Birth name: Selena Quintanilla
Birthplace: Lake Jackson, TX (Raised: Corpus Christi, TX)
April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995
Years Active: 1980-1995
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, professionally known as Selena, was born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971. She was the third child to Marcella Quintanilla and Abraham Quintanilla Jr. Selena began performing at a young age in her family’s restaurant with her older brother and sister. They formed the band Selena y Los Dinos. Selena sang in Spanish in spite of not knowing how to speak the language fluently. She had to learn the songs phonetically. Due to financial constraints, the family eventually moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. Selena y Los Dinos played local gigs such as weddings, school events, quinceañeras, and fairs to earn money. The family band started to gain popularity in Texas and were eventually signed to a local record company. In 1984, they recorded their first album, however it was not released due to disagreements with the label.
By 1986, Selena y Los Dinos would record their second album, Alpha. The band released four more albums by 1988. As the lead singer, Selena became a major figure in Tejano music which was a male dominated genre. She performed at the Tejano Music Awards where she won Female Vocalist of the Year in 1986 and again in 1987. As Selena’s popularity increased, , she was encouraged to perform as Selena. Her self-titled album was released in 1989. It peaked on the Billboard Mexican Regional charts at #7. Her subsequent albums were successful. Her second album Ven Conmigo (1990) was the first Tejano album by a woman to go gold (500,000 sales), her third album Entre a Mi Mundo (1992) produced her signature song “Como La Flor” and her fourth album Amor Prohibido (1994) charted on Billboard 200 charts. In 1993, she also released Selena Live! which earned a Grammy for Best Mexican/American Album.
Selena also ventured outside of singing and performance. She served as a spokesperson for Coca Cola from 1987 and into the 1990s, she ventured into fashion by establishing her clothing line, opening her fashion boutique Selena Etc. which featured locations in Texas, and engaged in philanthropy work. With her popularity after the success of Live! and Entre a Mi Mundo, Selena had plans to release an English crossover album however it was never completed. Selena was murdered by the president of her fan club on March 31,1995. Her legacy still persists through a 1997 feature length film starring Jennifer Lopez, tribute concerts, a commemorative postal stamp, festivals, and a museum run by her family.
From her fashion to her stage presence, Selena’s influence is still widely celebrated in the music industry. Artists such as the late Jenni Rivera, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Daddy Yankee, Solange, Romeo Santos, Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio, Becky G and many others have all cited Selena as an influence on their careers.