Birthname: Selena Quintanilla Perez
Born: 04/16/1971 in Lake Jackson, TX
Died: 03/31/1995 in Corpus Christi, TX
The tragic 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.
She was born Selena Quintanilla to Mexican-American parents in Lake Jackson, TX. Before her birth, her father Abraham had been a member of Los Dinos. When Selena began performing at the age of ten, her father became her manager and Los Dinos became her backing band. In 1983, she made her recording debut in 1983 after appearing on popular the radio show of L.A. deejay Johnnie Canales. While Selena grew up understanding Spanish, English was her first language. Her first records were recorded in Spanish and she sang the words phonetically. After her music began to catch on, she began learning Spanish formally and by the time of her death, she was fluent in the language.
In the '80s, Selena married Los Dinos' lead guitarist Chris Perez. Other group members included her brother, Abraham Quintanilla, III, who played bass and penned many of her songs, and her sister Suzette, the drummer. By 1987, she was named Female Vocalist of the Year and Performer of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards. Two years later she signed with EMI Latin and in 1990, she and Los Dinos released their eponymous debut album. Later that year she released a singles compilation, Personal Best, and she also released Ven Conmigo. In 1991 the title track of the latter became the first Tejano record to go gold. Selena also released two more albums, including one of Cumbia music, Baila Esta Cumbia that year. She won her first Grammy in 1993 for Best Mexican American Performance for her album Selena Live. That same year, she released an album of love songs, Quiero, and she also opened Selena Etc, a clothing manufacturing business. In 1994, she made her feature-film debut in Don Juan DeMarco, in which she played a singer. Later that year, she and her band embarked upon a tour of New York, LA, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. Amor Prohibido was released in 1994; the record's title track won a Grammy and went gold. In 1995, Selena began preparing to make her breakthrough into the American pop mainstream.