latino singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez was born in Lake Jackson,
Texas on April 16. 1971; Easter Sunday. Her parents, Marcella
and Abraham Quintanilla Jr. were delighted to have a new addition
to their family which already had two children; Abraham Quintanilla
III (A.B.) then 8, and Suzette then 4.
up in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she began her musical career.
Her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., was a singer with the original
Los Dinos from 1957-1972, and nurtured the burgeoning musical
talent of his children. Selena, her brother Abe III (bass), and
their sister, Suzette (drums), were a second generation of Los
Dinos. Its other two members who started in the band were Ricky
Vela on keyboards and Roger Garcia on guitar.. When Selena was
just 3 years old, she demanded to know why her father was leaving
her out of the music. Abraham simply said she was too young. Right
then Selena showed him she was not too young, she showed him her
own instrument, her voice. Abraham couldn't believe what a beautiful
sound she heard. By the time Selena was 6, she was already singing
like a pro in English and in Spanish, even though she didn't speak
the language, alongside her brother, sister, and father.
was 9, her father started the group Selena Y Los Dinos (Selena
and The Guys). The group's first performances were in Papagallos,
the Quintanilla family's restaurant opened in 1980. Everyone who
saw her, even at that young age, knew she was going to be a star
the restaurant fell and the Quintanilla family went bankrupt,
they were out on the streets without a roof over their head. The
family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas where they piled into an
old bus with all their musical equipment. They played everywhere
they could, on streets, at weddings... Soon all the hard work
paid off. Selena recorded her first album in 1984 under the Freddie
label. This album was not released just then and the original
copies were bought by Abraham. However, the album was released
in 1995 titled "Mis Primeras Grabaciones."
was getting even more popular and the traveling to perform was
interfering with school, Abraham pulled her out of school when
she was in the 8th grade. Even though she was not attending school
anymore, Selena earned a high school degree from a correspondence
school in Chicago. In
1986, Selena's career really began to take off. Her second album,
Alpha, was released then. At the Tejano Music Awards, she took
the award for Female Vocalist of the Year (this was just the start
of Selena sweeping the Tejano Music Awards for the next 10 years).
Another important thing that happened in 1986 was she was discovered
by two huge names in the Tejano music industry; Rick TreviÒo,
founder of the Tejano Music Awards, and Johnny Canales, an entertainer
with one of the top Spanish television shows.
In 1988, two
more Selena albums were released, Preciosa and Dulce Amor. But
it was in 1989 when Selena got her big break. That year, she signed
with Capitol/EMI Latin label. By this time, Selena's concerts
were drawing thousands of people and her band was expanding. Pete
Astudillo joined Selena Y Los Dinos and can be heard on such hit
duets as "Yo Te Amo" ("I Love You") and "Siempre
Estoy Pensando En Ti" ("I'm Always Thinking Of You").
A.B. (who was already writing most of Selena's songs) joined Pete
and wrote such it songs as "Como La Flor" ("Like
A Flower"). Pete stayed with the band for 4 years but left
in 1993 to go solo.
In 1988, Selena
met a guitarist named Chris Perez. Chris had performed with the
popular singer Shelly Lares and even had his own band. The Quintanilla
family hired him to be in the band in 1990. On April 3, 1992,
Selena married Chris Perez.
In 1990, a
fan approached Abraham with the idea of starting a fan club. Her
name was Yolanda Saldivar. Her wish was granted. She was often
referred to as Selena's biggest fan. Yolanda became a very close
friend of Selena's, but later on, one of her worst enemies. Ven
Conmigo (Come With Me) was released in 1990. That album had such
hits as "Baila Esta Cumbia" ("Dance This Cumbia").
Another hit album, Entre A Mi Mundo (Come Into My World), was
released in 1992. Such hits from that album like "Como La
Flor" and "La Carcacha" ("The Old Car")
made Selena a star. Her 1993 Live album one her a Grammy award
for Best Mexican American Performance. But 1994 was her best year,
that was when she truly became a superstar.
In 1994, Selena
released Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love). An album that even knocked
Gloria Estefan's "Mi Tierra" off the number one spot
on the charts. By March of 1995, it had sold over 400,000 copies.
Amor Prohibido included such hits as "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,"
the title track, "Fotos Y Recuerdos" ("Photos And
Memories"), "No Me Queda Mas" ("I've Got Nothing
Left"), and "El Chico Del Apartamento 512" ("The
Boy Of Apartment 512"). Also in that year, Selena opened
her boutique and salon, Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi. It had
been her dream since she was a little girl to sell the clothing
and jewelry that she loved to design. In January of 1995, another
boutique opened in San Antonio, Texas.
of 1995, Selena sold out the Houston Astrodome with her last concert
for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. A record attendance for any
in February, trouble started with the Selena Fan Club. People
were complaining that they weren't receiving their packets they
paid for. The Quintanilla family confronted Yolanda, who by this
time was also manager of the boutiques. Money also started to
turn up missing from the Selena Etc. account. Yolanda was stealing
from them. On March 12, 1995, Selena fired Yolanda. Although she
was fired, Yolanda continued to work because there were papers
missing. On March 30, Selena went to where Yolanda was staying
in Corpus, a Days Inn motel, to get the missing paperwork. When
Selena and Chris got home that night, they found out that some
of the papers were still missing. Early the next morning, Selena
got up and went to face Yolanda again. There Yolanda told her
she had been raped in Monterey, Mexico and needed to go to the
hospital. Being the kind person that Selena was, she took her.
After about an hour, Selena and Yolanda returned to the motel
and argued. Selena told her that she just couldn't be trusted
anymore. At 11:48 am, Yolanda took out a gun, and fired at Selena.
The bullet struck her in her right shoulder. With all her strength,
Selena ran towards the lobby to get help. She collapsed on the
floor as the clerk called 911. Soon an ambulance came to take
Selena to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1:09 PM.
News of Selena's
death spread all over the world. Selena fans mourned the loss
of their queen, the queen of Tejano music. Thousands and thousands
of fans passed by her coffin. The Friday she died, will always
be known as Black Friday. In
July of 1995, her dream of crossing over into the pop market was
accomplished. The first single released from her English album
Dreaming Of You, "I Could Fall In Love," instantly became
a hit and was in heavy rotation all across the US. Dreaming Of
You instantly hit the charts at number one, if only Selena was
here to see her dream come true.
shooting death of Tejano singer Selena spawned a reaction within
the Latino community that can be compared to the reactions to
the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon. An enormously popular
singer in Latino communities across North America, her music crossed
cultural boundaries to touch the lives of young and old alike.
A flamboyant, sexy stage performer, sometimes hailed as the Latina
Madonna, Selena was nonetheless considered a role model for off-stage
she was family oriented, active in anti-drug campaigns and AIDS
tribute concert, "Selena Vive!", was organized on April
7, 2005, a week after the tenth anniversary of the star's death.
Reliant Stadium in Houston hosted the event, which featured many
high-profile artists, including Gloria Estefan, Pepe Aguilar,
Thalía, Paulina Rubio, Alberto Sanchez, Banda El Recodo,
Ana Barbara, Alejandra Guzmán, Aleks Syntek, Ana Gabriel,
and many others. All of the musicians present performed renditions
of her music, including her brother A.B. Quintanilla, who performed
along with his band Kumbia Kings, backed with footage of Selena
singing "Baila Esta Cumbia".