Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as Selena, born April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson (Texas) and murdered March 31, 1995 in Corpus Christi (Texas), is an American singer of Mexican origin.
Nicknamed the “queen” of Tex-Mex music, she is considered one of the most important figures in Latin music with more than sixty million albums sold worldwide and she is the third Latin with the most. of records sold only after Gloria Estefan and Shakira. She was named Billboard’s “Most Influential, Best-Selling Latin Artist of the 1990s” for being the only female artist to have five albums simultaneously on the US Billboard 200 chart.
The youngest of a Mexican immigrant couple, she recorded her first album at the age of twelve. In 1987, she received the Female Vocalist of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards, and signed a recording contract with EMI a few years later. His fame continued to grow in the early 1990s, especially in Hispanic countries. Her album Selena Live! won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Album in 1993 and his album Amor Prohibido was nominated for another Grammy the following year.
Wife of guitarist Chris Pérez, Selena was murdered at the age of 23 by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club but also a very close friend of Selena. On April 12, 1995, two weeks after her death, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, proclaimed April 16, his birthday, “Selena Day” in Texas. His romantic life and especially his tragic end gave rise in 1997 to a film in which Jennifer Lopez brings him back to life. In June 2006, a museum and a bronze statue called “Mirador de la Flor” were inaugurated in his memory in Corpus Christi.
In December 2020, the fate of the young singer is the subject of a new adaptation, this time in the form of a series for the Netflix platform. Actress Christian Serratos plays the title role of Selena: The Series.
Born in Lake Jackson, Texas, Selena is the youngest of Abraham and Marcela Quintanilla, both Americans of Mexican origin. She started singing at the age of six. At nine, she sang in the group Selena y Los Dinos that her father created. The group takes their first steps in the restaurant of the Quintanilla family (the Papagallos), but the restaurant closes shortly after.
The Quintanilla family quickly find themselves without money and are evicted from their home. They settled in Corpus Christi, in South Texas. They play wherever they can: on street corners, at weddings, in quinceañeras, at fairs, etc. Their efforts finally paid off in 1984, when 12-year-old Selena recorded her debut album (Selena y Los Dinos) at a local recording studio. The album is not sold in stores and his father buys all the original copies. This album was released in 1995, under the title Mis primeras grabaciones.
Selena is a good student, but as her fame increases, the trips necessary for her career begin to interfere with her studies. Her father took her out of school when she was in eight grade (equivalent to fourth grade in France) and she continued her education on the road. At the age of 17, she graduated from The American School of Correspondence in Chicago, and was accepted into Louisiana State University. She released her second album, Alpha, in 1986.
Selena won the Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards. She continued to win the award for the next seven years (until her death). In 1988, she released two albums, Preciosa and Dulce Amor. In 1989, Jose Behar, head of Sony’s Latin Music division, hired him under EMI’s Capitol Records label. Jose Behar would later state that he signed with Selena because he believed he had discovered the new Gloria Estefan. Selena signs a contract with Coca-Cola the same year and becomes one of its spokespersons. His concerts began to attract several thousand spectators.
In 1988, she met guitarist Chris Pérez, 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, which Selena’s father didn’t like. The latter will go so far as to expel Perez from the group, but in the face of his daughter’s distress, he will end up accepting their relationship on the condition that they marry and move into a house adjacent to the family home1. Selena and Perez were to be married in secret on April 2, 1992 at the Nueces County Courthouse, Texas.
At the beginning of 1995, the Quintanilla family discovered that Yolanda Saldívar, president of the Selena fan club and director of its shops, was embezzling part of the income from the shops. They decide to fire her. Shortly after, Selena agrees to meet with Saldívar, in order to retrieve documents for tax returns.
The meeting was set for the morning of March 31, 1995 at a Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi. In the motel, Selena asks for the missing documents. Saldívar delays handing over the papers, saying she was raped in Mexico City. Selena drives Saldívar to the local hospital, where the police say Saldívar should be referred to another hospital for a pelvic examination because the assault took place in another country. Saldívar returns to the motel, Selena asks again for the missing documents.
An argument breaks out, Saldívar pulls a pistol from his purse, first pointing it at his own head, then aims at Selena. As Selena leaves the room, Saldívar shoots her for the first time in the back. Selena runs to the hotel reception in an attempt to find help, while Saldívar chases and insults her. Before collapsing to the ground, Selena points to Saldívar as her murderer and the room number of the hotel where she was shot. She died at the local hospital at 1:05 p.m. at the age of 23, sixteen days before her 24th birthday.
Selena y los dinos
- 1984: Mis Primeras Grabaciones
- 1986: Alpha
- 1986: Munequito De Trapo
- 1987: And The Winner Is …
- 1988: Preciosa
- 1988: Dulce Amor
- 1989: Selena
- 1990: Ven Conmigo
- 1992: Enter Mi Mundo
- 1994: Amor prohibido
- 1995: Dreaming of You
Selena, the series: who was Selena Quintanilla, the murdered singer at the heart of the Netflix series?
Available from December 4 on Netflix, “Selena: The Series” brings to the screen the tragic story of singer Selena Quintanilla, murdered twenty-five years ago.
Her name might not ring a bell, and yet singer Selena Gomez owes her first name to her. In the 1990s, Selena Quintanilla acquired the status of legend of song, and more particularly of Tex-Mex music. While his rise in the music industry is worthy of a success story, his passing is tragic.
Born April 16, 1971, the young woman developed her talent for song very early on. She recorded her very first album at the age of twelve, then a second at the age of seventeen. Quickly, Selena Quintanilla saw her popularity rise and her career took off. A true revelation of the music scene in the 1990s, the singer recorded several opus, many of which entered the Billboard charts, sold millions of copies, won numerous awards and received recognition from her peers. Nicknamed the queen of Tex-Mex music or the Texan Madonna, she largely participates in the popularization of Tejano music.
A prolific career which was nevertheless short-lived. On March 31, 1995, the 23-year-old artist went to a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, to find Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club and ex-friend, after discovering that the latter was hijacking her. money from its shops. But the date turns into a nightmare when, after a heated argument, Yolanda Saldívar grabs a gun, threatens to kill herself before finally shooting the singer in the back. She died a few hours later in the hospital. As for her murderer, she will be arrested by law enforcement and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The murder of the young woman arouses such a wave of emotion that the governor of Texas, under George W. Bush, declares that April 16 will henceforth be “Selena Day”.
A TWO-PART SERIES
Twenty-five after her demise, Netflix is taking the tragic story of Selena Quintanilla and adapting it into a series. Dubbed “Selena: The Series” and produced by members of the Quintanilla family, the project stars young actress Christian Serratos – seen in “Twilight” and “The Walking Dead” – in the title role. Composed of two bursts of episodes, the first part of the series, available since December 4, narrates the beginning of the young musician’s career, from her first steps on stage to her climax, without forgetting the difficult years that ‘she and her family crossed to befriend fame.
“I have truly admired this woman all my life. She is one of the few Mexican women who has become an icon, “Christian Serratos told” Variety “magazine. “I wanted the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. She has become a pioneer for all women like me. She has opened so many doors for me. [Playing her part] it was almost like a way of thanking her ”
While Netflix has already confirmed the rest of the series, no release date has yet been announced. The next episodes should nevertheless pick up the story in the early 1990s, until his assassination in March 1995.
A FILM WITH JENNIFER LOPEZ
This is not the first time that the life of the queen of Tex-Mex music has been the subject of a fictional narrative. Indeed, in 1997, two years after her death, a biopic soberly titled “Selena” was released with Jennifer Lopez in the lead role. At the controls of this feature film, the filmmaker Gregory Nava but above all Abraham Quintanilla, the father of the late artist. A poignant cinematographic work that won J. Lo the Golden Globes for best actress in a musical film as well as the MTW Award for best revelation.