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Tejano's Shining Star: Selena's Life and Legacy

By Sarah Rafael- Eagle Staff Writer

Selena became one of the most famous Mexican-American singers of the 20th century. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

A young Latina defied expectations and became a Grammy Award-winning recording artist. Her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the 20th century. Over two decades after her death, she remains known as the"Queen of Tejano Music" for her eclectic style and powerful voice, and her name is Selena.


Selena Quintanilla, known by her stage name "Selena", was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. When Selena was around 10, she became the lead singer in her family’s band. The band consisted of Selena’s brother Abraham lll (known as A.B. Quintanilla) on bass guitar and her sister Suzzete on the drums. Their Tejano music style incorporated Mexican music, country, and western.


Selena released her debut album in 1989. She would go on to release five studio albums and one live album. Her song “Tu Solo Tu” topped charts for 10 weeks, and “Amor Prohibido” held the No. 1 song slot for nine weeks. “No Me Queda Mas,” “Fotos Y Recuerdos (Back On The Chain Gang),” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” were among Selena’s other hits that led the Hot Latin Songs chart.

Selena among her band members. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

Selena had other numerous other pop hits including “ Baile Esta Cumbia”, “Como La Flor”, “ El Chico del Apartamento 512”, “I Could Fall In Love”, and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”. At the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, Selena won the Best Female Vocalist of the Year and Performer of the Year.


Tragically, Selena was murdered by her fan club president and business associate Yolanda Saldivar. Her album Dreaming of You would be released after her death, which topped the Billboard 200 chart. Texas Governor George W. Bush declared April 16th "Selena Day" two weeks after her death. Selena's legacy continues to inspire musicians and fans worldwide, with her influence seen in fashion choices and contemporary Tejano and Latin pop styles.


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