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Selena Quintanilla~Perez

April 16, 1971 - March 31, 1995


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On April 16, 1971 a beautiful baby girl named Selena was born. She would later become a vivacious gorgeous singer whose popularity was as big as the universe but first she had to grow up. She was the last of 3 children. Her parents are Marcella Quintanilla and Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., there other children are A.B. Quintanilla, III and Suzette Quintanilla. At age 6 Selena was watching her father teaching her brother how to play the bass guitar. Selena feeling a little jealous picked up a song book and started singing. Her dad immediately saw her talent and potential saying her pitch and timing was perfect. This for a 6 year old is amazing. So he formed the new generation of Los Dinos. He had been a singer in the 50's and 60's with the Dinos and borrowed the name.Her parents bought a house while her dad was working for Dow chemical. He decided to open his own restaurant, Selena y Los Dinos got to perfect their technique in the restaurant, Papagallos.

 

Unfortunately the restaurant was closed and Los Dinos became the families new business. Suzette was at first not an official member, one of their cousins was the drummer but when he had to return to Washington she took over. Selena y Los Dinos started to play whenever and wherever they could. After loosing the restaurant her parents tried to get normal jobs but soon found that Selena y Los Dinos was their best bet on keeping food on the table. Selena's father had experienced what happens when a 'Mexican' tries to sing in English so he started teaching Selena how to sing songs in Spanish phonetically. The Quintanilla family struggled but their hard work paid off. When Selena was 15 she won her first Tejano Music Award. The TMA's are like the Grammy's for Tejano music. Selena recorded several albums for a local label, songs in both English and Spanish. Her brother started to write and produce her songs also. Slowly but surly Los Dinos became successful. After being names Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the year several times in 1989 after the TMA's Jose Behar talked Selena's father into signing with the new label EMI Latin. Selena Y Los Dinos were their first group.

 

Selena was already a star in the local Tejano market but now she was on her way to becoming an international star. "Selena" was released in 1989. It was a pivotal album for the group. AB produced it. That was a challenge for him and a fight for Selena and her father. The label wanted a professional producer, someone with experience, but Selena and her father convinced EMI to give him a chance. All the risks that Selena Y Los Dinos took seemed to pay off. The next album in 1990 was Ven Conmigo. It was the first Tejano record to go Gold and had some great songs that would become the ground breaking sound for Los Dinos. Baila Esta Cumbia was the song that started Selena's pop Cumbia sound. It was #1 in some places in Texas & Mexico and got her a lot of attention. At the TMA's that year and the following years Selena again won Female Vocalist and Performer of the year. She performed Enamorada de Ti, a pop song with 3 back up dancers. 1 of whom would become a backup singer in 1994, Don Shelton. She did a mini tour around Texas after the TMA's keeping the dancers with her and performing other pop songs in english.

 

In late 1991 Selena recorded a duet with Alvero Torres called Buenos Amigos. It was her first #1 on the billboard charts. It also got her attention in Mexico and many latin american countries. Many of his fans became Selena fans. Her vocals were beautiful and she took over the song. Also in late 1991 a woman approached Mr. Q about organizing an official fan club for Selena. She was persistent leaving lots of voicemails and Mr. Q thought it was a good idea. Selena was very popular and needed her own fan club. She also started to fall in love. Chris Perez was the guitarist in the band and caught her attention.

 

Selnea and Chris dated for several months and on April 2, 1992 got married. Selena's father was not so happy at first but soon grew to love his new son-in-law. Also that year Entre A Mi Mundo was released. This was their best album to date. Selena's first #1 song was on it; Como La Flor. Although she had an previous #1 the year before this one was all on her own. Her first official video was made for the song Carcacha. This album also went gold and because of the success in early 1993 EMI decided to record her live and release it.

 

So in late 1993 Selena live was released. It had 3 new songs but more importantly got the attention of the Grammy people. She was nominated for the first time for Best Mexican-American album. 1993 was considered her break through year, she also recorded another duet with a group called the Barrio Boyzz. They were also signed with EMI Latin but they were a pop/r&b group and Selena was considered Tejano. They each gave the other more territory in the US. Even though Selena had already recorded many pop songs this one showed her flexibility as a singer. Oh, it was also a #1 for her. The other songs on the live album were up high on the charts too. Though she was busy touring and making videos and accepting awards she had time to design her own fashion line.

 

In January of 1994 she opened her first boutique, Selena Ect. Then in February of that year she went to the Grammy's and accepted the award for Selena Live. She was on fire. She opened another boutique then finished her next album, Amor Prohibido that made her a supper star also; she was on a Novela (soap opera) called Dos mujeres, un camino. She was happy, she was married, had a successful album, great family, and doing well with obtaining her dreams. In late 1994 she was nominated again for a Grammy. She recorded a song called a boy like that for a charity album to raise money for the Grammys.


In early 1995 problems started to make Selena not so happy. Her fan club president was now the manager of her boutiques. She (the manager) and the designer Selena had hired to help her were always fighting. Selena bought out her designer Martin Gomez's contract. She was trying to go forward with her fashion and music. She was recording her English crossover album, and trying to open a factory in Mexico. She was also planning to open 2 more boutiques there also. On top of all this she was also going to record another album in Spanish for her Latin fans and wanted to have her own perfume and makeup line. She was working on the perfume, she had designed a bottle and was picking out the sent she wanted to use.

 

At the Grammy awards that year she unfortunately did not win, But she was just happy to be there, it was surprising she didn't win because Amor Prohibido was her best album, the most popular of that year and her song knocked Gloria Estefan's out of the #1 position. In February for the first time in 10 years she did not perform at the Tejano Music awards. But she sweept the awards. There was one award that she was nominated for and won but when the award was given out, they mistakenly announced another singer (Shelly Lares) as the winner and when they realized she was the winner she felt so bad for her friend that she cried and refused to accept the award. She later did go on stage to accept it because they taped it for broadcast, but she still felt really bad for her friend. Later that month she went to the Houston Astrodome for the 3 year in a row and set another record for attendance! This concert was later released on CD & DVD and is concidered her best concert.


She was on fire and seemed unstoppable until March 31, 1995. This will remain one of the most shocking moments in music history not only in the latin market but in any genre because she was taken by someone who she had trusted. She was shot in the back by her fan club president/boutique manager. She ran from the room of the Day's Inn to the lobby to get help but it was too late.

 

At the hospital doctors tried in vain to save her, unfortunately there wasn't anything they could do and she was pronounced dead shortly after 1pm. Her family showed up to the hospital not long after and her father said in an interview that a police officer told him his daughter was dead in a horrible way, no sympathy, just a rude statement. The doctors went to speak to her family and told them everything they did to try to save Selena. When the doctors mentioned the blood transfusion Mr. Q said she wouldn't have wanted one due to her religious beliefs. A reporter overheard this and the rumor of Mr. Q being responsible for her death started. Mr. Q wasn't there when the transfusion happened and didn't refuse the transfusion, Selena being married meant that Chris would have been the ones to make decisions anyway but the doctors didn't have time to ask him or anyone else what they wanted because they were trying to save Selena.

 

Her dreams, ambitions, hopes and plans were all gone. She was gone not realizing the impact she had already made on the world and never getting to see the one her death would make. In 23 short years Selena's life was packed with amazing feats. She became the Queen of Tejano Music, opened it up for other women, was a great role model, opened 2 boutiques and designed her own line of cloths. She won a Grammy, broke attendance records as well as sales records and still remained down to earth and sweet.


She was a wife, sister and daughter and an Icon to thousands. In death Selena's dream of a crossover album became a reality, That she can only see from heaven. She won so many awards after she passed that it seemed like she was just on vacation. Her family, friends and fans all mourned her passing that a great deal of attention was given to her, so much so that people had a hard time understanding what was really going on. Why she was so popular. So to answer this and to satisfy the hunger to know more about Selena her father helped produce a movie of her life. Selena continues to inspire people in many different ways. Sometimes we forget that she isn't here because her presence is still so strong. But then we remember again...

 


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