funeral to pay their last respect while the funeral was broadcasted live by the local radio station.
Selena - Bidi Bidi Bom Bom (Live From Astrodome)
Music video by Selena performing Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. (C) 1995 Q Production Inc. Exclusive License To Universal Music Latino
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- She left school at the age of 14 and took correspondence classes to earn a high school diploma from the American School of Correspondence. She went to study business administration at Pacific Western University.
- Since she was 10 years old, she designed her own clothes, and in 1994 she began manufacturing a line of clothing and opened two boutiques under the name “Selena Etc.”
- For the recording of her first album, she had to learn Spanish phonetically with guidance from her father.
- She was the spokesperson of Coca-Cola in Texas.
- She made a cameo appearance in the movie “Don Juan DeMarco,” which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, and Faye Dunaway.
- George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, declared April 16, her birthday, Selena Day in the state.
- The famous singer Selena Gomez is named after her.
- She was married once.
- The 1999 musical Selena is based on her life story.
- A life-size statue of her is placed in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- She won 10 times the Tejano Music Awards’ Female Vocalist of the Year
- The first Tejano artist to win a Grammy Award
- Her album “Entre a Mi Mundo” ranked as the second best-selling regional Mexican album of all-time
- Inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame (1995)
- Inducted into the South Texas Music Hall of Fame in (1995)
- She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Jennifer Lopez depicted her in the music biopic Selena
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Selena - Bidi Bidi Bom Bom (Live From Astrodome)Music video by Selena performing Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. (C) 1995 Q Production Inc. Exclusive License To Universal Music Latino
This post is also available in: Español