Biography » musicians » selena quintanilla perez


Name: Selena Quintanilla-Perez                                                             
Born: 16 April 1971 Lake Jackson, Texas, U.S.                                             
Died: 31 March 1995 Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.                                           
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (April 16, 1971 - March 31, 1995), best known as Selena,         
was a Mexican American singer who has been called "the queen of Tejano music".             
The youngest child of a Mexican-American couple, Selena released her first album           
at the age of twelve. She won Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano               
Music Awards and landed a recording contract with EMI a few years later. Her               
fame grew throughout the early 1990s, especially in Spanish-speaking countries.           
Her album Selena Live! won Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards           
and her 1994 album Amor Prohibido, which was nominated for another Grammy,                 
produced four number one Spanish hits.                                                     
Selena attained further notability in North America after Yolanda Saldivar, the           
president of her fan club, murdered her at the age of 23. On April 12, 1995, two           
weeks after her death, George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, declared her           
birthday "Selena Day" in Texas. Warner Brothers made a film based on her life             
starring Jennifer Lopez in 1997. As of June 2006, Selena was commemorated with a           
museum and a bronze life-sized statue (Mirador de la Flor in Corpus Christi,               
Texas). The statue and museum are visited by hundreds of fans each week.                   
Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas to a Mexican-American father, Abraham               
Quintanilla and a Mexican/Native American mother, Marcella Ophelia Zamora,                 
and was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. She began singing at the age of six; when           
she was nine her father founded the singing group Selena y Los Dinos, which she           
fronted. They initially performed at the Quintanilla family's restaurant, "Papa           
Gayos", but the restaurant failed shortly afterwards.                                     
The family soon went bankrupt and was evicted from their home. Taking their               
musical equipment in an old bus, they relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas. There,           
they performed wherever they could: at street corners, weddings, quinceañeras,           
and fairs. These efforts at spreading their names paid off in 1984 when                   
Selena was twelve years old, she recorded her first album for a local record               
company. The album was not sold in stores and her father bought all of the                 
original copies. It was re-released in 1995 under the title Mis Primeras                   
Selena did well in school, but as she grew more popular, the travel demands of             
her performance schedule began to interfere with her education. Her father                 
pulled her out of school altogether when she was in eighth grade. She                     
continued her education on the road; at age seventeen she earned a high school             
diploma from The American School of Correspondence in Chicago. Selena released             
her second album, Alpha, in 1986.                                                         
At the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, Selena won Best Female Vocalist (and dominated           
the award for the next seven years). In 1988, she released two albums,                     
Preciosa and Dulce Amor. In 1989, Jose Behar, the former head of the Sony Latin           
Music division, signed Selena with Capitol/EMI, a record company he founded. He           
later said that he signed Selena because he thought he had discovered the next             
Gloria Estefan. Selena signed a contract with Coca-Cola to become one of                   
their spokespersons the same year and her concerts drew thousands of people.               
In 1988, Selena met Chris Perez, who had his own band. Two years later, the               
Quintanilla family hired him to play in Selena's band and they quickly fell in             
love. At first her father did not approve of their relationship and went as far           
as firing Perez from the band. He eventually came to accept the relationship,             
telling Selena that Perez could come back only if they married and moved next             
door to the family home. Selena accepted and on April 2, 1992, Selena and                 
Perez married in Nueces County, Texas and Selena added her new husband's surname           
to her own.                                                                               
In 1990, Selena released another album, Ven Conmigo, written by her main                   
songwriter and brother Abraham Quintanilla, III. This recording was the first             
Tejano album recorded by a female artist to achieve gold status. Around the same           
time, a registered nurse and fan named Yolanda Saldivar approached Selena's               
father with the idea of starting a fan club. Her wish was granted and she became           
the club's president; later she became the manager of Selena's clothing                   
boutiques. Selena released another hit album in 1992, Entre a Mi Mundo, which             
also achieved gold status. Songs from that album, such as "Como La Flor",                 
helped make Selena a star. Her 1993 Selena Live! album won a Grammy award for             
Best Mexican-American Performance.                                                         
Selena released her next album, Amor Prohibido, in 1994. The album was nominated           
for another Grammy award for Mexican-American Album of the Year. She began                 
designing and manufacturing a clothing line in 1994 and opened two boutiques               
called Selena Etc., one in Corpus Christi and the other in San Antonio. Both               
were equipped with in-house beauty salons. Hispanic Business magazine reported             
that the singer earned over five million dollars from these boutiques. Selena             
also made appearances alongside Erik Estrada in a Latin soap opera titled Dos             
Mujeres, Un Camino.                                                                       
Selena and her band continued to receive accolades; Billboard's Premio Lo                 
Nuestro awarded them six prestigious awards including Best Latin Artist and Song           
of the Year for "Como La Flor". Coca-Cola released a commemorative bottle in her           
honor to celebrate their five-year relationship. Meanwhile, her duet with the             
Barrio Boyzz, "Dondequiera Que Estes", raced to the top of the Latin charts.               
This prompted Selena to tour in New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico and                 
Central America where she was in growing demand. The duet with Salvadoran singer           
Alvaro Torres, "Buenos Amigos", was also a hit.                                           
By fall of 1994, Amor Prohibido was a commercial success in Mexico and made four           
number one Latin hits, replacing Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra on the chart's                 
number one spot. It sold over 400,000 copies by March 1995, reaching gold status.         
At this point, Selena developed plans to record an English-language album, but             
continued to tour for Amor Prohibido while beginning preparations for the album.           
In 1995, Selena made a cameo appearance in the romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco,           
which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway; she appeared as a               
background mariachi singer during the first scene. In February 1995, Selena               
played a concert at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in the Houston                   
Astrodome, which attracted over 61,000 fans—more than country stars such as             
George Strait, Vince Gill and Reba McEntire. Despite her busy schedule,                   
Selena visited local schools to talk to students about the importance of                   
education. She also donated her time to civic organizations such as D.A.R.E. and           
planned a fundraising concert to help AIDS patients. These demonstrations of               
community involvement won her loyalty from her fan base. Selena scheduled                 
her English album for release in the summer of 1995. Afraid that her fans would           
think she was turning her back on them, she was working on a new Tejano album as           
well. Meanwhile, she planned to open two more boutiques including one in                   
Monterrey, Mexico.                                                                         
In early 1995, the Quintanillas discovered that Yolanda Saldivar, the president           
of Selena's fan club and the manager of her boutiques, was stealing money from             
the boutiques and decided to fire her. Soon after the fallout, Selena agreed to           
meet Saldívar in a Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi on the morning of March               
31, 1995 to retrieve paperwork for tax purposes.                                           
At the hotel, Selena demanded the missing financial papers. Saldivar delayed the           
handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico. The singer drove Saldivar               
to a local hospital where doctors found no evidence of rape. Saldivar                     
returned to the motel where Selena again demanded the missing financial papers.           
An argument ensued and Saldivar drew a gun from her purse, pointing it first at           
her own head and then at Selena. As the singer turned and left the room,                   
Saldivar shot her once in the back. Selena fled to the manager's office in the             
lobby for help, with Saldivar chasing her, calling her a "bitch". Before                   
collapsing to the floor, Selena named Saldivar as her assailant and gave the               
room number where she had been shot. After an ambulance and the police                     
arrived on the scene, Selena was transported to a local hospital. She died there           
from loss of blood at 1:05 p.m., at the age of 23.