Selena Quintanilla: The story of the Tejano Queen

Selena Quintanilla: The story of the Tejano Queen

Allyson Medina and Mia Cayetano

Selena Quintanilla Perez was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. Selena was the youngest out of her two siblings (Suzette Quintanilla and A.B Quintanilla III). Her career began at age 6 when her father Abraham Quintanilla saw potential in her to be a singer after hearing her sing.

Selena comes from a bloodline of musicians. Her dad was a singer and songwriter, while her mom was a stay-at-home mom. Her dad gave up his music career to start a family with Marcella Quintanilla (Samora). Selena grew up only speaking English. Still, her dad taught her how to sing in Spanish to accommodate the Latino community, and eventually, she spoke fluent Spanish.

At 10, Selena sang in her family’s band(managed by her dad) alongside her brother and sister. They would perform at the family restaurant(Papagayo) and eventually at special events such as weddings or clubs.

Eventually, the restaurant failed, and her father decided to move back to his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, to start once again. The band finally began to tour, making Selena a very known person at just the age of 11. Selena would try to balance school with her music, but in the end, she would spend most of her time on her music and eventually left school during her 8th-grade year.

Even with her music and touring, she still managed to take courses and got a diploma known as GED (general education diploma), which counts as a high school diploma.
Some of her early recordings happened with Corpus Christi’s Freddie label. In 1984 Selena recorded” Mis primeras Grabaciones” which did not sell well. Hence, she switched to a different company known as Cara and Manny record labels and released “Ya se va” which also didn’t sell well.

The band was living in a van, but they continued to tour towards the southwest part of the U.S.They played a variety of music which includes rhythm and blues and Tejano music.
She became a famous singer and was even voted the female artist of the year at the Tejano Music Awards 1988. To which she would later win the award.

In 1989, Selena joined a record company named EMI Records. With a big company behind her and Jose Behar, the company’s new Latin music division, she could appeal to a diverse audience. In 1991, she made a song with Alvaro Torres called “Buenos Amigos”which became a hit with getting number one on Billboards Latin chart, introducing different audiences.

Making another hit named “Donde Quiero Que Estes,” Selena’s music career kept on growing to reach broader markets. Throughout her life, she has had many successful outcomes in her music career. And on April 2, 1992, she married the love of her life, Christopher Perez.

Since they were younger, they have known each other because he was a lead guitarist in her family’s band. Both of them shared success, with Selena’s dad helping her a lot with her music. Her music took off, and eventually, her album “Selena Live”won a Grammy for the best Mexican American album.

The sales kept rising, and in July 1994, she released a song called “Amor Prohibido,” which won the Tejano Album of the year once again. Selena was almost always compared to American female artists such as Madonna and Janet Jackson. She wanted to explore more with English music and moved companies to begin that path.

Unfortunately, on March 31, 1995, she was shot and killed by the president of her fan club (Yolanda Saldivar). Thousands and millions of people mourned the singer’s death, which made her gain even more popularity.

One last recorded album was released, “Dreaming of you,” in 1996 to become a successful album to which she gained attention and new fans. She was honored at The Houston Astrodome, where she would often perform with a memorial concert. To remind us of her success and tragedy, a movie was later made about her life to keep her legacy alive a year later.