By Santina Ristaino, Viviana Arreola, and Alberto Colin
Known as the “Mexican Madonna,” Selena Quintanilla was born on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas. She began performing as a child and at the age of 10. Selena became the lead singer in her family’s band, Selena Y Los Dinos. The band would play where ever they could, such as weddings, clubs and street corners in Texas. As Selena grew more popular, her performance and travel schedule began to interfere with her education. In the eighth grade, her father made the decision to take her out of school.
In 1985, fourteen year old Selena recorded her first album for a record company. Over the next three years, not under a recording contract, she released six more albums. At the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, Selena won both Best Female Vocalist of the Year and Performer of the Year. Her music career was taking off, as for her personal life, in 1988, she met Chris Perez, who had his own band. The Quintanilla family hired him to play in Selena’s band and they began dating. Not too long after, Selena and Chris were married in Nueces County, Texas on April 2, 1992.
In 1990, after her album Ven Conmigo was released, a fan named Yolanda Saldivar approached Selena’s father with the idea of starting a fan club. He then approved and Yolanda became president. Selena’s recordings continued to have strong sales, and she won best Mexican-American album at the Grammy Awards in 1993 for her album Live. She then released her album Amor Prohibido that went gold in 1994.
Afterwards, Selena went to work on an English-language album, hoping it would put her on the top of the U.S. pop music charts. Unfortunately, she did not live to see its success. Selena died on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi, Texas, after being shot by Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the fan club. Saldivar had been managing Selena’s boutique in San Antonio, and was about to be fired for embezzling money. Selena’s first English-language album, Dreaming of You, was released after her death and became a huge hit. Her music still remains popular today and will always be the “Queen of Tejano Music.”