Selena Quintanilla Biography – Career, Songs & Life Style Before Death

Do you want to meet Selena Quintanilla? Then continue reading about her life and honors.

 Selena Pérez, known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” was an American singer. Her assistance to music and fashion made her the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainer of the late 20th century.

She made her recording debut in the ’80s, becoming an award-winning recording artist in the Latin music scene with albums like Amor Prohibido and Selena Live. 

In 1995, she was killed by the founder of her fan club. Her last album, Dreaming of You, was released post-mortal in 1995.

In 2020, Billboard magazine placed her in third place on their list of Greatest Latino Artists of All Time, based on Latin albums and Latin songs chart.

Moreover, Media outlets labeled her the Tejano Madonna for her clothing choices. She also ranks among the most influential Latin artists and is credited for catapulting the Tejano genus into the mainstream market.

The ‘Queen of Tejano Music,’ Selena Quintanilla, was a beloved Latin recording artist who the president of her fan club killed at the age of 23. Well, at the time of his death, she holds $10 million.

Even twenty-six years after her death, Selena Quintanilla’s impact is still felt by her fans, who remember her through hit songs, iconic fashion moments, and quirky interviews. Many will get closer to her life thanks to Netflix’s biographical show Selena: The Series.

“If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.”

Personal Bio

NameSelena Quintanilla
Nick NamePreciosa,Sel,The Queen of Tejano,Buffy,La Reina de Tex-Mex,
Queen of Latin Music,Tejano Madonna, Queen of Cumbia
D.O.BApril 16, 1971
Place of birthLake Jackson, Texas
DeathMarch 31, 1995
Place of DeathCorpus Christi, Texas (Aged 23)
Zodiac SignAries
ProfessionSinger and Fashion Designer
Marital StatusChris Pérez (m. 1992)

Early Life and Family Background

Selena was the youngest child of Marcella Ofelia Quintanilla (née Samora), and Abraham Quintanilla was a singer with the original Los Dinos from 1957 to 1972. He raised the growing musical talent of his children. Quintanilla Jr. observed her musical skills when she was six years old. 

Selena grew up speaking English, but her father taught her to sing in Spanish to resound with the Latino society. She learned the lyrics phonetically and ultimately learned to speak Spanish smoothly to reach broader audiences. She started performing as a child.

Selena made her first public appearance at her father’s Mexican restaurant in Lake Jackson at eight and recorded her first record at nine. Throughout her teenage years, Selena was continuously on tour. She finished high school by mail and lived on the tour bus, “Big Bertha.” She completed her education via correspondence courses.

At age 10, Selena performed as the lead singer in her family’s band. The band initially performed at bars and weddings in their native Texas.

Her sister Suzette played the drums, and her brother Abraham played bass guitar in the band. Its other two members who started in the band were Ricky Vela on keyboards and Roger Garcia on guitar.

They settled in Corpus Christi, Texas after being declared bankrupt. Then Quintanilla Jr. became manager of the recently formed band Selena y Los Dinos and started promoting it. Because they needed the money, they performed on street corners, at weddings, quinceañeras, and at fairs.

Selena was considered the Queen of Tejano, a type of Mexican music that included other styles, such as country and western. Moreover, she was sometimes referred to as the Mexican Madonna for her sexy attire and dance moves.


selena quintanilla career
selena quintanilla career

Selena’s musical career was mainly famous for singing in her second language, Spanish. By 1988, Selena had launched five more LP records; Alpha (1986), Munequito de Trapo (1987), And the Winner Is… (1987), Preciosa (1988), and Dulce Amor (1988).

For her 1993 performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, she holds the record for gathering the largest concert viewers, 67,000 fans, in the Houston Astrodome’s history.

It is erroneously believed that her largest crowd at the Astrodome was at the 1995 concert, performed almost a month before. She drew over 64,000 fans, breaking her record for the third year.

Selena had a deep love for fashion in addition to singing. Her official boutique, named Selena Inc., ETC. Boutique & Salon opened in San Antonio in 1994.

The same year, she made a brief cameo appearance in the Johnny Depp movie “Don Juan DeMarco.” Selena chose to live next door to her family despite her career booming because she wanted to be near them.

In 1990, Selena’s first album Ven Conmigo, Tejano record, was released, achieving gold record status. In 1993, her second album, Live!  Hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. In 1994, Amor Prohibido was released and went gold.

Soon after the release of Live!, Selena worked on the first English-language album that she hoped would put her on the top of the U.S. pop music charts. Unluckily, she did not live to see its success.

Dreaming of You in 1995 was released after Selena’s death and became a huge hit. The album hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 in 1995. That made it the first mainly Spanish-language album to top the chart.

Selena Quintanilla Songs

Selena Quintanilla Songs
Selena Quintanilla Songs

Popular Selena collection albums include 12 Super Exitos and All My Hits Todos Mis Exitos, both released in 1994. (1999). Seven of Selena’s songs peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs Chart, and 14 more made it to the top 10. On the Hot 100 charts, Dreaming of You peaked at position number 22.

  • Selena y  Los Dinos (1984)
  • The New Girl in Town (1985)
  • Alpha (1986)
  • Munequito De Trapo (1987)
  • And The Winner Is… (1987)
  • Preciosa (1988)
  • Dulce Amor (1988)
  • Selena (1989)
  • Ven Conmigo (1990)
  • Entre A Mi Mundo (1992)
  • Selena Live! (1993)
  • Amor Prohibido (1994)
  • Dreaming of You (1995)

Additional Selena’s songs included:

  • No Me Queda Mas
  • Bidi Bidi Bom Bom
  • Amor Prohibido
  • Tu Solo Tu
  • I Could Fall in Love
  • El Chico del Apartamento 512
  • Que Creias
  • Baila Esta Cumbia
  • I’m Getting Used to You
  • La Carcacha
  • Fotos Y Recuerdos (Back On The Chain Gang)
  • Buenos Amigos
  • Dondequiera Que Estes
  • Missing My Baby
  • Siempre Hace Frio
  • No Debes Jugar
  • Techno Cumbia
  • La Llamada
  • Como La Flor
  • No Quiero Saber

Awards & Honors

selena quintanilla awards
selena quintanilla awards

In 1994, Selena won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album from her Selena Live! Selena became the first female Tejano artist to achieve a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album.

In the following her death month, numerous honors and tributes were raised. More than a few proposals were made, like renaming streets, public parks, food products, and auditoriums. In 1995, two months later, a tribute was held Lo Nuestro Awards.

The Spirit of Hope Award was created in Selena’s honor in 1996. The award was awarded to Latin artists who contributed to humanitarian and civic causes.

 Moreover, the United States Postal Service released a “Latin Legends” memorial stamp to honor Selena, Carlos Gardel, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Carmen Miranda on March 16, 2011.

 In February 2014, the Albany, New York Times Union named her one of the “100 Coolest Americans in History”. Furthermore, in 1998 Selena was memorialized in a museum.

In 1995, Selena was inaugurated into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame, the Hard Rock Cafe’s Hall of Fame, and the South Texas Music Hall of Fame.

In 2017, she also got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her promotion ceremony was attended by around 4,500 fans, the largest-ever crowd for an unveiling ceremony at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Forever 21 announced initiating a clothing line celebrating her legacy named “Selena: The White Rose Collection,” which was released in 2019.

 According to the Orange County Register, she was ranked fifth of the “100 most influential Latin musicians of the 20th century”.

 Selena was posthumously presented in the same year with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which her family received on the artist’s behalf.


selena quintanilla monuments
selena quintanilla monuments

Mirador de la Flor (Lookout of the Flower) is Selena’s own life-size bronze statue monument in Corpus Christi, Texas, sculpted by H. W. “Buddy” Tatum and discovered in 1997. 

While the testimonial has remained a well-liked tourist attraction, the statue’s construction met some resistance from the local community. Local businessman Dusty Durrill, with the help of the civic authorities, paid for the building of the monument.

Selena Quintanilla Movie & Series

Apart from many honors, her biography also praises her life. In 1997, a film was based on Selena’s life story, which stars Jennifer Lopez as the Tejano superstar and Edward James Olmos as her father.

Lopez was shortlisted for a Golden Globe for her performance and became the first Latina actress to earn $1 million for a movie role.

In the meantime, Netflix announced it was developing a scripted series about the singer’s life, with the Quintanilla family serving as executive producers. Christian Serratos of The Walking Dead’s Selena: The Series made its premiere in December 2020.


Selena worked for causes like Toys for Tots when she was younger. She participated actively in American Latino culture by visiting local schools and speaking with youngsters about the value of education.

She taught 200 high school students about adopting a good outlook and making life objectives at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin. Selena also advised children to stay in school and that alcohol and drugs will lead them nowhere.

Moreover,  she spent her free time helping society. Selena performed in Washington, D.C., to celebrate forming the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  Selena helped victims after Tornado Andrew in Florida by performing at a Houston benefit concert.

Selena organized a charity baseball game in August 1994 to collect money for an unknown organization. She also arranged a performance to raise money for people living with AIDS and volunteered her time to civic groups like D.A.R.E.

Selena was headlining at the Teach the Children festival in San Antonio in January 1995. The concert supported the charity program that provided school materials to poor kids.

Selena was also a spokesperson for women in insulting relationships. She also helped out at homeless shelters. According to the A&E television series Biography, Selena’s fans were often minorities; she buoyant them to make the most of their lives.

Selena Quintanilla Death

selena quintanilla death
selena quintanilla death

On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot and killed in Corpus Christi, Texas, at 23. Selena’s murder sent agitations through the Latino community, and her fans worldwide mourned the singer’s passing.

Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar, the leader of her fan group. Saldivar was in charge of running Selena’s store in San Antonio. The two met in a hotel room to talk about Selena’s worries that Saldivar was embezzling money.

According to court records, Selena told Yolanda they were no longer friends and gave her a ring back. This would trigger, and he grabbed a handgun where Selena tried to flee.

Selena ran into the lobby and collapsed. One of the hotel workers calls the ambulance in a 911 call. Selena’s last words were “Yolanda… 158” before cardiac arrest.

Saldivar claimed the shot was accidental. She was condemnation to a life in prison in October 1995. Then, Saldivar is up for watchword in 2025, as she will have served at least 30 years of her sentence.

Personal Life

When Pérez joined Selena’s band, Los Dinos, as the lead guitarist, the duo met and started secretly dating in 1990. On April 2, 1992, Selena wedded Chris Pérez . They were married for almost three years till the murder of Selena in 1995.

Book Controversy

In 2012, a book was published, To Selena, With Love, written by her husband, Pérez, to honor her. iN, which he wrote about the time he spent with Selena. Then, he planned to make a TV series on the book.

In 2016, Abraham fetched a claim against Pérez for violating an estate contract that Pérez signed shortly after the singer’s death that gave her father the special rights to Selena’s name, voice, pictures, and story in eternity. 

However, Pérez lost his petition in late 2018, and both sides agreed to discharge the proceedings the following May.

Selena Quintanilla Outfits

selena quintanilla outfits
selena quintanilla outfits

With the name Selena, it could not be forgotten about her singing and her fashion sense. Here are some of her iconic attire and a  few accessory names.

1. The Iconic Jumpsuit 

2. The Jeans And Button-Down Combo

3. The Mesmerizing Metallics 

4. The Power Suit 

5. The Bedazzled Bralette

6. The Sporty Co-Ord

7. The Varsity Bomber 

8. The Ruffled Leather Jacket 

9. The Choker 

10. The Velour Set 

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