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This article is about the singer. For other uses, see Selena (disambiguation).
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.jpg
Selena in a 1994 photo shoot
Born Selena Quintanilla
(1971-04-16)April 16, 1971
Lake Jackson, Texas, U.S.
Died March 31, 1995(1995-03-31) (aged 23)
Corpus Christi, Texas
Cause of death
Gunshot wound
Resting place
Seaside Memorial Park
Corpus Christi, Texas
Monuments Mirador de la Flor
Nationality Mexican-American
Other names Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
  • Singer,
  • songwriter,
  • actress,
  • spokesperson,
  • fashion designer
Years active 1982–1995
Spouse(s) Chris Pérez (m. 199295)
Relatives Suzette Quintanilla (sister), A.B. Quintanilla III (brother)
Awards List of awards and nominations
Musical career
Associated acts Selena y Los Dinos, Pete Astudillo, Alvaro Torres, Barrio Boyzz, Emilio Navaira, Nando "Guero" Dominguez

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995), known popularly as Selena, was an American singer and songwriter. She was named the "top Latin artist of the '90s" and "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" by Billboard for her fourteen top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, including seven number-one hits.[1] Selena had the most successful Latin singles of 1994 and 1995, "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más".[2] She was called "The Queen of Tejano music"[3] and the Mexican equivalent of Madonna.[4] Selena's first album, Selena y Los Dinos, was released when she was twelve years old. A few years after winning Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, she was signed to a recording contract with EMI. Her career and popularity grew throughout the early 1990s in the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. Her album, Selena Live! won Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards in 1994.

Selena was murdered at the age of 23 on March 31, 1995 by Yolanda Saldívar, a staffer and president of Selena's fan club. On April 12, 1995, two weeks after her death, Texas governor George W. Bush declared her birthday "Selena Day" in that state.[5] In 1997, a Warner Bros. film based on her life titled Selena was released, starring Jennifer Lopez in the title role. She is the 2nd best selling Latin artist of all time, just behind Gloria Estefan in 1st place with over 100 million recordings sold.[6][7]

Early life

The youngest of three children, Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, on April 16, 1971[8] to Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., a Mexican American[9] and Marcella Ofelia (née Samora), a Cherokee Native American and Mexican American[10][11] Selena was raised as a Jehovah's Witnesses.[12] After learning to sing at age three, Selena's father started a vocal group when she was nine. The group, Selena y Los Dinos, consisted of Selena, her older brother A.B., and her older sister Suzette.[4] The group initially performed at a restaurant the family operated[5] until the business went bankrupt. The Quintanilla family then moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where Selena y Los Dinos performed on street corners, at weddings, quinceañeras, and fairs.[13] Because the demands of her performance and travel schedule began to interfere with her education as her popularity as a singer grew, her father took her out of school when she was in the eighth grade.[3] At seventeen, Selena earned a high school diploma through the American School Program.[14]

Selena's first album was recorded independently in 1984 and released as Selena y Los Dinos/Mis Primeras Grabaciones.[citation needed] Her second album was recorded by a record company in 1985 and her father bought all of the original copies.[15] The album was re-released in 1995 as Mis Primeras Grabaciones.[16] Over the next three years Selena released six more independent albums.[citation needed]


At the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, Selena won Best Female Vocalist, an award she would dominate for the rest of her life.[3][17] In 1989, José Behar, the former head of CBS Discos,[18] signed Selena with EMI Latin (now Capitol Latin). Behar later explained he signed her because he thought he had discovered the next Gloria Estefan.[3] In 1988, she met Chris Pérez, who had his own band. Two years later, the Quintanilla family hired him to play in Selena's band and they began dating. At first her father opposed their relationship and went as far as firing Pérez from the band. He eventually came to accept the relationship.[19] On April 2, 1992, Selena and Chris were married in Nueces County, Texas.[4]

In 1990, her album Ven Conmigo was released, written by her brother and main songwriter 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 Saldívar approached Selena's father with the idea of starting a fan club. He approved and Saldívar became the club's president; later, she worked as the manager of Selena's retail enterprises.[4] In 1992, Selena’s stardom got a big boost with the song, "Como La Flor" off a new album, Entre a Mi Mundo. The next album, Selena Live! won Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards.[4] The album Amor Prohibido was released in 1994. It was nominated for a Grammy award for Mexican-American Album of the Year. Selena and her band received yet more accolades in 1994. Billboard's Premio Lo Nuestro awarded them six awards, including Best Latin Artist and Song of the Year for "Como La Flor". Meanwhile, her duet with the Barrio Boyzz, "Donde Quiera Que Estés", reached number one in the Billboard Latin Charts. This prompted Selena to tour in Latin America.[20] She performed a duet with Salvadoran singer Álvaro Torres, "Buenos Amigos". 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 late 1994 in the U.S. and another 50,000 copies in Mexico, reaching gold status.[4]

In 1994, Selena released Amor Prohibido, which became the best-selling Latin album of all time.[21][22] Five singles from the album reached number one on the Hot Latin Tracks chart.[23] Selena was the first Hispanic artist to do this.[24] The album was certified double platinum by the end of the year. She also won awards from Premio Lo Nuestro including Best Latin Artist and Song of the Year.[24] Selena recorded a duet with the Barrio Boyzz called "Donde Quiera Que Estes". The song got to number one on the Hot Latin Tracks.[25] This allowed Selena to tour in New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Central America, where she was not well known.[20] The album and the single of the same name were nominated for a Grammy Award.[26][27] "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Mas" became the most successful singles of 1994 and 1995 on the Hot Latin Track charts, according to Billboard and Nielson SoundScan.[2] She was then called the "Queen of Tejano music".[28]

In late 1994, EMI chairman Charles Koppelman felt that Selena had surpassed her goals in the Spanish market.[29][30] Selena continued on her Amor Prohibido Tour while EMI Latin prepared the album.[31] In 1995, Selena made a cameo appearance in Don Juan DeMarco, which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway.[32] In February 1995, Selena performed at the Houston Astrodome for a record-breaking audience of over 60,000 fans.[31] Meanwhile, she was planning to open two more clothing stores, one of which was scheduled to be opened in Monterrey, Mexico.[29]

Aside from music, 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.[33] Hispanic Business magazine reported that the singer earned over five million dollars from these boutiques.[34] Selena briefly played opposite Erik Estrada in a Mexican telenovela titled Dos Mujeres, Un Camino.[35] In 1995 she entered negotiations to star in another telenovela produced by Emilio Larrosa.[35]

At the peak of her career, 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. These demonstrations of community involvement won her loyalty from her fan base.[36] Selena scheduled her English album for release in the summer of 1995.


Main article: Murder of Selena

In early 1995, the Quintanillas discovered that Yolanda Saldívar was embezzling money from the fan club and decided to fire her.[4] Three weeks later, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi[37] to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to turn over. Saldívar once again delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[3] Selena then drove Saldívar to a local hospital, where doctors found no evidence of rape.[38] They returned to the motel, where Selena again demanded the missing financial papers.[4] Saldívar drew a pistol from her purse and pointed it at Selena. Selena tried to flee, but Saldívar shot her once in her right shoulder, severing an artery. Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby for help. She collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911, with Saldívar still chasing her and calling her a "bitch".[39] Selena died in a hospital from loss of blood at 1:05 p.m. on March 31, 1995, 16 days before her 24th birthday.[40]

Selena was buried at Seaside Memorial Park, in Corpus Christi, Texas.[41]


Selena's murder had a widespread impact. Major networks interrupted their regular programming to break the news; Tom Brokaw referred to Selena as "The Mexican Madonna".[42] It was front page news on The New York Times for two days after her death.[43] Numerous vigils and memorials were held in her honor, and radio stations in Texas played her music non-stop.[44] Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, many of whom traveled from outside the United States.[44] Among the celebrities who were reported to have phoned the Quintanilla family to express their condolences were Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, Julio Iglesias, and Madonna.[45] People published a commemorative issue in honor of Selena's memory and musical career, titled Selena 1971–1995, Her Life in Pictures.[44] This issue sold nearly 450,000 copies. Two weeks later, the company released a special issue for Selena, which sold more than 600,000 copies.[46] A few days later, Howard Stern mocked Selena's murder and burial, poked fun at her mourners, and criticized her music. Stern said, "This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul ... Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth." Stern's comments outraged and infuriated the Hispanic community in Texas.[47] After a disorderly conduct arrest warrant was issued in his name, Stern made an on-air statement, in Spanish, for his comments that he stressed were not made to cause "more anguish to her family, friends and those who loved her."[48][49] On April 12, 1995, George W. Bush, then Governor of Texas, declared Selena's birthday April 16 as "Selena Day" in Texas.[5] Selena was inducted into the "Latin Music Hall of Fame" that same year.[46]

That summer, Selena's album Dreaming of You, a combination of Spanish-language songs and new English-language tracks, debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making her the first Hispanic singer to accomplish this feat.[50] and the second highest debut after Michael Jackson's HIStory. On its release date, the album sold over 175,000 copies, a record for a female pop singer, and it sold two million copies in its first year.[51] Dreaming of You sold more than 330,000 copies in its first week.[52][53] The album was number 75 in the List of BMG Music Club's top selling albums in the United States.[54] Songs such as "I Could Fall in Love" and "Dreaming of You" were played widely by mainstream English-language radio, with the latter reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile, "I Could Fall in Love", while ineligible for the Hot 100 at the time, reached number 8 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and the top 10 on the Adult Contemporary Chart. "Dreaming of You" was certified 35× Platinum (Latin field) by the Recording Industry Association of America.[55] In October 1995, a Houston jury convicted Saldívar of first degree murder and sentenced her to life in prison, with the possibility of parole in thirty years.[56] Under a judge's order, the gun used to kill Selena was destroyed in 2002, and the pieces thrown into Corpus Christi Bay.[57][58]

Posthumous commemorations and popularity

Within the year of her death, Selena was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame.[59] The Spirit of Hope Award was created in Selena's honor in 1996,[60] and was awarded to Latin artists who participated in humanitarian and civic causes.[61] Jennifer Lopez portrayed Selena in a film about Selena's life. Selena was among two other Latin artists who had the best sales of records in 2001.[62] In June 2006 Selena was commemorated with a life-sized bronze statue (Mirador de la Flor) in Corpus Christi, Texas, and a Selena museum opened there.[63] On March 16, 2011, the United States Post Office released a "Latin Legends" memorial stamp to honor Selena, Carlos Gardel, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Carmen Miranda.[64] She has sold over 90 million albums worldwide.[7] In February 2014, the Albany, NY Times Union named her one of "100 Coolest Americans in History".[65]


Selena y Los Dinos

  • Selena y Los Dinos/Mis Primeras Grabaciones (1984)
  • The New Girl in Town (1985)
  • Alpha (1986)
  • Munequito De Trapo (1986)
  • And the Winner Is... (1987)
  • Preciosa (1988)
  • Dulce Amor (1988)

Selena Solo Studio albums

Box sets

Compilation albums

Karaoke Albums

Live albums

Remix albums

Soundtrack Albums


Year Title Role Notes
1985–1994 Johnny Canales Show Herself
1987–1995 Tejano Music Awards Herself
1993 Dos mujeres, un camino Herself
1995 Don Juan DeMarco Ranchera singer Minor role
Films and television programs about her life and death
Year Title Notes
1996 E! True Hollywood Story "The Murder Trial of Selena"
1997 Selena Biographical film
1999 VH1: All Access "Selena"
2005 Selena ¡VIVE! Concert special
2008 Biography "Selena"
2010 Famous Crime Scene: Selena Episode 105
2012 Reel Crime/Real Story: Selena Premiere episode
2014 Selena: Death Of A Superstar Season 13 episode 15 of Snapped


  • Ven Conmigo Live Tour (1990–1992)
  • Entre A Mi Mundo Tour (1992–1993)
  • Selena Live! Tour (1993–1994)
  • Amor Prohibido Tour (1994–1995)

See also


  1. ^ Mayfield, Geoff (December 25, 1999). "Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 111 (52): YE–16–18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Topping The Charts Year By Year". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 110 (48): LMQ3. November 28, 1998. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Mitchell 1995.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h New York Times 1995.
  5. ^ a b c Orozco, Cynthia E. Quintanilla Pérez, Selena. The Handbook of Texas online. Retrieved on May 29, 2009
  6. ^ "Selena Just Behind Gloria Estefan and Shakira". Televisa. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "A 17 años de su trágica muerte, Selena Quintanilla vuelve en grande.". E! Online (in Spanish). Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 30.
  9. ^ HSA Banquet Features Father of Late Tejano Star Selena, Baylor University press release, November 4, 1999. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  10. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 22.
  11. ^ Ware, Susan. Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Harvard University Press 2005. ISBN 0-674-01488-X
  12. ^ Caller-Times 1997.
  13. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 53.
  14. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 59.
  15. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 49.
  16. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 288.
  17. ^ "Fans, Family Remember Selena"., October 17, 2002. Retrieved on July 9, 2006.
  18. ^ Maciel, David; Ortiz, Isidro D.; Herrera-Sobek, Mar’a (2000). Chicano Renaissance: Contemporary Cultural Trends. University of Arizona Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780816520213. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ Patoski 1996.
  20. ^ a b Patoski 1996, p. 123.
  21. ^ Parédez 2009, p. 47.
  22. ^ Arrarás 1997, p. 34.
  23. ^ "Chart history > Hot Latin Tracks > Selena". Billboard. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Patoski 1996, p. 152.
  25. ^ "Chart history > Selena > Donde Quiera Que Estes". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  26. ^ San Miguel 2002, p. 110.
  27. ^ "Selena's Death Shocks Hispanics". The Victoria Advocate. 1 April 1995. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  28. ^ Prodis, Julia (7 April 1995). "Many Americans Asking "Who is Selena?"". Park City Daily News. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  29. ^ a b "Queen of Tejano Music, Selena special". 2007. 60 minutes in. Q-Productions.
  30. ^ "Biography TV Series, Selena episode" (in English). Biography. 26 November 2010. 60 minutes in. The Biography Channel.
  31. ^ a b Patoski 1996, p. 115.
  32. ^ "Selena: Singer was on the verge of mainstream stardom". The Atlanta Journal. 5 April 1995. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  33. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 120.
  34. ^ "Selena – Life Events". Corpus Christi Caller Times. March 27, 2005. Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. Retrieved June 7, 2006. 
  35. ^ a b Patoski 1996, p. 134.
  36. ^ Selena Retrieved on September 9, 2010.
  37. ^ "Testimony of Richard Fredrickson" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 5, 2007). Houston Chronicle, October 13, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  38. ^ "October 12, 1995 testimony of Carla Anthony" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 6, 2007). Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on May 21, 2008.
  39. ^ "October 12, 1995, the testimony of Norma Martinez" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 15, 2007). Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  40. ^ Villafranca, Armando and Reinert, Patty. "Singer Selena shot to death" at the Wayback Machine (archived June 21, 2007). Houston Chronicle, April 1, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  41. ^ Harvey, Bill (2003). Texas Cemeteries: The Resting Places of Famous, Infamous, and Just Plain Interesting Texans. University of Texas Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-292-73466-2. 
  42. ^ "In the spirit of Selena: Tributes, a book and an impending film testify to the Tejano singer's enduring". by Gregory Rodriguez. Pacific News, March 21, 1997. Retrieved on July 18, 2006.
  43. ^ Patoski, p. 174
  44. ^ a b c Mitchell, Rick. "Selena" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 9, 2007). Houston Chronicle, May 21, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  45. ^ Patoski, p. 165
  46. ^ a b Lannert, John (1995). "Latin pride". Billboard 107 (23): 112. 
  47. ^ Asin, Stephanie and Dyer, R.A. "Selena's public outraged: Shock jock Howard Stern's comments hit raw nerve." at the Wayback Machine (archived July 10, 2007) Houston Chronicle, April 6, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  48. ^ "A real shocker from Stern: Apology for Selena comments". New York Daily News. 7 Apr 1995. Retrieved 23 Nov 2013. 
  49. ^ Marikar, Sheila (14 May 2012). "Howard Stern's Five Most Outrageous Offenses". ABC Good Morning America. Retrieved 23 Nov 2013. 
  50. ^ Hodges, Ann. "Selena legend lives on with TV movie'[dead link] Houston Chronicle, December 6, 1996. Retrieved on May 20, 2006. Archived June 28, 2006 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  51. ^ "In the spirit of Selena: Tributes, a book and an impending film testify to the Tejano singer's enduring" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 6, 2007). Houston Chronicle, March 31, 1996. Retrieved on January 18, 2008.
  52. ^ Patoski pg. 199
  53. ^ Nilou Panahpour (1995). "Rock and Roll yearbook, the best in music, movies, and television". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow Publishers Company) (724/725): 64. 
  54. ^ "List of BMG Music Club's top selling albums in the United States". BMG. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  55. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  56. ^ Graczyk, Michael. "Selena's killer gets life" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 5, 2007). Associated Press, October 26, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  57. ^ National Briefing Southwest: Texas: Gun That Killed Singer Is To Be Destroyed The New York Times, June 8, 2002. Retrieved on July 16, 2006.
  58. ^ Compiled, Items (June 11, 2002). "Gun used in slaying of Selena destroyed". (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  59. ^ "Performances & Awards Lend Spice To Latin Confab". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 107 (27). 8 July 1995. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  60. ^ "Billboard's Magazine 1996 Latin Music Awards Scheduled For May 1 At The Historical Gusman Center for Performing Arts". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 108 (9). 2 March 1996. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  61. ^ "The Songwriters Speak". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 118 (17). 29 April 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  62. ^ Oumano, Elena (1999). "U.S. Latin Music Sales Break Records". Billboard magazine 111 (43): 108. 
  63. ^ "Still Missing Selena: Here Are 6 Reasons Why". NBC News. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  64. ^ Sara Inés Calderón (January 18, 2011). "Selena, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente In U.S. Postal Stamp Form". NewsTaco. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  65. ^ "The 100 coolest Americans in history". Times Union (Albany). 20 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 


  • Caller-Times (April 16, 1997). "Birthday hoopla is prohibited". Corpus Christi, Texas: 
  • Mitchell, Rick (May 21, 1995). "Selena". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 9, 2007. 
  • New York Times (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". p. 1. 
  • Patoski, Joe Nick (1996). Selena: Como La Flor. Boston: Little Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-69378-2. 

External links